Interview with Betty Shabazz

Two other questions. The 1967 visit to Ramparts magazine, the Black Panthers escorted you to that magazine. Can you describe that incident and your feelings around it.


I had no feelings. You know I was really surprised that, ah, sometime later I read where someone said that I was really in fear, you know. I didn't even know what was happening, let alone, you know how could I be fearful? I just felt I was in the capable hands of these Black men all dressed up militaristically. I didn't know who they were. Or, I was invited there for a program and, ah, as, as a matter of fact I had gone to sleep on the plane and I, I woke up and we were landing and when I got outside there was all of these, ah, police I would imagine, lined on each side of the little area where you walk from the plane to the, ah, ah, terminal. And when I saw them, all standing there, you know, on both sides, shoulder to shoulder. I went, "Oh my God, someone was on the plane. And, ah, I didn't see them," you know. And I kind of criticized myself for going to sleep on the plane. And as I walked to the end of that walkway and made a, a, a slight right and saw the brothers standing out there dressed militaristically, I went, "OK, I understand." And, ah, there was a young man, ah, reciting part of the Constitution about carrying fire arms and, ah, I don't know it, it really did something to me. I just said, "Oh, wow, that's just really fantastic." And so then I got in a car and was swept away. And so that I certainly didn't have any fear. It was just an experience. And I did not know until afterwards what was happening. And we went to Ramparts magazine and, ah, then they said, "OK we must go now." And I got up and I left. And it was not until we got to the second place that I was told what had happened. And so we were all safe, so, you know. Plus, I was going back to New York anyway.