Production Team: B
Interview Date: November 11, 1988
Camera Rolls: 2070-2073
Sound Rolls: 232-233
Interview with , conducted by Blackside, Inc. on November 11, 1988, for . Washington University Libraries, Film and Media Archive, Henry Hampton Collection. These transcripts contain material that did not appear in the final program. Only text appearing in bold italics was used in the final version of
QUESTION 1INTERVIEWER: OK, Mr. Eve, I just want you to go back to 1971 and my first question is, sort of give me an idea of what, what was Attica like? What were the conditions there in Attica.
ARTHUR EVE: Well, Attica had a reputation for being very, ah, inhuman and insensitive in its treatment of inmates. Ah, we had been there on several occasions and, ah, it was just a sort of a hell hole to live in. Ah, many of the inmates were brutalized in various forms in the way they were treated and I had the experience once of going there and four guards blocking my passage in the hallway. And I said, "That's why we're having problems with these prisons is because of this attitude." And, ah, they waited there a long time to then step aside so I could continue walking down the, you know, hallway. Again, that's the kind of attitude that was there at Attica. That they would do that to me as a African American State Representative, what do you think they were doing to the inmates?
QUESTION 2INTERVIEWER: Tell me about the first time you went to Attica with a grandmother.
ARTHUR EVE: The first time I went to Attic was to take a grandmother out to see her grandson. She didn't have any transportation to go there and, ah, I was just sort of taken back and shocked at the massiveness of the institution, the large walls, all of the security, ah, and it was just sort of frightening and very, very intimidating when you first went in to the institution. And that was my first visit and that was in the late '60s. And, ah, as time went on I got more and more involved in the prison issues and what was happening to the inmates because the vast majority of them were African Americans.
QUESTION 3INTERVIEWER: How did you feel about the takeover at Attica?
ARTHUR EVE: I was in my car and I heard on one of the African American radio stations.
INTERVIEWER: Start again. Say I heard about the Attica takeover--
ARTHUR EVE: I heard about the Attica inmate rebellion in my car from one of the local stations. I drove out to the radio station and, ah, they gave me the tape of the report that had come off the wire services. I went by my office and told my staff that I was going out to Attica. Ah, not until I got there did I find out after meeting with the commissioner that the inmates had sent for me. We were I think one of five or six people that they had asked the, ah, state to reach out to and, ah, once I got there then I, you know, insisted that I be allowed to go in. And, ah, after some, ah, exchange and I imagine checking with Albany, ah, they finally consented to let me go into the yard.
INTERVIEWER: Stop, that's very good. Cut.
QUESTION 4INTERVIEWER: Can you tell me about Attica when you went into the yard? What did you see?
ARTHUR EVE: Yeah there was a, an attorney named Herman Schwartz who had handled a number of appeals, ah, applications for the inmates who went in with me. And the two of us went in and it was, ah, ah, ah, something that was just, ah, awesome. Ah, ah, literally, ah, a large number of inmates. We were told there were 43 hostages in there and they were all out in the yard, D yard. And, ah, that was my first approach, you know, going in there and, ah, seeing all of this. And it was, ah, somewhat concerning to see this massiveness and not knowing what was going to take place, what would be the reaction, ah. People have asked me, "Were you afraid in going in?" And I said, "Yes, I was concerned," ah, but I said, "and I prayed that whatever happened let it be God's will. And if you put your faith in God then whatever happens, you, you know, accept his will." And so my faith in God really helped me tremendously to, you know, go in there.
QUESTION 5INTERVIEWER: OK, I'm going to ask you, what was the atmosphere like among the inmates when you went in there on that first day?
ARTHUR EVE: Well when I went there, ah, interestingly enough one of the main issues, ah, that came up was that Herman Schwartz the attorney who had been handling some of their appeals, some of the inmates were very upset that they felt that the appeal process was not moving fast enough and he was not doing all that he could have been doing. And so I ended up having to defend Herman Schwartz and say that he was a good guy, he's trying. You know, you have to understand that the process is somewhat very difficult. And so we spent a little time on that because it was critical that, ah, that they have the confidence of the people who came in. And so without that level of confidence, ah, it would have been, I think, almost impossible for a dialogue to begin. And so the first thing we did was really try to deal with their questions about Herman Schwartz.
QUESTION 6INTERVIEWER: What was sort of the attitude of the brothers in there, I mean, after they had just initially taken over this yard?
ARTHUR EVE: Well, you know, when you, when you look at the 28 demands, they were really saying we want to be helped while we're here. We don't want to be brutalized. We don't want to be dehumanized, so that when we go out of here we then victimize our own people. I think one of them made that presentation. It was absolutely fantastic. He said, "We want to be helped. We want to help the guards who are watching over us to understand that we are human beings." And, ah, when you look at the demands it was all about improving on the quality of life so they could be helped. Education, there was schooling, there was sensitivity training they wanted for the, for the guards so they would understand this new population they were dealing with. Ah, and so it was a lot of very positive things. And, ah, they knew they had to serve their time. It wasn't a matter of them, you know, diminishing time to, to, to serve and, I just saw people crying out for help, that wanted help, needed help and as one brother said, "If you dehumanize us in here and we don't value our lives and then we're let out of here, then we will go out and victimize our people more." Because 95 percent of all crimes committed by African Americans are against African Americans, so they saw themselves being used as a process of genocide and they wanted to get away and be helped so they can be constructive.
QUESTION 7INTERVIEWER: If you could describe for me the atmosphere among the inmates when you went into D yard.
ARTHUR EVE: When we finished the questions that may have come up, they, ah, I had a sense that they for the first time felt that they were in a position to make something happen and there was a sense that, ah, some positive things would ultimately come out of this. Ah, and there was a sense of hope. There was a sense of hope. Ah, no one knew where this thing would end up subsequently but this was the first time that they had to get their concerns properly addressed and they had tried to convey to the state prior to that, ah, their concerns and got absolutely no response. Ah, and in many cases they were further brutalized, harassed, whatever the case might be. So, There was a sense of hope that for the first time there were some outsiders. People would now begin to listen and, ah, hopefully some changes could be made. Eyes on the Prize II: America at the Racial Crossroads 1965 - 1985; Episode 206-43
INTERVIEWER: That's good, that's good.
QUESTION 8INTERVIEWER: Give us a visual picture of what happened when you walked into that yard.
ARTHUR EVE: There were, you know, it seemed like hundreds maybe thousands of people.
QUESTION 9INTERVIEWER: When you walked into the yard.
ARTHUR EVE: Yea. When we walked into D yard it seemed like literally hundreds and thousands of people were in there. And certainly they were pleased to see some outsiders. There were some people who recognized who I was and also Herman Schwartz, and, ah, many would then converge and the word would pass and, you know, they would all come around us. Ah, the inmates had set up a fairly elaborate speaking system so when they spoke to you it could be heard in the whole yard, so that everyone knew what was being said. And so it was all of them around you and listening for what you had to say, what kind of message that you would bring to them. Ah, and, as, as I stated, ah, the Herman Schwartz issue was a major concern. Ah, when they began, a few of them recognized that he was the guy who was handling their appeal. And so there was then a big question, you know, whether or not, I, to,to a great degree our credibility sort of rested on the questions raised about Herman Schwartz. And that's why I try to deal with that first and get that behind us. But, ah, they were very pleased that we were there and that someone was listening from the outside. Ah, and that, I think, was very important. Ah, I don't know how many hours that, that they had taken over that facility and not have had anyone to come in and to talk to them. I think was just creating a lot of frustrations. And so there was literally joy when we walked in.
QUESTION 10INTERVIEWER: OK, describe how it was organized, I mean.
ARTHUR EVE: It was very interesting they had set up a very elaborate, ah, there in D yard. They, they had set up a somewhat elaborate system of a communication system. They had certain people who were in charge of security. They had people who were in charge of dealing with body waste and human waste and garbage and some who were involved with, with food and, and other kinds of things. And any of the inmates who were, ah, ill or sick, you know, how to deal with them. Ah, they had some of the inmates who served as, you know, medical staff. It was almost a community within a community. And it was, ah, somewhat very, very impressive that they had said this is our home and we're, you know, going to make it as livable as possible. And there was a tremendous amount of discipline there within the yard. Eyes on the Prize II: America at the Racial Crossroads 1965 - 1985; Episode 206-45
ARTHUR EVE: --not even transferring money out of your accounts.
QUESTION 11INTERVIEWER: My next question has to do with the issue of amnesty, which became a stumbling block between the inmates and the state, ah, why was amnesty important to the inmates in this discussion?
ARTHUR EVE: Well, there were certain ones that wanted this--
INTERVIEWER: Just mention amnesty--
ARTHUR EVE: --yeah, ah, the, the question of amnesty that was raised was very important to a segment of the inmate population. Ah, they had literally given up on this country, they had literally given up on this country being fair, and, and, and mainly to minorities, African Americans, Latinos, and they genuinely wanted to leave the country, they genuinely wanted to go somewhere else. But after a period of time, it became very clear that that was not something the state was willing to do, and the inmates were told this, you know, on Saturday I believe, that amnesty was out, and of the 28 demands, there were about 24 that the state was willing to consider, and had literally agreed on some of them. So, amnesty was not something that everybody wanted, it was a segment of the population that wanted amnesty.
QUESTION 12INTERVIEWER: And what was your reaction to the fallout from the issue of amnesty, what did you feel--
ARTHUR EVE: Well, it, it was something that many of us felt, would say, certainly that this is a demand, this is a request that, but we assumed that it would be very, very difficult for amnesty to be given, ah, it was just something that, ah, not, ah, to my knowledge ever been done, that you would then provide transportation, oh, that's right, I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm talking about going to another country. Yeah, right, right, right, right, right, I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry, yeah, right, let's do that again.
QUESTION 13INTERVIEWER: On the issue of amnesty--
ARTHUR EVE: Yeah, amnesty was something that everybody wanted, ah, certainly they were concerned about reprisals based on the experience that had happened at the Tombs and at Albion State Prison where I went when a number of the men were locked up. They didn't want this added onto their time, and so forth, so amnesty was a major, major, major consideration, and in the course of negotiations, the state did not agree to give amnesty. I think we were, they were in the, in the process of trying to say we'll take each case as, as, you know, as it went. But, ah, I think, though, that if we could have resolved it in a peaceful manner that there would have been a serious consideration given on not charging anyone with crime and maybe narrowing it down to very, very few. As the case ended up being, ah, go ahead.
INTERVIEWER: OK, let's cut for a second.
QUESTION 14INTERVIEWER: amnesty.
ARTHUR EVE: Amnesty was very important to the inmates because to a great degree would determine what would happen to them after the state took over, whether or not there was going to be a peaceful kind of takeover, and subsequently, how they would be treated. Eyes on the Prize II: America at the Racial Crossroads 1965 - 1985; Episode 206-40 So, their lives were on the line on the question of, of amnesty. That would begin to ease some of the pressure and hopefully the hostility that they felt they would be experiencing once they gave up, so amnesty was absolutely very critical to them.
INTERVIEWER: OK, let's cut.
QUESTION 15INTERVIEWER: Can you tell us about that day in the diner on Sunday?
ARTHUR EVE: On Sunday we went in to the diner to have breakfast there in the Attica community, and that was the, the day after Officer Cunningham--
INTERVIEWER: Let's, let's cut a second. Stop it down.
QUESTION 16INTERVIEWER: Why don't you just, you know, take me back to the time in the diner, that Sunday?
ARTHUR EVE: On the Sunday before the takeover we were in a diner in the Attica community, several of us, Tom Wicker and a few others, having breakfast, or at least ordering breakfast at the time, it was after officer Quinn had died, and so there was a lot of, of tension, and we were told by the waitress that she hoped they would kill all of us, you know, and it was a level of racism that, you know, that just sort of hit you very stark and very clear, and she represented, obviously, that community and, and, and the guards in there, and so it, it made us aware that we had to prevent, as much as we could, the state from going in and seeing how we could resolve this thing peacefully, because she expressed, I guess, to many of us, the hatred, and to allow that hatred to go into the prison yard, would be absolutely devastating.
QUESTION 17INTERVIEWER: How did you react to it? I mean, as an African American.
ARTHUR EVE: Well, it was sort of shocking, but having been raised in the South, and having had a lot of derogatory things said to you, and then having experienced things in the state legislature, and traveling, it was shocking, but it was something that annoyed the Attica community, and having worked with, ah, with Black guards who had previously worked there and who had to quite because they could not take the pressure working in that institution, and one of them, who actually tried to live in the Attica community and had to move his family, so the area had a reputation of being hostile to African American people.
INTERVIEWER: That's good, cut.
QUESTION 18INTERVIEWER: --just give me a picture if you can, to help me visualize the last, the last time you were in D yard, this right after you had the confrontation with Oswald, tell me--
ARTHUR EVE: All right. For the first time I was really very frightened and very concerned, the last time we would enter that yard, Oswald and others had given the inmates a letter saying that we had agreed to certain conditions, and that they should now, then, give, give up and, ah, you know, let the hostages go and turn the facility back over to the state. That was not so. I mean, the inmates said, "You cannot make any decisions for us, all you can do is take information back and forth." And so, having known that they had set us up for the inmates to be negative towards us, our lives were endangered. In fact, I, before I went into the yard, I broke down, and I said, you know, "You set them up for them to kill us, and if not, if we don't go back in there, they will harbor the idea that we double-crossed them and maybe when some of them come out, that our families could even be endangered," because I had an experience once where some folks wanted to off me by throwing a firebomb in my house and then cross-firing and hopefully to kill me. And so I said, "You not only have jeopardized our lives, you've jeopardized our families!" And so going back in there the last time, that, that, that Sunday, was very difficult. And I sought to get others to do in with me, and I, I wanted to get some volunteers, and the, the main volunteers was, ah, Kunstler, Bill Geder[SIC], Franklin, and myself. And I then asked for some of the more credible, quote, Whites, to come back so they could report it. When we went back in that yard, and that's when John Wicker[SIC], and I asked John, Tom, Tom Wicker, I'm sorry, I asked Tom Wicker, "Would you go back?" And he said, "Let me think about it a while," and then he said yes, he would go. And, ah, when we went back in there, the inmates had greeted us, greeted us with tears in their eyes, ah, that we had betrayed them, we had lied to them, that they had given, you know, their confidence of their lives to us to properly represent them, when we took information out, and it was a very tense moment. Thank god for a, a former inmate in Attica named GI[SIC] that we called who spoke up and said, "Listen, they are trying to set these brothers up." He said, "I've been with brother Eve everywhere he's been. When he went in to talk to this one or that one, and they wanted to speak to him, I was present at all times. If you hurt him, or any of these observers, they're watching, it will give them justification to come in and not only kill you but kill everybody." And he said, "Don't fall into that trap, you know, the brothers did not betray your confidence, OK?" And so that was really, to me, one of the most tense moments that I had in that whole experience.
QUESTION 19INTERVIEWER: Tell me about the last time you went to the yard, the confrontation with Oswald.
ARTHUR EVE: The last, that Sunday, and the last day that we went in prior to going in, ah, Oswald had shared with us a letter that they had given to the inmates which literally had said that we, the observers, had agreed that they should accept the points and should give up and, and the letter misrepresented the observers group and as Chair of it, ah, we had literally been set up, ah, that if we went back in there many of us felt we may be attacked by the, ah, inmates and we shared that with Oswald that he had betrayed us and really jeopardized our lives. And so when the five of us who had agreed to go back because at that particular point a number of the observers did not want to go back in. And five of us agreed to go back in because we thought it was important that they know we did not lie to them and that we did not betray their trust. When we went back into that yard, ah, they had tears in their eyes. And they told us that, ah, they had trusted me and, and, and they trusted us collectively and we had betrayed them, you know, and the anger and the frustration, ah, was very clear and, ah, thank God to a former Puerto Rican inmate who, ah, said to them, that listen everywhere Brother Eve has gone, I have been with him. He's not had any conversation with anybody without my being present and what you're doing is falling into a trap that if you hurt him or any of these observers they will come in and use that as a justification for killing all of us. And he said, "Don't do it!" You know, he said, "The brothers have been true," you know. And he really played a major, I mean, a significant role in really calming down the tensions and the animosity and obviously maybe even hatred that had been developed by the inmates in the yard for us. So, that was, to me the most difficult visit and the most frightening and concerning period that I had in the whole experience.
QUESTION 20INTERVIEWER: The next question is, you're leaving the yard, and so I want you to recap, recall, embracing Big Black. Just the feelings between the inmates and the observes when you left that last time.
ARTHUR EVE: The hostages appealed to the state not to come in, not to kill, that, ah, the inmates requests were, ah, were right, ah, on that last day we were there. I mean it was a very emotional kind of exchange from the hostages and from everyone. Eyes on the Prize II: America at the Racial Crossroads 1965 - 1985; Episode 206-47 And many of us had planned to stay in there and, and spend the night and, and to stay right in there with the inmates. And it was the inmates who said, "We want you men to leave because we believe the state is going to come in and they're going to kill all of us. And we need to have someone to tell the true story on Attica." And so the inmates made us leave. They said, "Go out of here. Get out of here." And one offered to give me, ah, ah, the tapes that they had been taping, that whole dialogue in the prison had been put on tape in the yard and I said, "No we'll get it tomorrow," and so, you know, and so I didn't take it and that's one thing that I re--I really regret that, not taking it. But it was a very emotional period in leaving and, ah, as we left, Big Black who was in charge of security, ah, he and I embraced each other and we cried in each other's arm and it was a very, you know, they sensed and they had obviously a better knowledge of the mentality of the system than we did and so many of us probably owe our lives to them for getting us out of there. But it was a very emotional, ah, parting. And the next time I saw Big Black they had him on a table out in the yard after the state had taken over.
QUESTION 21INTERVIEWER: Describe for me that last, that day, that Monday.
ARTHUR EVE: On Monday the day of the massacre, they had us all in a room, a steward's room there in the prison. We could not leave. We could not have access. We even tried to talk to Oswald and they said that he was not available to talk to us. And then when we heard the popping and so forth we were told that they had used a tear gas that had never been used in this country before and that it would literally immobilize the inmates and they'd be able to go in there and, ah, you know bring out the hostages and take over the facility. Ah, we never knew that they had shot five, four thousand rounds of bullets in that yard. And while sitting there, someone saw them bringing out the inmates who had been injured and some who had been dead, and, ah, we saw them bring out a, African American inmate and, ah, whom they thought was dead and, ah, when the gentleman moved his arm and they realized he was alive, two people who were carrying him lifted his body as high as they could and then dashed it to the ground, hopefully that this would further hemorrhage him and guarantee his death and it was just very frightening to see that this was the kind of feeling, ah, from the parts of the people who went into that institution. They had also said to us that, ah, the correctional officers would not be allowed to go in because on of their men had been killed and we knew, ah, you know, who died. And, ah, we knew that they would be hostile. That, that did not happen. Correctional officers were allowed in that institution with guns, ah, so we were lied to consistently by the state. And, ah, it was, you know, that massacre was probably the worst thing that's ever happened within this country, ah, in this century.
QUESTION 22INTERVIEWER: What I'm really trying to get at is, I want you to sort of remember how you felt and the other observers felt within that ten minutes, as you were in that room, you were on the floor--
ARTHUR EVE: On the floor, OK, OK, OK, OK--
QUESTION 23INTERVIEWER: --the sounds of the helicopter, what was going on around you. You couldn't see it but you could feel it and how it all felt.
ARTHUR EVE: On that day when we were in the room and, ah, they made us get on the floor because of the tear gas. It was best they said for us not to be affected by it. And, ah, we heard the helicopters and all of the noise. Ah, still not being clear what was going on and feeling just a tremendous sense of hopelessness, that we could not impact on it, ah, I guess some of us had felt that we had failed, ah, because we could not resolve it without that going in, ah, it was just a very frightening moment of wondering what is really going on. What's happening? You know, are they taking it without, you know, any loss of life. Ah, so it was just a, a big question, a, a big sense of, of hopelessness, and, ah, and also tremendous frustration. I mean all of us were very frustrated who were truly committed to trying to resolve this and, ah, it was just probably one of the most difficult periods, ah, of the whole thing was that, ah, all of the effort of was literally in vain.
QUESTION 24INTERVIEWER: If you could talk about what Governor Rockefeller could have done?
ARTHUR EVE: Yeah, on that, ah, Monday, you know, it came back to you time and time again that a mere visit from the Governor to the western New York area in his private plane with communication into the yard, to the inmates, that if they gave up that he would guarantee them as Governor, there would be no reprisals, no beatings, no physical harassment, no murdering of the inmate, we felt, and this was given to us from the inmates in the institution, that they were concerned about reprisals. And the mere fact that the Governor would not take that last mile, that last trip. We never asked him to come into the prison, never asked him to go into the yard. We said, "Just come to the area to show that you as Governor will back up and guarantee the inmates there will be no reprisals." And the Governor refused to take that last step. And that's something that confused me, I, frankly could not comprehend, that lives could have been saved and how a man just refused to show that kind of sensitivity and concern. And that's something that I thought about a lot that day, that one plane trip and one telephone conversation for five minutes could have avoided the whole massacre.
INTERVIEWER: Let's stop down.
ARTHUR EVE: After the massacre was over and, ah, they then took a few of us back into the yard and walked on the wall and then began to tell us how they had to do certain things because they had observed this one inmate who had cut out the reproductive organs of a hostage and then stuck them in the man's mouth. And how another inmate, they had to shoot because he was running to stab a hostage. In fact they showed us Big Black on a table out in the center of the yard, buck naked, with a football resting on his neck and they said, "He was the guy who, ah, castrated or cut out the reproductive organs of officer Smith." And, you know, I had, I had tears in my eyes. I said, "Here's the guy that, you know, I embraced with on my last day, you know, we hugged and we cried." You know, you know, I didn't believe that he was capable of doing it. But it was told to you so convincingly, you know, and we were told there's five fellows down on the ground buck naked, stripped, and, ah, you know they murdered some of the hostages. And that's when I saw Barkley from Rochester later on ended up dead. Ah, it was very frightening. Ah, and again we were told these things.
QUESTION 25INTERVIEWER: After this you were taken into the yard. You went in the yard with the deputy commissioner. Describe what you saw.
ARTHUR EVE: Yeah, after the massacre, ah, the deputy commissioner took us into the yard and told us why they had to do what they did. They described a inmate cutting up the reproductive organs of a hostage and putting it in his mouth in their clear view with all of those troopers watching. They told us of another inmate that, ah, attempted to kill a hostage with a knife and they had to shoot him. Ah, and they showed us the inmate on the table whom they had on his back with a football res--resting on his neck, ah, and it was Big Black and I remembered, ah, him as the brother whom, I got to, to know in that yard and really love and, ah, we had embraced and, and, and, and cried on the last day, that Sunday, and I said, you know, that, that, that doesn't seem like Big Black. But it was told to you very convincingly and, ah, ah, to the degree that you believed it. And that's something that really, almost destroyed me that I really believed the lies that they had told. And then they showed me five inmates who were spread, spread eagled and buck naked on the ground and that they had committed crimes against the hostages. And, ah, I saw Barkley from Rochester and remembered him because I saw him so many times in yard when he would say he wanted a plane to a non-capitalistic country, you know, ah, and so, ah, it was just a, a, a, a, story telling of what they did to us, ah, to try to justify the course of action they did. And as you know subsequently the medical examiner from Rochester said it was all lies. Everything. That officer Quinn's reproductive organs were shot off by a shotgun, ah, by the state and not, ah, by a, a, ah, an inmate, so it was just a, a, horrible thing that the state did in trying to justify, ah, the worst massacre this nation has seen in this century.
QUESTION 26INTERVIEWER: How did this, something this terrible happen?
ARTHUR EVE: Well, ah, during a very difficult period, ah, it almost cost me my mind, ah, and I thank God that, ah, I was able to keep my sanity after Attica. But it pointed up very clearly that the ruling class is a very small percentage. And as I've said to many audiences the hostages in there, the guards, were just like the inmates. If a Rockefeller family member had been there, they never would have used the violence. And so those who work for a living are those who are in sort of a class situation, their lives are just as, you know, expendable as the inmates, be they White or Black, to a great degree. But it really pointed up that racism is, is very heavy in New York state and that all of those men and women, all those men who were in the prisons, that, ah, we had to try to do more to change what was happening in our penal institutions. That people should have an opportunity, that while incarcerated to be treated like a human being and then hopefully rehabilitated, ah, if possible, but every chance must be given for that. It also said, that how do I stop kids from going into crime? I mean, how do we stop poverty, hungry, hunger, ignorance, lack of education, poor housing. And so it sort of gave, gave me a, a new resolved[SIC] to try harder to prevent, ah, other Atticas from happening and people getting into situations such as Attica State Prison.
QUESTION 27INTERVIEWER 2: What was happening in the country around the Gary convention that made Gary so necessary, with such urgency?
ARTHUR EVE: Well Many of us had experienced great expectations and hopes during the great society and programs of the '60s and, ah, and, and Civil Rights and so forth. We saw Nixon's election as taking away those gains. We saw the system moving away from a commitment to people and, and hunger and housing and, and political empowerment. Eyes on the Prize II: America at the Racial Crossroads 1965 - 1985; Episode 205-32 So, Gary was absolutely very critical. Ah, people were frustrated, looking for answers, solutions, strategies, and so Gary came at a very, very opportune time, to bring us all together, to try to help us cope with the frustrations we were, you know, experiencing and to devise a strategy on how to change this situation around. So Gary was absolutely very critical. Ah, there was also conversation prior to that and during then about a Black running for President of the United States, running in the democratic primaries and/or running independently. So Gary was very significant, ah, time and, it, it was just beautiful.
QUESTION 28INTERVIEWER 2: Can you give me a sense also of the excitement of that time, of going into Ga--of going into the convention?
ARTHUR EVE: Being from Buffalo, and there were people looked upon us as sort of upstage hicks, ah, ah, our community, we were very excited. There were about 60 or 70 of us who, we had fundraisers, we had other activities to raise money to fly out there and for the hotel. And people were excited about meeting national figures that they had read about or heard about or seen on TV, you know, Julian Bond and Jesse Jackson and the mayors and so forth. So it was a very exciting period of everybody coming together, people at the lower level and at the higher level, all coming together on a common agendas, common goals, common hopes, and also common fears. Ah, and so it was a very exciting period and, ah, frankly I can't remember when my community came together and really as a total community raised dollars in order to send people somewhere. Ah, so it was a, a, very hopeful period.
QUESTION 29INTERVIEWER 2: Tell me what you remember about Richard Hatcher, the mayor of Gary?
ARTHUR EVE: Dick was a very strong leader and, and still is a strong leader today--
QUESTION 30INTERVIEWER 2: Sorry, if you could, don't go back to now but just keep it during then.
ARTHUR EVE: OK, Dick was a, a tremendous inspiration, a role model for myself and for many, ah, ah, African American men, ah, and women, ah, and to have put this together and brought it to his community he was a wonderful host, provided tremendous leadership and the planning and the preparation of it. Ah, and, ah, hopefully we will have another Gary. We need it now more than ever before.
QUESTION 31INTERVIEWER 2: Can you give me your sense also of Amiri Baraka?
ARTHUR EVE: Because of what he had done.
ARTHUR EVE: Brother Baraka played a major role, ah, and there was almost like the, ah, American Blacks and the Pan African American Blacks, all coming together, ah, there were a lot of division among the two groups in various forms. This was the first time that the two groups had come together and Baraka played a major role in putting together those different factions and groups for common agendas and common goals. And so he played a major and a very, very significant role in that.
QUESTION 32INTERVIEWER 2: What was the high point for you at the convention?
ARTHUR EVE: I think when you looked around in the building where we were and you saw all of those different people representing the various states and areas from around the country, it was like a dream, you know, that you'd dreamed about that here it is happening. We are together. We are one.
INTERVIEWER 2: Thank you. That's lovely.
QUESTION 33INTERVIEWER 2: What was your impression of Richard Hatcher at Gary?
ARTHUR EVE: Ah, tremendous leadership, ah--
QUESTION 34INTERVIEWER 2:
ARTHUR EVE: Dick Hatcher demonstrated tremendous leadership, first of all, in hosting and bringing together all of these hundreds of people from around the country and planning and the leadership that he demonstrated there was just absolutely tremendous.
QUESTION 35INTERVIEWER 2: And Baraka?
ARTHUR EVE: Baraka, you know, New York delegation was, I think, typical of many delegations. We had the American Black pla--and the Pan African Black and, ah, ah, Baraka played a major role in bringing all of the segments together. Ah, ah, clearly demonstrating that we had common interests, common agendas, common problems and we should have common strategies. So he played a major role in helping to pull all of this together and the two of them were absolutely fantastic.
QUESTION 36INTERVIEWER 2: Talk about looking around--
ARTHUR EVE: In Gary I think the thing that really was just sort of uplifting and stimulating was to look around that building and see brothers and sisters from all over the country. It was just fantastic to see us all united together.
QUESTION 37INTERVIEWER 2:
ARTHUR EVE: The thing that impressed me the most was looking around that building and seeing all of us together. It was absolutely beautiful and, ah, to see us all united as one, it was just a dream that I'd always hoped for.
INTERVIEWER 2: Thank you very much.