The U.S. Labor Party yesterday accused a former member of Harvard's Afro-American Studies Department of provoking a confrontation that led to the stabbings of seven people at Phillips Brooks House Monday night.
The group said that Hayward Henry, a Harvard lecturer in 1969-70 and currently a lecturer on Humanities at MIT, encouraged a confrontation by leafletting at a forum sponsored by the National Council of Labor Committees (NCLC), an organization affiliated with the Labor Party.
Henry could not be reached for comment yesterday, either at his home or at his MIT office.
The stabbings occurred during the forum when fighting broke out between NCLC members and people identified by the Cambridge Police as members of De Mau Mau, a black Vietnam veterans group. The NCLC has called the forum to present what it claimed was evidence that Imamu Amiri Baraka, the black poet and political leader who is also known as Leroi Jones, was an agent of the Central Intelligence Agency.
The Labor Party contends that Henry wanted to break up the forum because of his allegiance to Baraka. Henry is a former chairman of the Congress of African People, which Baraka founded in 1970, and is currently a member of the group's executive committee.
Merritt said that Henry helped disrupt a previous NCLC meeting held last month at the University of Massachsetts. She said that he joined other protesters who were "standing up, trying to take over the floor, refusing to let anyone else speak, saying they had a gun, threatening people and so on."
Merritt said that the protest here had followed a similar pattern. One man, Thomas Perry of New York City, is still hospitalized from stab wounds received in the fighting, and another New Yorker, Paul Goldstein, was released from the hospital Wednesday. The other five people stabbed were treated and released Monday night.
Black Caucus Chairman
Henry came to Harvard in 1969, when the Afro-American Studies Department was set up. At that time he was national chairman of the Black Caucus in the Unitarian Universalist Church and held a visiting appointment at MIT.
"He was one of the people brought in on the strong insistence of the students." Azinna Nwafor '64, assistant professor of Afro-American Studies, said yesterday. "He was a very militant black nationalist, one of those who was in favor of trying to exclude white students."
"One wasn't in favor of that," Nwafor added. "That was a time of transition for the department, of course. His courses attracted attention I think more because some students were excluded than on intellectual grounds."
Henry taught Afro-American Studies 22. "Philosophy and Critique of the Black Movement," and Afro-American Studies 21ar, a seminar and practicum on "Dynamics of the Black Community."
"Henry was hired by the same Standing Committee that nominated me." Ewart Guinier '33, chairman of the Afro-American Studies Department, said yesterday," and they arranged for what he would do."
"I had nothing to do with his teaching." Guinier continued. "I didn't hire him and I pass no judgment on his competence." Guinier said he had had no contact with Henry since Henry's departure from Harvard