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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 >>

Steve Mitchell's funeral

Nantambu describes Stevenson Mitchell's funeral, including the difficulties they had finding a location to hold it, the speakers who led it, and the peaceful march following it.

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

I'm talking about Steve.
KOJO NANTAMBU:
Oh, that funeral was big. He stayed with his grandmother and grandfather. It was beautiful, man. We couldn't find a church to have the funeral in. Nobody wanted to hold it, even Gregory, the church we were standing up for. They wouldn't let them have it there.
LARRY THOMAS:
KOJO NANTAMBU:
said he wasn't a member. They couldn't hold it there. So we finally got Reverend Williams who was pastor of Holy Trinity Church on Fourth and Campbell. He was the one to open the doors and let them have the funeral there.
LARRY THOMAS:
Was he a young man?
KOJO NANTAMBU:
No, he was in his forties then.
LARRY THOMAS:
Wonder why he made that move?
KOJO NANTAMBU:
I guess he felt it was all right. She was reprimanded after that by her congregation, though. Anyway John's Funeral Home--we couldn't raise enough money--they donated the casket and carried out the funeral services without charging. All the brothers and sisters wore African garb. Reverend Leon White officiated at the eulogy and everything. It was heavy. It was beautiful.
LARRY THOMAS:
You had the liberation flag over the casket?
KOJO NANTAMBU:
Definitely. The liberation flag was draped over the casket and then the liberation flag was marching behind him. They walked behind the casket from Gregory Church to across town.
LARRY THOMAS:
police?
KOJO NANTAMBU:
Yeah, the police were watching.
LARRY THOMAS:
Was it a peaceful march?
KOJO NANTAMBU:
Yeah, it was peaceful. There were no incidents. wasn't going to do nothing. We wouldn't let the reporters in. It was bad. The sermon--this brother named Bill Evans got a tape of the sermon. I don't know if he still got it, but he taped it. At the end of the services they played by James Brown. You know, par for the times. It was beautiful, man, and it served a purpose.