Re: Two questions (multiple posts)
Sun, 19 Oct 1997 12:20:12 -0400

From: Craig M Kind (

In response to Archie loss' question on the origin to the phrase "Up
against the wall motherfucker":

It is true that this was the name of a radical group in New York City
during the 1960s, and this may be the originof the Jefferson Airplane
lyric. Their is, however, another possibility.

The line was originally written by the poet LeRoi Jones, later known as
Amiri Baraka. Jones was originally a beat poet, but later became known as
a black nationalist. I can't remember the exact poem or play the line
comes from, but I suspect it is from his later works after he began to
follow Malcolm X. So you might be better off checking under his muslim
name Baraka.

Craig M. Kind, Student
University of Alaska Fairbanks

From: "David E. Bell" <>

Actually the expression originated with Black Panther Bobbie Seale who said
"We need to tell White America, 'Up against the wall, motherfuckers, this
is a stickup'."
David E. Bell
The Gray Wizard

From: sixties-l@jefferson.village.Virginia.EDU
Date: Sunday, October 12, 1997 3:58 PM
Subject: Re: Two questions

>From: William A Hamler III (
>I believe it refers to a sixties radical/anarchist group in NYC with the
>name "Up Against the Wall, Motherfuckers" which was a take-off on the
>police term used when protesters and other undesirables were rousted.
>Archie Loss wrote:
>> What is the source of the "Up against the wall, motherfucker" chorus
>> in
>> Jefferson Airplane's "We Can Be Together"?
>> I have had many guests speak to my sixties class, but have never
>> located a Vietnam nurse. I teach at Penn State-Erie (The Behrend
>> College) in Erie, PA. I would be very much interested in locating
>> someone who had this experience and would be willing to share it with
>> my class.
>> Archie Los
>From: Sandra Hollin Flowers <flowers_s@Mercer.EDU>
>I can't speak for Jefferson Airplane, Archie, but see the following for
>one writer's comments on this and other expressions of anger in
>nationalist writings of the '60s:
>Florence Turbee, "Black Revolutionary Language: 'Up Against the Wall,
>Mother...." in _Liberator_ Nov 1969.
>Sandra Flowers
>Sandra Hollin Flowers
>Associate Professor of English Voice: (912) 752-2813
>Mercer University Fax: (912) 757-4956
>Macon, GA 31207
>From: Joy Marcus <>
>Based in NY City around the East Village there was actually a group of
>young (at the time) people who were into challenging and changing the
>status quo. They called themselved the "Up against the wall,
>motherfuckers." One of them became a friend of mine after he moved out
>the WestCoast. My hunch is that the group name of the erstwhile
>revolutionaries might have inspired the song's lyrics or vice versa and,
>whichever came first, I do believe the expression was taken from the
>located in (pick a city, any city).......
>Have you read Judy and Stew Albert's book, *The Sixties*? There very
>may be a reference in there.......
>--Joy Marcus