Re: [sixties-l] Critique of Bruce Franklin >

Date: 11/02/00

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    In a message dated Wed, 11/1/00  7:16:40 PM EST
    Jeffrey Blankfort <> writes:
    <What the underreported deaths of the 23 black 
    <men in Mississippi and Michael's response indicate 
    <is how limited we are in making the type of 
    <investigation that he suggests.
     Only those who are uncomfortable with the prospect
     of acquiring evidence which does not confirm their
     ideological needs are limited.
     Let me give an example from Norman, Oklahoma,
     during the Vietnam years.  
     Political busts against white activists started
     happening in January, 1966, with what I have 
     called the "Great Marijuana Raid."  Several SDS
     members and friends were arrested at a quiet
     gathering in a rooming house, and about one
     roach's worth of pot was seized, along with much
     left-wing political literature.  After much
     agony and legal expenses associated with the 
     felony charge, the defendants were freed on the
     basis of a faulty warrant.
     In August 1967, on several occasions white activists
     guilty of nothing more than looking unconventional
     and wearing peace buttons were arrested for "loitering"
     at night.  On two occasions I was called into service
     to raise money to bail them out.  Afterward, the
     local city attorney would always dismiss the charges.
     He knew the law was unconstitutional, but didn't
     want to risk losing it in a court test.  They found
     it a handy instrument for harassment.  It was also
     used in this fashion in April 67.
     In February 1968, 28 antiwar demonstrators, all
     white to my recollection, were arrested for
     "obstructing the sidewalk" while picketing a 
     speech by Selective Service Director Lewis Hershey,
     in Oklahoma City.  Later the charges were dismissed
     on Constitutional grounds.
     In December 1969, five white males associated 
     with Norman's underground newspaper were arrested
     on felony charges of obscenity.  Four were freed
     on Constitutional grounds, and a fifth member
     accused under a different statute had to pay a
     $1000 fine.
     In May 1970, white antiwar activist Keith Green
     was arrested under an antiquated 1919 law, never
     enforced earlier, making it a felony to display
     a red flag or "emblem of anarchy or rebellion."
     He was carrying a North Vietnamese flag at an
     antiwar demonstration the day after the Kent State
     Immediately following this, about 250 demonstrators
     held a sit-in around the police car, and a riot
     squad ultimately waded in with clubs to break it 
     up.  Over the summer, felony charges of incitement
     to riot were brought against four white activists
     considered to be "leaders."  The charges were
     dismissed by the judge, who did not agree that a
     "riot" took place.  Keith Green was also freed
     under a ruling that the 1919 flag law was obviously
     And how were Black activists in Norman and the
     OU community treated in this same period?  In
     1971, after the Attica prison riot, black students
     at OU formed a human chain to obstruct traffic
     for several hours on one of the campus streets.
     This created a safety hazard, since approaching
     motorists had to stop and turn around to exit
     the campus.  These demonstrators could have been
     charged under numerous laws, such as obstructing
     traffic, disorderly conduct, and who knows what
     else.  There were no arrests and no charges, but
     the year before a white kid went to jail on a
     felony charge for merely having displayed a flag.
     Just last week I asked Ron King, an old friend 
     who was a black activist at OU during this time
     period, if he could think of any arrests of OU
     black  activists in clear retaliation for political 
     dissent.  He couldn't come up with a single 
     I see no reason why the same kind of evidence
     could not be obtained for any American campus
     of the Vietnam years.
    >Since an unknown number of black women and men 
    >were murdered over the decades in the Jim Crow 
    >south, unknown because there was no police interest 
    >in locating their killers, many of whom were, in 
    >fact, the police, and there was no media that was 
    >at all interested in investigating or reporting on 
    >the deaths of missing blacks, we will never know why 
    >they were killed. 
     He says (1) there was no police interest in
     locating their killers, (2) we will never know
     why they were killed, and (3) the number killed
     is "unknown."  In the face of these admitted
     uncertainties, he is sure that many of the killers
     were "in fact, the police." I think that speaks 
     for itself.
    >I will suggest that it is reasonable to suggest 
    >that some were murdered for their defiance of the 
    >white ruling elite.
     The above statement is nothing but speculation
     and wishful thinking in response to the need
     to stretch reality to conform to the requirements
     of ideology.
     The evidence I summarized about Norman was not
     ~ Michael Wright
       Norman, Oklahoma

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