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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 >>

Reasons for Hall's testimony against the Wilmington Ten

One of the key witnesses in the case of the Wilmington Ten who later recanted his testimony was Allen Hall, a teenager who exchanged his testimony for a reduced sentence. Nantambu explains how Hall had been involved in the 1971 uprising and how he remembers Golden Frinks playing various factions of both the white and black communities off each other. Nantambu later describes how Hall identified the Ten.

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

So at the same time, just before school closed, let me tell you what happened. This dummy, Allen Hall, went out to the school house--see, I didn't know him then. I might have met him by that time ...
LARRY THOMAS:
He wasn't at the church with y'all?
KOJO NANTAMBU:
He says he was, but--see, I didn't know him then. I didn't meet Allen until afterwards. We went to Raleigh one Saturday to the Justice Department, the Federal Building. The Department of Civil Rights had a hearing on all the activities going on in North Carolina. It was like a public tribunal with people participating and testifying to the conditions in the schools. That's the first time I saw Allen Hall to know him because he went with us. After that, Allen went out to Hanover one day--he had no damned business out there--and got in a fight with a white teacher, hit the teacher in the head with a bottle. So he took off to D. C. His brother named Tom--he's the one I told you about moved to D. C. and took Allen with him. Allen was up there, had a job. Golden was going to get on national television--you know how he did with Joanne Little--got on television down here and . "I told that lady, 'Don't let your son run. Tell him to come on back.' I'll go and get him." And went up there and told him to serve his time.
LARRY THOMAS:
He went and got Allen Hall?
KOJO NANTAMBU:
He went and got Allen Hall and told him to come back. So when they arrested Allen, they put him in jail and they were going to give Allen something like twelve years. He was going to tell the brother to come back, the brother went to jail, then he was going to tell the brother's mother "You ought to make Ben Chavis get him out. He's going around getting everybody else out of jail, you ought to make him get him out." His mamma came to us, man, and said, "I want to know what y'all are going to do about Allen." We say we ain't going to do nothing about Allen because we don't know nothing about Allen. Because, really and truly, Ben wasn't there. Ben didn't come back for a long time after that because the BYBBC was taking care of business then. She came around there to us, and I said, "I'm sorry. Allen went on his on. Allen did what he did. Nobody tell him to do what he did. We didn't tell him. We can't get no law for ourselves; we can't get no law for Allen Hall." So Golden put this shit in Allen's head. Golden started telling Allen stuff like, "Well, I wouldn't take that mess. You ought to make them get you out. You got in this trouble--they getting everybody else out of jail, you ought to make them get you out. He's abandoned you. See what they did to you."
LARRY THOMAS:
He was in jail for what?
KOJO NANTAMBU:
. There wasn't nobody there but him. He was over there trespassing. We didn't send nobody to no schools to do nothing. He was just over there trespassing. He kept "Ben and them don't care nothing about you." But he wasn't working with us. He hadn't never set foot in the BYBBC, our headquarters in there. After things happened, Ben started working directly with us because we were the only vanguard organization in the community. So that's how that got started. Allen tried to hang himself, started sending messages saying, "Tell Ben you got to get me out of here." We told him, "Hey, brother, we didn't put you in there." Golden even had some of our people arrested for something they didn't do, and wouldn't testify to get them out of jail. They took a truckload of children to the South Center and they went through the shopping center turning over racks of clothes, overturning shit--you know, vandalism. SCFC. I said Golden, didn't I?
LARRY THOMAS:
For what?
KOJO NANTAMBU:
Just protesting. [OTHER VOICES INDISTINGUISHABLE IN BACKGROUND GIVING DETAILS] . They went through grocery stores filling up food in baskets and leaving the baskets, or turning them over. This is why we know that Golden was working with the city. They had a conspiracy to do away with the BYBBC.
LARRY THOMAS:
He had to be working with somebody, man. FBI ...
KOJO NANTAMBU:
Of all that happened, the only people that was arrested was two people in our organization who weren't no where around. Because we were getting ready to have--I don't know whether it was a conference or a church meeting or what--but we were in our office all that day scrubbing and waxing. Hell, the next night, grandmamma came up to us and came up to us, and arrested us, and said, "What?" Arrested them. They said they were at the shopping center with Golden and those people. And them people positively identified them, man. And the sister was pregnant. Put on a thousand dollar bond. Just two people, now. The two people arrested wasn't even there and didn't even have nothing to do with it--was in our organization so they could put that in the paper. The thousand dollar bond we had to pay to get them out. We told Golden, "Look, man, y'all going to testify. Tell them people that they weren't down there." The sister they arrested was pregnant, man. And Golden stood right there --I started to beat him in the courtroom, see--this was when me and him split up, not split up, but this was when I just considered him a common revolutionary nigger that needed to be off. Right then what he did--the judge told the girl, "Well, I can see that you get an abortion." two years in prison. I said, "You ain't going to see that she gets nothing." I said, "You ain't going to jail. Come on here, girl."
LARRY THOMAS:
Who said this, man?
KOJO NANTAMBU:
Judge Burnett. I told you he's a racist dog, man. So the brother, he was one of my best organizers. They told him he'd have to leave town. They fixed it up to send him out of town to school ...
LARRY THOMAS:
A restraining action?
KOJO NANTAMBU:
Golden wouldn't testify. I grabbed and knocked his ass on one of them tables in the courtroom and they didn't even say nothing, because you know the judge wanted to see us fight anyhow. But I told him, "Man, I ought to kill you." My cousin was right along with him. George Kirby was the one driving the truck and he knows that they weren't on that truck, and he could have testified to who was there. Even if they couldn't have testified personally, they could have testified that they wasn't there.
LARRY THOMAS:
You're opening my head, brother.
KOJO NANTAMBU:
That was one of the main things that made us realize that there was a conspiracy. Then the federal court took out an injunction against us and said that nobody--just Algernon Butler issued the injunction--nowhere in New Hanover County could go anywhere near the schools during school hours or commit a statement concerning the schools. [Laughter]. Do you dig that--could make a statement concerning the school situation. Anybody known or unknown--that's how the injunction read--will be arrested in violation of this injunction and so forth. We found out the day we were in court that Golden had been threatening the crackers about letting loose some chickens at the Festival . The day we were in court one of our spies found out that Golden received ten or thirty thousand dollars from some white folks, not to let loose the chickens--which he wasn't going to do nohow. We found out that the man was on the take and stuff like that. All that injunction did--and that's why he did all that--was to handcuff us from doing stuff.
LARRY THOMAS:
Was he jealous of y'all basically, do you think?
KOJO NANTAMBU:
He was sent here to create that dissension and diversion. The first week of school the ROWP was on the elementary school campus frightening young brothers and sisters, telling them, "Don't come back to school Monday." And do you know did they get arrested? They showed pictures of police right there watching them. They didn't arrest no damn body. But yet they were telling us if you go near the schools, they're going to arrest us. But anyway Golden was responsible for getting Ben and them arrested. And then Allen being so stupid, man, he's going to go ahead on and let them people blow his brains out. He let Golden brainwash him first, making him feel that Ben was responsible ...
LARRY THOMAS:
How pick specifically those Ten?
KOJO NANTAMBU:
They showed their pictures. It was sixteen. That brother that was in here, he was one of them. They charged him and Ben with conspiracy to commit murder and murder of Harvey Cumber. Tom Atwood--we call him now. They dropped the charges on him. All they wanted was Ben. After they got the Ten, they just dropped the charges ...
LARRY THOMAS:
Why do you think they wanted Ben so bad?
KOJO NANTAMBU:
To cease his activities in North Carolina and around the country. You know how that is--shut up all the activists and the militants and put them in jail and that'll discourage all the other people from getting involved. And it has in Wilmington. Ain't nobody want to do nothing--they're scared of going to jail. But I don't give a damn. After Golden and them did that, he put all that stuff in Allen's head. It made Allen hate Ben, and Ben hadn't done nothing to Allen Hall.