Interview with Sonia Sanchez
QUESTION 14
INTERVIEWER:

Give me the Baraka story.

SONIA SANCHEZ:

Malcolm made you believe that the message was not a separate message. I mean, even when he was saying, "Now this is for the brothers," you know. "Hey, listen," you'd say, "Yea, I bet." You felt that it was also for you, too. Um, so it made us feel as equals. I mean, I felt equal to the brothers in everything that we could all do, etc. So, I was heading, ah, to the University of Pitt, coming out of Indiana, came through to see Baraka and Amina and their family and that whole organization that they had formed there. I had come to that organization to do a talk, once. So, I was coming back through on my way to, ah, the University of Pitt. Ah, I walked, I came up, I came into the office and I was stricken by the way the men were dressed, and the way they were like, um, rushing around, so I said, "Hey, I'm expected, my name's Sonia Sanchez." "How you doing, sister?" whatever, etc. And, we ah, some people talked to me, very respectful. When I got upstairs, I was led upstairs to the office, where, Baraka's office, and as I was walking in, um, I observed that many of the men were doing this and bowing down and backing out, and I said, "Hey, how you doing, Amiri? How's everything going?" I remember he looked up at me and I looked up at him and my eyes said, cause, "Ain't no way, I'm going to do that, and ain't no way, Amiri, I know you expect me to that." I, because, he understood fully that we had come to some other times together and that was not in our, that was not our gender. That was not in our history, and in no way had we been taught that kind of history at all, too, which was interesting. So, I went over and hugged them, him. And, I remember watching some of the people watching me. And, we looked at each other and I began to talk about, you know, some problems I was having at that time, and he began to talk about what they were going to do, or what he was going to do, etc. And, ah, we, and, and I left and went on to stay over in Newark. I stayed in Newark, perhaps, for about a day, or so, with my twins. But, I thought about that whole, that arena that he had moved into, and I thought to myself. I remember writing in my journal--because I keep journals, uh, I said, simply, "Oh, what does this mean? Ah, what does this mean when we have in a very real sense made people, put people on strange pedestals. Or, we have, in a sense, um, made people believe that people have to bow down." I hadn't quite gotten to what it was really all about. But, I knew in some strange fashion that is was not where we were supposed to go, ah, at all. And, um, didn't verbalized that with him, at that particular time, ah, years later we all managed to laugh at some of these things.

INTERVIEWER:

Okay, I'm going to cut you there.

SONIA SANCHEZ:

I got it. The moment I said it, the more I realized--