Julian Bond August, 1972
Writing of another political trial, his own, in 1951, Dr. W. E. B. DuBois said:
"What turns me cold in all this experience is the certainly that thousands of innocent victims are in jail today because they had neither money, experience nor friends to help them. The eyes of the world were on our trial despite the desperate effort of the press and radio to suppress the facts and cloud the real issues; the courage and money of friends and of strangers who dared stand for a principle free me; but God only knows how many who were as innocent as I and my colleagues are today in hell. They daily stagger out of prison doors embittered, vengeful, hopeless, ruined. And of this army of the wronged, the proportion of Negroes is frightful. We protect and defend sensational cases where Negroes are involved. But the great mass of arrested or accused black folk
do have have no defense. There is desperate need . . . to N oppose this national racket of railroading to jails and chain gangs the poor, friendless and black".*
Dr. DuBois' 1951 observations are twice as true twenty years later, the practice of charging and imprisoning the helpless and
*The Autobiography of W. E. B. DuBois, International Publishers.
dispossed has continued. The "army of the wronged" has increased its ranks to include Angela Davis, Ruchell Magee, Emily Butler the Soledad Brothers, and now the RNA 11.
The early sixties brought forth vocal protest about the right of people to eat, sleep, ride, read, write and live up to the equality set aside in a Bill of Rights and a Declaration of Independence. Shattering indeed was it for the majority of white Americans to see a movement lead by black men and women determined to change a way of life that deprived brother and sisters of color the right to equality.
Today, young Black Americans are fighting, dying and killing in Asian jungles in a war whose purposes are so ambiguous the whole nation seethes W with dissent. From 1960
when Goodman published his book until today and the war against the people of Indochina we have had thousands of political prisoners. It was In the early sixties it was the nonviolent protests against discrimination. In the middle sixties it was black brothers and sisters who proclaimed their pride and blackness. And it was by the end of the sixties and with the beginning of the seventies the brothers and sisters who were being held captive by a system that they sought to change. Repression of thought became the way of life.
Therefore a national conspiracy began to build to supress and repress those who wanted to alter the fundamental character of the American relationship between the haves and have-nots, between rich and poor, between black and white.
The RNA 11 are victims of that conspiracy. 11 people representing a departure from the traditional American black pattern of protest and politics, they have found themselves caught in the chrushing maw of the state's judicial machinery [-/ 4]
They are, in fact, conspirators, but not the kind of conspirators the state of Mississippi would like to have you believe they are.
Theres Theirs is a conspiracy to feed the hungry, a conspiracy to free American black people from 20th Century urban slavery, and conspiracy that states that man's consintued inhumanity to man will bring down the entire human race.
Theirs is a conspiracy against silence, a conspiracy against the empty rhetoric that has boosted Black hopes but not filled Black stomachs over the past decade, a consipracy against the national tide which in an earlier American era, stifled white and Black radicalism alike.