Sunday, 10 January 2010

The Truth That Never Hurts: Writings on Race, Gender, and Freedom

by Barbara Smith

That evening we heard Bobby Seale, a leader of the Black Panthers, speak in Lincoln Park. It is always curious to me to see a certain type of white person receive with such enthusiasm the promise of the destruction of their society by Black people, but perhaps they are so accepting because they are still naive enough to think that it will not happen.

We went after this speech to a show in the Coliseum. It was extraordinarily inspiring to see Jean Genet and William Burroughs and finally Dick Gregory (a truly gentle man) on stage speaking to us and with us. It was suggested that we proceed after the show to Grant Park in front of the Hilton, where people from Lincoln Park were already arriving.

This would be our first contact with the police and we were nervous as we walked toward the Loop. Surprisingly, nothing happened that night. At one point the police pushed us back off the sidewalk onto the grass, but this was done efficiently and without force. At one point the singer Phil Ochs was standing near us and we listened to him talk to someone for awhile and then drifted away. We also spoke to some policemen who were laconic, but not hostile. We finally went home at about 2 A.M. Wednesday. The day of the nominations had already begun.

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