Box 19, Folder 6, Document 1

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Why They Cry Black Power

Outbreaks in Atlanta

sense of belonging to one human family can alone save this
planet. But the time is short before hate shuts the doors.
The time is coming when we will regret the billions wasted
in Vietnam, The time is coming when we may regret the
number of Negroes we have trained there in guerrilla war.
There is hardly a city where the Negroes do not already domi-
ate the strategic areas through which the affluent commiuter
passes on his way to the inner core. SNCC’s hostility to the
war is not disloyalty but wisdom. We cannot rebuild that
sense of community so essential to our beloved- country's fu-
‘ure by engaging in a white man’s war in Asia while a black
nan’s revolt rises at home.


Wee thonght our readers would like to see SNCC's version of
what sparked the Atlanta riots, Marion Barry of SNCC's Wash-
migion affice gave the following account ta the press Sept, 8 on
Ais return from Atlanta where he was attending a SNCC workshop
when the first outhreal occurred Sept. 6: 5

At approximately 11S pam. two white poliiemen stopped 4a car
driven by Harold Prather, a 2S-vear old Negro. who lived 34 of 4
block away. The cops stopped Prather at Capitol avenue and Ormond
a According to $5 or 20) persons whe witnesse! the indent.
Prather jumped from the car and ran and was shot three times by
one of the white officers, “Prather kept moving at a very slow speed
and was fred upon again as he tried to get to his home 44 of a block
away,” said one witness, He finally made it and fell om the porch.

Immediately after the shooting, a crowd of 150 ta 200) persons
gathered at Prather’s house to protest the shooting. There were no
SNCC people present. Stokeley Carmichael, SNCC chairman, rcturn-.
ing from a radio interview heard about the incident over the radio
and went to the scene. The people there were very angry. The. local
people wanted Carmichael to come back and help organize a peace-
ful protest demonstration, It was called for 4 p.m. q

Witnesses Asked to Speak

At approximately 3:30 p.m. two SNCC people arrived at Capitol
Ave. and Ormond St., the scene of the demonstration; 200 people
were there. The local people had made their own signs and gone
aroufid in the various neighborhoods informing their friends as to
what had happened. At 3:45 p.m. Bill Ware, project directér for
SNCC's Atlanta Project. and three other SNCC people arrived with
a osound track, Ware asked the assembled people what had hap-
pened and they began te tell him. Ware said the whole group should
know what bad fuppened and asked af witnesses would tell about the
incident over the public address system:

Several persons bean telling what they had seen. Police officers
mmmediately moved ino and told Ware ta turn off the PLA. system.
Ware informed the policemen that he wanted to step iumers and
inake sure that everyone knew what had happened? The policemen
immediately arrested Ware. Another SNCC worker asked if people
still wanted to talk, The local people said “yes.” The talking con-
tinued and police arrested the SNCC person. This made the crowd
angrier. They demanded that police release the two SNCC people.
The loca! people said that they would sit in the streets until the two
persons were released and the Mayor suspended the policeman who
shot Prather. ‘

The policemen tried to remove people and arrested some who: lived
in the neighborhood. ‘The arrests were immediately protested by the
crowd, but to no avail. The people really got angry and started
pushing some of the officers and several bottles were thrown, Mayor
Ivan Allen arrived on the scene and brought with him 150-200 white
policemen and an armored truck loaded with white cops, machine
guns and other riot equipment. White officers with shotguns were
stationed al! along the street.

At that time Mayor Allen tried to lead the crowd to the Atlanta
stadium some 4 or 5 blocks away. The crowd refused to leave their
neighborhood. The crowd was also anery because all of the white
officers had machine guns and shotguns, but the Negro officers had

only their pistols, This really set the crowd off. Bottles. bricks and
other objects were thrown at the white officers,

What the Protesters Wanted

Allen tried to talk to the people from’ atop a police car but they
would not listen because the crowd wanted one of their leaders to
talk and not Allen. The block leader who got on top of the car
demanded that 1) white cops get out of there with machine guns
and shotguns, 2) the release of all those illegally and unjustly ar-
rested, and 3) the cops be fired who shot the young Negro. The
crowd cheered the demands but Allen refused to answer. He refused
to address himself to their grievances, at which time he was toppled
from the police car. Then 50 to 60 cops rushed into the crowd and
started hitting and pushing people. Mayor Allen then directed that
tear pas be used to disperse the 1500 people who were on the scene.
“Tear pas them or tear those houses down,” Allen shouted.

All 400 to 500 officers began firing their pistols and shotguns
without warning, both in the atr and at the crowd. It was a terrify-

CONT. P. 3 ee


cont. from P. 2

ing experience. Unarmed people were assaulted by officers armed
with tear gas, pistols, machine guns and shotguns. Never seen any-
thing like it. Little kids, 7 or 8 years old were hit with tear gas
cancisters. Black women were clubbed to the ground. Anyone wha
was nue . ~ fast enough was immediately arrested and thrown
head first in the p...y wagon. Cops fired tear gas indiscriminately
into the homes of Black people who were not even on the street.
Little kids came out gasping for air. Cops went onto Black people's
porches to beat and arrest them. During this period, several police
cars were stoned, and several pol’ © nea were injured. DBuring,all of
this, the attack was directed by | ... Ivan Allen. He ordered little
kids tear-gassed. He ordered white «7s to beat and arrest black


SNCC’s Role in the Outbreak

Now as to SNCC’s role: 1) SNCC has only one project in Atlanta
and that is in an area called Vine City which is on the other side
of the town from the disorders. 2) SNCC has never worked in the
neighborhood where the disorders took place. 3) Tt was the shooting
of the young Negro by the white cops, then subsequent arrests of
SNCC people that made people angry. 4) The local people them-
selves made the signs and got their friends together, 5) Stokeley
Carmichael drove through the area only after the disorders began.
G) Most of ..0 S°'CC — ople arrived on the scene after the crowd
had gathered and police w.. heating people. 7) The focus should
be on Mayor Allen and his r. rops and not SNCC. At 11 a.m.
that day SNCC members had goi. the Mayor's office with a com-
plaint concerning police officials. ... “s time Mayor Allen refused
to speak with the group and dismis..i ...- by stating, “You're out
of line in Atlanta which is known for its and equal treatment
of all citizens.”


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