Parable of the Man
I thank my patron, Abdul Leroy James, for making it possible for me to write the books. I appreciate the wonderful care doctors gave me at the hospital in Paradise, especially Dr. Linda Valles, who urged me to take care of my health because she realized I had great work to do. I shared my writings with her and she shared them with the other doctors who treated me.
I got up the next morning on the south side to find it under occupation by the National Guard. A few days later, in reprisal to the murder of King, on April 8, 1968, my friends in California in the Black Panther Party staged a shootout with the Oakland police. Eldridge Cleaver was wounded and 17 year old Lil’ Bobby Hutton was murdered by the pigs after his surrender.
In mockery of the sign Welcome to the Biggest Little City in the World, I’d written The Biggest Little Mississippi in the World. Was I ungrateful? But my friends in Oakland urged me to give up the “good life” and return to the battlefield, especially after my best friend’s 15 year old brother was killed by the police, Melvin Black, shot twelve times.
Oakland’s first black mayor Lionel Wilson and Congressman Ron Dellums refused to come. Farrakhan blasted them in his keynote address. But after this event, the police killing of black men ceased. But our relief was short lived because what followed has continued since 1979: black on black homicide. At first it was turf wars over Crack, drive-by killings with Uzi’s.
But I am not returning as the self-appointed savior. I am older and wiser now. I see the matter as an economic problem, but equally a spiritual disease or mental health issue, for only sick souls desire to murder each other, and once it starts, after a short time it becomes an addiction, a pandemic—yes, worldwide.
Do it in the name of our brother, the Prince of Peace, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Just remember, he wasn’t a glorified social worker—he was a revolutionary! He didn’t try to maintain the status quo, he caused a radical change in the status quo. We have the same task, youth and elders, for we stand on the shoulders of MLK and all the ancestors who resisted through the centuries.