Interview with Sonia Sanchez

As a woman, what were your expectations going into the Congress of African Peoples?


I'm not sure what my expectations, uh, were as we moved into Atlanta for the Congress of African People because most of the woman had not planned that conference. And so we weren't too sure what was expected, ah, of any of us, um, as women, other than perhaps be, ah, participants or performers, ah, or to lead a workshop. But as we moved in and looked and observed and worked, ah, and listened to conversations and listened to, listened to arguments be understood that certainly out of that would come some other things and they did come, good things, African Liberation Day came, ah, of course, um, the movement to Gary also. All of that made for the movement to Gary, ah, going into Gary to try to fuse together, ah, the politics of the time with the politicians of the time. Um, I didn't make that meeting. I, I didn't make it because at some point I had begun to say simply, and thi--thi--this had nothing to do with control of power, it had to do with finally the realization that, we were going, we were getting one point of view. It was the point of view always, usually of men, and of perhaps a woman or so who reflected the views of the men, you see. And that was, I didn't want to be divisive and so I thought it was much more important at some point to observe it, to listen to people when they came back, to read the writings of what happened and just say simply at some point, ah, "That too is not going to make it." And I think it didn't make it necessarily because it did not have the input of, of women who, quite often, can mediate, um, could take it in different directions, can sometimes insist that that not be the case and also could say simply, "It's not about egos here people, it's about the survival and the movement of African people to a different level. Let us not involve ourselves with this at all."