Date: Fri, 5 Dec 1997 18:11:15 -0500
Sender: The African Global Experience <AGE-L@UGA.CC.UGA.EDU>
From: Marpessa Kupendua <nattyreb@IX.NETCOM.COM>
Subject: !*BLACK COMMUNITY UNDER ATTACK IN SEATTLE USA
Black community under attack in liberal Seattle
Michael P., 5 December 1997
Although Seattle has been championed and self congratulatory on its
‘tolerance’ of ethnic minorities, it looks as if the left is
asleep at the wheel, while the City of Seattle wages attacks in the Black
Community. In recent months, activism in the Black Community has grown
tremendously. This activity has been met with intimidation by sellouts,
with the help of the Seattle Police Department, and has also been ignored
by our so-called socially responsible city officials.
The battle lines have been drawn at the African American Heritage
Museum—the museum started as a community run occupation (the longest
in US history) 12 years ago at the old Coleman school. The policies and
programs of the museum is supposed to be run democratically by a board.
However, there are two opposing interests represented on the board—on
one side, community activists including the Youth Action Committee, CopWatch
members and others; on the other, ‘salaried professionals’,
politicians, and others referred to by members of the Community as
The sellouts on the board have been working hand in glove with City
officials and the police department to purge out the progressive elements
of the museum. In other words, anyone who wants the Museum to be a living
institution controlled by the Black Community will have to go.
In addition, open letters have been sent to the Museum committee twice by
the Youth Action Committee (YAC), charging abuses of procedure, refusal to
allow progressive members of the board to contribute to the project,
refusal to produce receipts for money spent on ‘consulting’,
unfair hiring practices, and a myriad of other offenses.
Rather than responding, the chair and program director of the Museums
Board have stepped aside, to allow the city to take hand—twice the
Seattle Police Department has threatened Community activists with forced
eviction, which later have turned out to be bluffs—this
In addition, the Sellout elements on the Board are also trying to take
over the Umoja Festival, a community organized Black festival which last
August attracted over 10,000 through grassroots organizing. It out shined
the so-called ‘Central District Festival’, where only a few
hundred turned out, and was organized by SPD officers Rodney Stokes and
Vic Minor among others with Weed and Seed funds. Naturally, the police
presence was high, along with military vehicles for show, should anything
‘go wrong’. With the Black Community outshining the powers
that be, the real festival has to be co-opted or destroyed, from the point
of view of the Sellouts.
YAC activists and participants are also being harassed by the SPD, in the
neo-COINTELPRO style gestapo tactics used on the Panthers in the l970's.
At a YAC workshop at the Garfield Community Center on November 26, SPD
officer McFadden barged in the the adjoining gym, interrogating youth,
threatening jail to those protesting, and called for backup. When Dr.
Fish, one of the workshop facilitators asked what the problem was, the
police swarming the joined offered obscenities, threats of arrest, and
proceeded to handcuff two boys-ages 12 and 14—and take them away
A meeting then took place last Tuesday between Black Community activists,
and several Police officers, including Norm Stamper. In regards to the
Umoja festival, the police insisted that they should want control of the
festival, with Stamper reportedly saying that having two ‘divided the
black community’. The SPD also want 3 removed from the board—the
progressives, of course. Reverend Jefferies insisted that the old guard
have ‘financial oversight’ over the festival.
Greg Jackson of CopWatch and Black Autonomy approached Stamper with an
account of the raid at the YAC workshop, demanding that action would be
taken on the matter, and promising that the Black Community would follow
up. After the meeting, two activists were followed home by marked cars.
One is tempted to ask, when will activists start getting shot at?
In response the Community is fighting back. A demonstration took place last
Monday in front of the Washington Mutual Tower, where the office of Bob
Flowers, chair of the Museum's board is located. Another demonstration
is planned for Thursday, December 11th, at 6:00pm, at the Community Policing
Forum, 400 23rd Ave S. The Community continues to mobilize support, and
groups in the Seattle area have been working to inform the rest of the
For more info, contact Black Autonomy,680-89l6, or the Puget Sound IWW,
PLEASE CALL WRITE FAX IN PROTEST;
Chair of the Museum Committee Bob Flowers
1201 3rd Ave, 10th floor
Seattle, WA 98l0l
Pat Chandler. Program Director, Museum
10239 65 Ave S
Renton, WA 98178