Interview with Sonia Sanchez
QUESTION 30
INTERVIEWER:

Why was the Congress of African Peoples' Convention in '70 important as a first step in building that National Black Movement?

SONIA SANCHEZ:

The Congress of African People was in 1970 in a place called Atlanta, Georgia and it came about, I think because Stokely Carmichael or Kwame Tur and, um, Owussi Sedhaki[SIC] decided or began the discussion about bringing this into the international arena, bringing the sense of being Black into an international arena, an African arena also at that particular time. And so, Stokely, Kwame had been discussing this from '68 until 1970. As a consequence, there was a gathering there. And we all came. You had at that gathering, don't forget now, everyone from Farrakhan, ah, to Diggs, ah Whitney Young was there--you're talking about two years before his death--also in a dashiki. Ah.

INTERVIEWER:

I'm sorry. We're going to have to cut a second.






INTERVIEWER:

Okay, could you tell me about the Congress of African Peoples' Convention in 1970 and this sense of it being the first step to this National Black Movement?

SONIA SANCHEZ:

The Congress of African People happened in 1970 in a place called Atlanta, Georgia and, to have been there, to have felt that excitement to have seen on a stage a minister, Louis Farrakhan, ah, a Whitney Young of the Urban League, ah, a Congressman Diggs, um, to have seen, um, people come together, holding hands, saying simply, "We are going to advance the cause of Blackness and take it to a level that it--that this country had never seen before." It is that excitement, that kind of mood, ah, that permeated, ah, the room there, in Atlanta, Georgia. And we knew, many of us, that it had been in a sense the brainchild of a number of people who had begun to push for an internationalizing of the movement. Ah, it was not just nationalizing the movement, but internationalizing the movement, saying simply, "We are moving to, we are taking it to an African arena now." Ah, we are bringing people along who perhaps don't want to come along. Ah, because the mass of people, the mass of Black people in this country are saying simply, "Get on board this train," just as Tubman said, "If you don't get aboard in 1970, you might get left." So, a whole lot of people got on board that train in Atlanta, Georgia because they knew that the train was running and was on high speed at that point.