"WHILE WEVE been rapping for three years. the Angels of God with their silver badges, as Billy Graham calls them, have been doing their damage to us." Messiah Hewit, Minister of Education for the Black Panther Party, and now acting Chairman, spoke Monday night at Boston College. "The duty of a revolutionary is to be an example, and right now being an example means that you're either in jail, in exile, or dead."
Twenty-eight Panthers murdered in the past two years. Murdered, shot, assassinated. You find the word. With only couple of exceptions, as Messiah says, all of the Panther leadership is either in jail, in exile, or dead. There have been rumors of orders from The Man, from the Attorney General, from the Justice Department with the blindfold, from John Mitchell, or maybe from his wife. Rumors of a seven month old order to local police authorities to exterminate the Panthers. Rumors.
One hundred Panthers jailed as political prisoners in the past two years. Twenty-one Panthers in New York with 82.000.000 bail. Eight months in jail without charges or trial. Messiah says there'll be another 82.000.000 in the next two weeks. Pregnant black women in jail in New Haven, who will be forced to have their babies in jail. A white jail doctor reaching up into them for their babies. Then their babies will be taken away because Panthers are unfit mothers.
"We've come here to tell about the genocide that's being carried out against the black people in this country. I don't want to have to talk semantics with you. I'm always afraid to talk at colleges where people seem to have more vocabulary than experience. We're talking about revolution and the survival of black people, and they're the same thing." It's really frightening to hear Messiah and feel that it may be the last time that you can.
ANYBODY WHO'S lived in a ghetto will tell you that what's happening to the Panthers is what's happening to black people all over the country. You turn a corner a little too fast and you feel a bullet in your back. And it's been happening to the Panthers since they started. The day they didn't send Hucy to the chair, two cops, armed, on duty, in a marked police car, drove by the Oakland Panther office and fired fifteen shells into the building. No one was hurt and so the cops were told to watch their timing. Every Panther paper shows pictures of another Panther office raided and destroyed by the law. Des Moines, Seattle. New York. This week Los Angeles and Chicago. And David Hilliard jailed for talking about the Chief of State. He should keep his name to himself if he doesn't want it threatened.
A lot of hungry black kids will stay hungry because of the cops. The cops have busted up the Breakfast for Children programs everywhere they've been tried. Black mothers are afraid to let their children cat breakfast because they might be shot.
Fred Hampton's murder and Mark Clark's murder in Chicago this week are not isolated. Messiah said that if you mourn for Fred you should mourn for the rest of them too. And we should. The bloody trail of legalized slaughter stretches all the way from My Lai to Oakland and now to Chicago.
Messiah said that he had a hard time talking to people who were complicit by their silence. The murders of the Illinois Panther chairman and Minister of Defense should be on the conscience of American Justice and its Department and its Secretary. If they had consciences. As it is, they should be on ours.