Interview with Cleveland Sellers

Donald Harris and John Lewis came back with a report and you were at that meeting when they had met Malcolm in Nairobi. Can you describe to us that meeting and what came out of it?


Okay, many of the delegates returned to the United States. Donald Harris and John Lewis continued to travel to other countries. And on one of the stops they happened to come in contact with Malcolm. And, ah, they had an opportunity to discuss with Malcolm some of the issues in terms of the sameness of the struggles, of the relationship between Africa, the freedom fighters in Africa and the freedom, uh, the civil rights activists in Mississippi. And we began to share ideas. We began to see commonality between the liberation movements in Africa and the freedom fighters in Africa and what we were doing in Mississippi. That those struggles were, in fact, the struggles for empowerment of people. When Don and those came back they talked to the, um, or made a report to the SNCC conference in, uh, in October, and they talked about the, the discussion with Malcolm. In fact that he was beginning to talk about the possibility of registering people to vote. He was beginning to expand on his visions in terms of, in terms of the connectedness of the struggles and the movement. But he also, ah, he, being Don Harris and John Lewis, also talked about the importance of us beginning to have a much better relationship and a tighter relationship with Africa and Malcolm too. And beginning to see that as all one, as opposed to a des--a Civil Rights Movement versus a human rights movement. And begin to widen our visions. We had to begin to talk about something very basic and fundamental, and we had to begin to deal with the question of racism and how it played a part in, in our lives, and how it in fact acted as an undergirding for disenfranchisement of, of Black people.