Interview with Betty Shabazz
QUESTION 16
CARROLL BLUE:

And in 1972 you went to the Gary Convention. Tell me what your thinking was and what your experience was.

BETTY SHABAZZ:

I was very pleased that number one, that organizers had the sensibility, ah, correct sensibility to have the conference. I thought it was, ah, a very good thing. I still think it's a good thing when people come together and discuss their own agenda. It was brought out at the conference that people please, ah, vote in terms of, ah, self-interest, not in terms of people who had paved their way and that was a big joke. And, and I thought, "Oh, my goodness. You know. That, ah, you know, people would come to the conference not for their own self-interest, but Black people would come to the conference with the notion for someone else." I found that very, very strange. Ah,, I think that, ah, if you are a free people, and, ah, an adult and thinking about your own responsibility and you have the, the right of the vote, that you should vote whichever way you choose. So that I saw nothing wrong with the conference. There was some negative press, you know, a Black thing and of course, ah, it was kind of given the, ah, notion that if it was a Black thing it was not a good thing. You know, which I think is, is, is not such a good way to promote things. I thought it was healthy. If there are differences. If there are questions. Why not? You know. An open forum. Ah,, the Polish, ah, union leader, is, is supported with his differences. Why not any other ethnic group leader supported. So I thought it was very good and said so. Some people say, you know, "It failed." No. It didn't fail. Because people came together and crystallized their thinking. And probably if there was any failure it was that it didn't happen, ah, the next year and the next year and the next year.