For nearly a decade I have been researching the civil rights movement in
Cambridge, Maryland. One of the main subjects of my research was the
"riot" that took place in Cambridge in the summer or 1967 allegedly
incited by H. Rap Brown. Glazglow cites Brown's indictment for inciting
the riot as one of the keys to proving that Brown and the Black Panther
Party were violent thugs and a proof of the validity of David Horrowitz's
intrpretation of the Panthers.
I don't want to address Horrowitz's broader argument at this point.
However, Glazglow's assertions diplay the danger of playing loosely with
the facts. To begin, Brown's relationship with the Black Panther Party
was minimal at best. In fact, SNCC's relationship with the BPP was always
problematic--for instance, SNCC refused to accept the BPP's 10pt. program.
More to the point, no one has established that SNCC leaders, in so far as
they were allied with the BPP, had anything to do with the Panther's
alleged nefarious activities.
More important, Glazglow needs to more carefully consider the significance
of the charge that Brown incited a riot in Cambridge in 1967. Without a
doubt, Brown delivered a fiery address in Cambridge and he was indicted
for inciting a riot. In fact, congress enacted the so-called "Brown"
amendment to the Open Housing Act in 1968, which made it a federal crime
to cross a border to incite a riot. Yet, why was Brown never tried for
inciting a riot? There are numerous possible explanations but perhaps the
most compelling is that Maryland state prosecutors did not believe that
they could win a conviction, even after the case had been moved to venues
which would have been unfavorable to Brown. To convict Brown, prosecutors
would have had to overcome several major hurdles. One, the staff of the
Kerner Commission, which examined the riot, concluded that in fact no riot
had even taken place, only a low level disturbance. The national press
and figures like Gov. Spiro Agnew, who first gained national fame in the
immediate aftermath of the "riot," alleged that a riot had taken place
because several square blocks of Cambridge were burned to the ground. But
as the Kerner Commission concluded, the fire was due to the unwillingness
of the all-white volunteer fire company to put out a small fire that
erupted in the all-black Second Ward. The fire company had been at odds
with civil rights activists for years; a suit filed by local blacks had
recently compelled it to give up its treasured all-white private pool; its
officers were allied with the "law and order" slate of candidates that had
come into power in 1964. Its fire chief was Cambridge's version of "Bull"
Connor. Among those to blame the fire company for the "riot" were John
Barth, the famed novelist and a native of Cambridge, and General George
Gelston, the commander of the National Guard who spent much time in
Cambridge maintaining law and order.
Two, even if one assumed that a "riot" had taken place, there was a good
deal of evidence that Brown did not incite it. As Gloria Richardson and
others observed, Brown made essentially the same address all over the
nation and riots did not erupt. In addition, the alleged riot did not
take place immediately after Brown's address. On the contrary,
conditions calmed so much that the National Guard was sent home several
hours after Brown spoke and Brown himself left town shortly after he
completed the speech.
When Brown was finally arrested for his participation in an armed robbery,
the newspapers reported that he was not tried for inciting a riot because
authorities did not want to bring up the old charges when they could put
him away on the robbery charges anyway. Yet, the state attorney in Howard
County, where the case had been moved, publicly questioned the charges
and there is no doubt that authorities did not want to reveal how weak the
charges had been all along.
At this point, I'm not sure whether Brown/Al Amin committed the recent
murder. Unlike Glazgow and Horrowitz, I'm going to reserve judgment until
I know more of the facts of the case, rather than coming to a conclusion
based upon flimsy evidence. What is perhaps most interesting about the
current trial is that the judge has maintained a gag order on Brown with
little public notice. In an era when even the president's grand jury
testimony is released to the public, I found it troublesome that those who
argue that the public has the right to know virtually everything, have not
uttered a single complaint about this gag order.
Dept. of History
On Fri, 18 Jan 2002 firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
> ---------- Forwarded message ----------
> Date: Thu, 17 Jan 2002 13:21:31 -0800
> From: radtimes <email@example.com>
> Subject: A Panthers Trial: Another Vindication of David Horowitz
> A Panther's Trial: Another Vindication of David Horowitz
> FrontPageMagazine.com | January 17, 2002
> By: Jamie Glazov
> THE CURRENT Atlanta murder trial of Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin, a former Black
> Panther, is another vindication of David Horowitz's critical assessment of
> Panther criminality.
> Also known as H. Rap Brown, the 58-year-old Al-Amin is accused of murdering
> Ricky Kinchen, a sheriff's deputy, and wounding his partner, Aldranon
> English, in a shootout in Atlanta in March, 2000. Kinchen and English had
> attempted to serve a summons to Al-Amin after he had failed to attend a
> court hearing on charges of driving without proof of insurance, receiving
> stolen goods and impersonating a police officer.
> Al-Amin fled after the shooting and was placed on the Federal Bureau of
> Investigation's Most Wanted List. He was captured several days later hiding
> in woods near a small town in Alabama. The weapon used in the fatal
> shooting was found nearby. English, the surviving officer, identified
> Al-Amin as the gunman.
> A former Panther, Al-Amin has a history of violence and brushes with the
> law. In 1968, he was charged with inciting a riot and went underground on
> the eve of his trial, earning him a place on the FBI's Most Wanted List.
> Three years later, he was caught during a shootout in an attempted-armed
> robbery in New York and sentenced to five years in prison.
> Al-Amin converted to Islam in jail. He moved to Atlanta in 1976 and opened
> a mosque. In 1995, he was arrested for shooting a drug dealer and was
> investigated for several homicides. No charges were laid.
> The present trial not only crystallizes Al-Amin's individual criminality;
> it also reminds us that the Black Panthers were ruthless thugs. David
> Horowitz has been stating this fact for more than two decades, but the
> American Left and mainstream media continue to force this issue into
> Horowitz came to the truth about the Panthers the hard way. In December
> 1974, the Panthers abducted and killed his friend, Betty Van Patter. An
> enthusiastic Leftwing radical who was working for the Panthers at the time,
> Horowitz had recruited Betty to keep the books of a "Learning Center" in
> Oakland that he had created to run a school for the children of Black
> Betty had found something wrong with the Panthers' record books and naively
> went to inform Elaine Brown, the leader of the Panthers at the time. She
> subsequently disappeared. In January 1975, her battered body -- with her
> head caved in -- was found floating in San Francisco Bay.
> Horowitz was devastated. He began to ask questions, but he faced only a
> disturbing lack of curiosity among his Leftwing associates about Betty's
> death. It became obvious to him that the Panthers knew what had happened to
> Betty - because they killed her. It also became obvious that his fellow
> progressive radicals were not interested in Betty's murder. The sacredness
> of human life was not on their priority list; the ideal of what the
> progressive cause represented was.
> In the end, Horowitz reconciled himself to the reality that the Panthers
> were just plain ruthless thugs who were involved in racketeering,
> prostitution, extortion, drug dealing and murder.
> It was this realization that led to his political conversion -- a journey
> that he recounts in his autobiography Radical Son.
> Horowitz discerned that the way the American Left absolved Panther crime
> was a mutated form of how socialists practiced Gulag denial. And to be
> sure, the Panthers always enjoyed the support of the American Left, the
> Democratic Party, and the mainstream media.
> Till this very day, the national media still have yet to conduct a serious
> investigation into any Panther murders. Could this be because Panther
> crimes are directly connected to many political figures within the liberal
> establishment? Hillary Clinton, for instance, did absolutely nothing in her
> position of power to bring any Panther thugs to justice, let alone to set
> any historical facts straight. Could it be because as a law student at Yale
> in 1970 she organized demonstrations to exonerate Panther leaders from
> being tried for murder?
> Is it really a mystery why prominent figures like Tom Hayden and
> journalists like Los Angeles Times columnist Robert Scheer, both of whom
> championed the Panthers at the time, have remained silent about Panther
> brutality till this day?
> No one has ever been charged in Betty Van Patter's death. But many Sixties
> and Seventies radicals have knowledge about what happened to her. They will
> not come forward.
> Thanks to the efforts of individuals like Horowitz, the details of Panther
> crimes continue to surface -- notwithstanding the blackout by the national
> media. Yet Horowitz has been vilified by the Left for his efforts. He has
> also put his life in danger.
> In his last televised interview, Eldridge Cleaver, the former Black Panther
> leader renowned for his vehement commitment to, and participation in,
> violence, discussed his change of heart. In the now famous 60 Minutes
> program during which he admitted the brutal ruthlessness of the Panthers,
> he stated: "If people had listened to Huey Newton and me in the 1960s,
> there would have been a holocaust in this country."
> The current Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin murder trial is extremely significant in
> this context. It reminds us of the Left's practice of historical amnesia,
> and of how one man's fight to resuscitate historical memory, a fight that
> has been waged at a great personal cost, has been vindicated by historical
> Jamie Glazov holds a Ph.D. in History with a specialty in Soviet Studies.
> He is the author of 15 Tips on How to be a Good Leftist and of Canadian
> Policy Toward Khruschev's Soviet Union which will be published by
> McGill-Queens University Press in March 2002. Born in the U.S.S.R., Jamie
> is the son of prominent Soviet dissidents, and now resides in Vancouver,
> Canada. He writes the Dr. Progressive advice column for angst-ridden
> leftists at EnterStageRight.com.
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