Africans Here Rap President
African students at the University yesterday expressed varied opinions on racial violence in Birmingham, Ala., but generally agreed on two points:
* The Kennedy Administration should be condemned for not acting sooner and more forcefully to support Negro rights and prevent "police brutality" in Alabama;
* the racial violence in Birmingham will receive full coverage in the African press and will have a "definitely detrimental" effect on American prestige abroad.
Feelings expressed ranged from relative indifference to advocating mass, armed resistance by American Negroes and "selected terrorism." Students contacted universally approved of the demonstrations and felt they should and would continue, though a number felt that a "more revolutionary approach" was necessary if they were to be successful.
Disappointment in the Federal government arose partly from a comparison with the government's prompt action in the University of Mississippi crisis last fall. Typical of many students' feelings were those of Uchenna C. Nwosu '64, who felt that the Administration had "shown some determination" in the Mississippi case but was not doing so now. The lack of real action now, he felt, made it unclear whether Kennedy's earlier acts had been sincere or merely "political opportunism to win liberal and Negro votes."
On the subject of using violence, the students showed the greatest diversity of opinion. Benedict O. Arene '64 expressed one view that violence in the form of "organized physical resistance" might be needed, but opposed any retaliatory action. Other students privately expressed stronger opinions.
Newspapers throughout Africa have carried news of the Birmingham demonstrations for the past week.