New York Post
April 14, 2001
BLACK PANTHERS TELL BILL TO KEEP OUT OF HARLEM
By DAN MANGAN
The New Black Panther Party yesterday demonstrates against Bill
Clinton's plans for a Harlem office, saying it will cause the "white
gentrification" of the area.
- R. Dembow
April 14, 2001 -- Saying Bill Clinton will accelerate "white
gentrification" in Harlem, the New Black Panther Party yesterday
demanded the ex-president abandon his planned office there and "go
"Harlem is ours!" shouted the party's national spokesman Malik Zulu
Shabazz to about 25 paramilitary-garbed members outside the office
building Clinton will occupy at 55 W. 125th St.
"We will not allow some cracker named Bill Clinton to set the stage and
the pace to drive black people out of Harlem.
"We are here to deal with a serious problem called gentrification,"
Shabazz said. "Gentrification to us means genocide."
Shabazz said the militant Panthers would use "any means necessary" to
prevent Clinton from moving in, including daily protests, although he
disavowed using violence.
Clinton, whom Shabazz called "the former president of the United Snakes
of America," and other whites have driven up rents by moving into the
neighborhood, thereby displacing African-Americans, he argued.
"We're declining to comment," said Clinton's spokeswoman, Julia Payne.
Earlier this year, Clinton announced plans to open an office in Harlem
after a furor erupted over his proposal to lease space in Midtown's
Carnegie Hall Tower for $811,000 per year at taxpayer expense. He
reportedly is close to signing the lease for the Harlem space, which
will cost more than $350,000 per year.
News that he would take space there met with widespread approval by
Harlem residents and businesses, who said the former president's
presence would bring some cachet and positive publicity to a resurgent
neighborhood that long labored under a negative image.
In fact, despite having announced their rally a week ago and trying to
drum up attendance, the Panthers apparently drew no one other than their
own members to the demonstration, except for curious passersby.
The party, whose controversial leader Khalid Muhammad died two months
ago, conducted several "Million Youth" marches in Harlem and espouses a
black nationalist philosophy.
"I don't care what them Panthers think," said Dawn McKnight, who was
working at the Slice of Harlem Pizzeria around the corner. "Lots of
people like" Clinton, she said.
"I think it's really a disgrace," said Deborah Munger of Queens, about
the rally, which she passed while shopping. "People are people. It
doesn't matter whether he's white, yellow or green. He should be able to
be in any part of the United States."
This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Tue Apr 17 2001 - 04:41:19 EDT