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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 >>

Nantambu defines the events of 1971

Nantambu asserts that what occurred in 1971 was not a rebellion on the part of the African American community but rather an insurrection because all they were attempting to do was defend themselves and their property.

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

LARRY THOMAS:
What would you call this? Would you call it a rebellion?
KOJO NANTAMBU:
No, I've just got to consider it an insurrection because it wasn't as though we were really rebelling. We were just defending ourselves. I think insurrection is the best way to depict what happened because there wasn't any way that the black community nor black people really rebelled. Now white folks rebelled.
LARRY THOMAS:
In what sense?
KOJO NANTAMBU:
They rebelled against our right to organize and demonstrate, to protest the things that we wanted.
LARRY THOMAS:
Weren't you in a sense rebelling against the establishment when you first started out?
KOJO NANTAMBU:
In the sense of rebellion, I would say that the rebellion was on a non-violent basis where the protest and the boycott took place. Now as far as the shooting and stuff like that, I would say that was more of an insurrection and rebellion on their part. We were just defending ourselves because we had made no effort to go out and say, "We ain't going to have this" and "We'll kill to get this done" because that's not what we were doing and that's really what a rebellion is all about. And they were rebelling against us, against our rights, to do what was done. We were just defending ourselves. [END OF TAPE 1, SIDE A] [TAPE 1, SIDE B] [START OF TAPE 1, SIDE B]
KOJO NANTAMBU:
That's why I wouldn't say that this was another rebellion. When there be a rebellion, there's going to be a whole lot worse than that there. [Laughter].