A third floor room in the Phillips Brooks House was the unlikely setting Monday night for a conflict between the National Caucus of Labor Committees (NCLC) and a group the police identified as De Mau Mau, a black Vietnam veterans group.
At a forum sponsored by the NCLC to charge that Imamu Amin Baraka (Leroi Jones) is an agent of the CIA, a fight broke out at 9:40 p.m. Seven people were stabbed, none seriously.
The stage was set by tense pre-meeting procedures as NCLC guards attempted to search all comers. And later, when NCLC speaker Isaiah Scott spoke of slave labor and Baraka, the audience of 80 was quiet, if uneasy.
Whenever blacks entered the room, supervising whites motioned other whites out of their seats to make room for them. One group of blacks stonily refused seats but aloofly lined the back wall.
Outside of smothered questions from the floor, the only noise during the evening were scoffs from a black man in a green suit with a brief case.
Sources later suggested this man might have been Vincent Terrell, reportedly a guest lecturer at UMass in the History of Theater. Terrell was arrested following the meeting for alleged possession of a handgun with an altered serial number.
NCLC is affiliated with the U.S. Labor Party and a representative of that group later accused Hayward Henry, a Harvard lecturer in 1969-70 and currently a lecturer at MIT, of provoking the fight. On Monday night, Scott had charged that Henry is a CIA agent in Boston.