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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Kojo Nantambu, May 15, 1978. Interview B-0059. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

The way the students organized and prepared

Nantambu relates how as the students guarded the streets, they uncovered various police detachments trying to infiltrate the African American neighborhood. He also claims that the students did not have an arsenal but rather possessed only a few firearms. Further, he remembers that Ben Chavis spent most of the night on Friday, February 5, in the Templeton's house.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Kojo Nantambu, May 15, 1978. Interview B-0059. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

KOJO NANTAMBU:
... that Friday night ... people slept outdoors that night to keep an eye on the church. One of the most important things that need to be brought up--the cops were trying to sneak up on the church. We're up there protecting the church. Instead of calling us and telling us, "Well, look, we know you're having problems. We want to come check out things and assist you or whatever," they come trying to sneak up on us, trying to shoot at us from behind the church. We like to blow their brains out.
LARRY THOMAS:
The police were trying to off you?
KOJO NANTAMBU:
Yeah, seriously. We had the whole block divided, but contrary to popular belief that we had a whole lot of guns--I know we didn't have over fifteen pieces. But we just spread the brothers out ...
LARRY THOMAS:
Were they students?
KOJO NANTAMBU:
Everybody was a student or younger. The average age of the students there was eighteen or below. Most of them were like seventeen and below because of the time of the year.
LARRY THOMAS:
Was Ben in there?
KOJO NANTAMBU:
Where? Ben stayed in the house. Ben didn't do no fighting, man. Ben came down and organized. He was in the house. You know, the main thing he did was encourage us to be careful, to protect ourselves, but he didn't try to initiate anybody into doing anything, or nothing like that. Now the main thing he was concerned with was that nobody get hurt, to be careful about what we did. He stayed in the house to protect the Templetons. He'd walk in the church every now and then to see that everybody was all right, but as far as being outside on the street or in the yard doing anything, he wasn't out there.