In 1993, exactly thirteen years ago on the 27th of this month, Oakland was ready to go to lunch on smoked pig barbecue. Biko Lumumba (RIP) was APSP LPO chairman and I was secretary. It was quiet that morning. Comrades were doing their various chores when the calls started coming in. I think the NAACP called first, wanting to hold a rally Downtown.
But then the lines started flooding with calls. It was the masses. They were saying "Rodney King! Rodney King!" They called to demand a Downtown rally. We held a hurried meeting, as people began barging into the Uhuru House. Then we caravaned to the downtown rendevous point.
There were about 150 people already there, and workers, students and activists filtered in at a rapid rate. Biko had a loudspeaker, and the rest of us passed out leaflets. NPDUM local pres Omowale made a statement. And we also turned the mic over to the masses. Students, MEChA activists, and a few workers all summed up the situation. Many of these people were folks we had little or no prior contact with, but obviously they were down with Uhuru.
One final speaker showed up. An elder, a brother with his collar on backwards. He started saying we need to think about what we were about to do. He stated, "We don't want anymore violence." He began preaching non-violence, after the State proved it was perfectly willing to inflict arbitrary violence on anyone of us at anytime. The masses booed him so hard I was afraid we all might get fucked up if they wanted to kick his ass. I thought they was gonna kill that preacher. Biko yanked the mic out of his hand. He asked if anybody was feeling that. The crowd shouted "NO!!" in unison. By now there were at least 300 people in that little square. So we started marching and chanting. We had lots of chants.
Youths were breaking the little trees that had been planted downtown. They were breaking down the little trees to tear shit up. I was apprehensive because we didn't have no real shit, no real bricks and clubs to fight the pigs, just knuckles and boots. Them lil trees weren't finna hurt nothing. I was like salty that one of the youth was trearing up this lil shit. I got salty with the guy like two or three times. Then Omowale sed something to me, forgot what it was, but that kinda settled my nerves. Omowale was the type of brother that could think of three words which had enuf depth to get the point across. He didn't rebuke me, he didn't say anything sarcastic, it was wry and observant, whatever he sed. Omowale gave me some steel. I remember all that like yesterday.
All 300 men women and even high school youths marched militantly up to the police station (pig sty) and the demonstration split into to sections. It actually fragmented as we came up to the pig sty. Biko, on the speaker, sed we finna march AROUND the police station. We making this up as we go, dunno what's effective at this point, you see. We were going with the flow, trying to maintain a modicum of control, yet having no intention of watering down this thing. It was not an uprising at this point. But soon we would face the bridge of no return.
The demonstration started marching in front of the police station. We were out front where you walk in from the street, the cops came outside as if they were providing protection for us, I remember that. But somebody, Adigun or somebody else, was almost futilely directing this group from the side. I saw them, forgot who it was, and was able to move the people in that section around back. We marched, away from the pigs who had wandered outside. We got to the back and the masses were banging on the garage door. Chanting and banging. I found myself at the garage door. The pigs tried to bring a van out. The youth rushed forward. They rushed foward and stopped that motherfucker. We were all rocking and bouncing that motherfucker. Not like that rap video shit. Not like anything you have seen. Not that close, not there with your hands on the motherfucker, the screams in your ears, shouting at the top of your lungs. Every fibre in your body is alive, you cannot forget a single moment of action.
The pigs backed that motherfucker into the garage and dropped the door. We were fired up then. Any apprehension had disappeared. We kept up the chants and marched to West Oakland. Well, we didn't really march to West Oakland. We crossed the Freeway. Africans stopped traffic on the freeway. They broke down the fence, jumped the barrier, and crossed the freeway, straight to the other side, jumped that barrier, broke down that fence and climbed the hill. DAYUM! Thas all I could think. I was about a third of the way from the rear. Africans was moving like gazelle that day.
....And it wasn't over yet, not by a long shot!!!!
If I think enuf folks is "instrested", I'll give the rest of the story later. Uhuru.