First Published: Berkeley Barb, August 2-8, 1968.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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Stokely Carmichael, Prime Minister of the Black Panther Party, will address a Panther rally in West Oakland’s DeFremery Park on Sunday, Aug. 11th.
Stokely had originally been scheduled to appear at the rally held there last Sunday, but he was unavoidably delayed in the South.
Despite his absence, the rally held the interest of a large crowd, larger than the crowd at the first such rally two weeks ago and with a great percentage of whites than before.
It was held without a permit, Bobby Scale told the crowd that the Panthers have stopped asking for permits to use the park which, lies in the heart of the Oakland Ghetto.
There was no unusual police presence visible. Seale explained that with large concentrations of million-dollar industries right across the street, the pigs aren’t going to come in and cause any trouble right there.
Reies Tijerina, the leader of the land-grant alliance in Arizona and New Mexico, gave an impassioned hour-long speech calling for unity between Blacks and Mexican-Americans.
Flanked by chicano “Brown Berets” Tijerina repeatedly reminded the crowd that “we need each other.”
“In the past the poor have borne the burden of proof,” he said, “now this situation is reversing. It is our obligation to indict the guilty ones.”
Tijerina announced, that he had just filed as a candidate for Governor of New Mexico, He promised that his first act as Governor would be to padlock the Governor’s Mansion, give all but $1,500 of the salary to the poor and imprison the ruling politicians, whom he charged with “economic and social conspiracy.”
He said that Huey Newton should be decorated, for “opening the eyes of the people.”
Earlier, before Tijerina’s arrival, one of the Brown Berets spoke. “A long time ago the white man put us in a trick bag,” he said, “he told us we were white.”
The crowd, roared with laughter. “But we are getting out of that bag,” he went on,” “we are discovering our own soul.”
Another speaker was Ruth Hagwood, who announced that Blacks for Justice has established a switchboard to serve the Black community. The number is 863-3013.
She also urged all blacks to continue to boycott downtown Oakland businesses, and announced a Black Strike Day set for August 17. All Blacks will be asked to stay out of downtown Oakland on that day.
During most of the speeches the platform was ringed with a guard of Panthers and Brown Berets. The speeches lasted from 1 to 6.
Bob Avakian, a white speaker, told the plainclothesmen in the crowd that retribution to the power structure for anything that happened to Huey “...would not be dealt out by Blacks alone.” He said that he and other anonymous whites had resolved that Huey would be hurt only over their dead bodies.
Avakian also announced that if Eldridge Cleaver was prevented from campaigning for President on the Peace and Freedom Party ticket, the PFP Radical Caucus would see to it that no candidate could campaign, in the area.
The speeches gave way to a soul-rock band and the Panthers adjourned to the tennis courts for a drill and instruction session. The crowd drifted apart as the sun set.
Earlier in the afternoon, Ruth Hagwood had told them to each bring five friends to the next rally.