How were you contacted about coming to Attica?
How were you contacted about coming to Attica.
Um, Huey Newton was first uh, asked to be a member of that committee dealing with A--Attica. And the Central Committee voted that, uh, maybe I should go. And, uh, via Bill Kunstler, I think it was, who originally had called, uh, was the real initial contact to that I think if I remember. I forget exactly how that--
Let's cut a second. But it was Kunstler.
Actually, Bill Kunstler had contacted the Black Panther Party. Originally the request from the prisoners was for Huey but then the Central Committee decided I would go. When we arrived Attica at first they wouldn't even let me in the prison. The very first day. I mean, these guards came up and pointed shot guns at the front windshield and the rear windshield, you know. And then finally Kunstler was called out and then uh, they refused to let me in. We left the grounds, we was on the highway headed back to Buffalo, New York. Here come some state troopers stopping us. You know, "Warden Oswald wants you to come back." "Oh, okay." Well, we go back. They let us in. I see the committee for a short period there and, uh, they're trying to, some are talking to me about the need to get these prisoners to drop the last three negotiating points. We go into the prison. When I get into the prison, uh, I make a speech to the prisoners, you know. And power to the people, uh, prisoners power, et cetera, to this effect. Okay. Then f--we finish with the speech there was a lot of other committee members with us, you know, the negotiating committee. And ,uh, it was about two, was a couple of the brothers calling us, said, "Bobby can we pull you over here and talk with you?" So they pull me down to the other end of the table, away from everybody else, away from any cameras. And this is what they explained. They wanted me to see if it was possible that, if we could get a helicopter, a sizeable helicopter to come in over the wall real fast, let the nine or ten prisoners who wanted to get out and then take them out of the country, and then they would drop the last three negotiating points. I says, "What?. And they says, "You." They heard, these prisoners heard that we had a Black United Airlines pilot, I mean who flew on a full time job with the United Airlines. And he did work with us because he was a editor part time of the Black Panther Party newspaper. And I said, "Hey, I don't know." I said, "But I see where you brothers are coming from because that would be real revolutionary act." I really had to identify with that. Could we pull this off? I says, "I've done dumber things," I says, "I'm going to have to leave man, in the morning or something to get back to Oakland because I got to Central Committee. I can't talk on the phones or whatever." That's right. So, next morning. So, I leave the prison. Next morning I try to get, really get back into prison. But they won't let me back in. Oswald, Warden Oswald would not let me back in. I leave and, um, catch a plane at twelve noon or something. I wind up in California. You know, it'd be two or three hours behind the difference in time, what have you. I have a meeting, Charles Garry, our lawyer, Charles Garry, he's the Chief Counselor of all cases that the Black Panther Party comes under. I tell him what the situation is. We deduct it is impossible to get even anybody, any of them in, even our White radical friends or anybody that, with such short notice even to even consider whether or not they would take the chance of getting killed to fly over with a helicopter. I said, "Well, I'm going to have to go back." I says, "You know.?" So that night, Sunday night, remember I flew in--