No Easy Victories: African Liberation and American Activists over a Half Century, 1950-2000

Edited by William Minter,
Gail Hovey, and Charles Cobb Jr.
Published by Africa World Press.
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More Interviews

1. Bill Sutherland
2. George Houser
3. E. S. Reddy
4. Charlene Mitchell
5. Mary Jane Patterson
6. Ben Magubane
7. Robert Van Lierop
8. Prexy Nesbitt
9. Jennifer Davis
10. Geri Augusto
11. Sylvia Hill, 2003
12. Edgar Lockwood
13. Cherri Waters
14. Dumisani Kumalo
15. Frank Beeman
16. Sylvia Hill, 2004

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No Easy Victories Interview: Geri Augusto

Kathy Flewellen, Geri Augusto, Walter Bgoya

Photo. From left: Kathy Flewellen, Geri Augusto, and Walter Bgoya, in Dar es Salaam, 1974. Flewellen and Augusto were among the organizers of the Sixth Pan-African Congress. Bgoya was then director of the Tanzania Publishing House Photo courtesy of Loretta Hobbs.

The following text is the transcript of one of the interviews that was part of the reseearch for the book No Easy Victories. With the assistance of Aluka (aluka.org), sixteen of the interviews were transcribed and prepared for presentation on the web. Each transcript was reviewed by the interviewee, and a short introduction prepared by one of the No Easy Victories editors.

Geri Augusto

" So they're intersecting sets of actors and networks in a very complex [pattern]. I'm [using the framework of] complexity theory on it now, 30 years later. But it just describes it so much better than trying to draw straight lines and arrows, because these things are not straight lines and arrows. We came together where there was mutual interest. The first African Liberation Day was one where everybody had mutual interests." - Geri Augusto


Geri Augusto grew up in the late 1950s and early 1960s in Dayton, Ohio, where her parents Charles and Florence Tate were active leaders of the local branch of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE). For her, civil rights activism and awareness of struggles for liberation on the African continent were linked from the beginning. Guests at dinner table conversations included not only her parents' activist friends, but also African students from local colleges and civil rights activists from Mississippi come north to raise funds and take a break from the frontlines in the South.

As a student at Howard University in Washington, DC from 1966 to 1970, Augusto was drawn into student activism, eventually finding a political home at the Center for Black Education and the Drum and Spear Bookstore. These two parallel organizations were founded by veterans of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) at the time of the uprisings in urban black communities and were inspired by the rising Black Power consciousness of those years. They lasted only a few years. But they played key roles in the emerging networks for black popular education and black studies, particularly in opening up contacts with the international black left and with the liberation movements then fighting against Portuguese colonialism and the white minority regimes in Southern Africa.

As Augusto notes in the interview, these connections did not form " straight lines and arrows." Different forces converged at particular moments, coming together around events such as the large African Liberation Day demonstrations in 1972 and 1973 and the Sixth Pan African Congress (Six-PAC) in 1974 in Dar es Salaam. But there was no one central organization or leader that even those most involved, much less later historians, could identify as encompassing the rising consciousness of common struggle that characterized those years for thousands, if not tens of thousands, of black activists.

For many in the late 1960s and early 1970s, African leaders such as Julius Nyerere of Tanzania, Amilcar Cabral of Guinea-Bissau, and Samora Machel of Mozambique came to symbolize the hopes of struggle, as had the slain African American heroes Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr. But a focus on leaders, even if expanded to include a wider list of less widely known figures, would be a misleading oversimplification. The networks and nodes by which connections were made, sustained, or fell apart were more complex and diffuse, making their continuity from one period to another particularly difficult to trace.

Thus Augusto is careful to note that her observations apply to what she saw from her vantage point in these years. From 1970 on, Drum and Spear Bookstore established particularly close connections with Tanzania. Augusto was one of those from Drum and Spear who visited Dar es Salaam that year to set up ongoing connections with the Tanzania Publishing House, party leaders, and exiled liberation movements based there. After returning to Washington she served as a correspondent for the Tanzanian Daily News , then edited by Benjamin Mkapa, who later became the president of Tanzania. In 1972 she worked with the Center for Black Education to publish a small book on African liberation struggles[1] as part of the public education that accompanied the African Liberation Day marches. In 1973 she again returned to Tanzania as part of the secretariat for the Sixth Pan African Congress (known as Six- PAC). This event was held in Dar es Salaam in June 1974, continuing the series begun decades earlier by W. E. B. Du Bois and other Pan Africanists (the Fifth Pan African Congress was held in Manchester, England in 1945).

After Six-PAC, Augusto was asked to edit the proceedings for Tanzania Publishing House.[2] She stayed on in Dar es Salaam, working as an editor at Tanzania Publishing House, and later moving to Angola in 1979. She worked as a translator and editor for the Angolan government and for the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC), and did not return to the United States until 1991. From 1994 to 2002 she was a lecturer at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and served as a consultant on higher education and technology in post-apartheid South Africa. She did her doctoral degree in organizational development and adult learning at George Washington University, with a dissertation on the relationship between bioscientists and traditional healers. She is now an independent scholar and consultant based in Providence, Rhode Island. 

The topics Augusto raises in this interview-including the African Liberation Support Committee, the Sixth Pan African Congress, the role of Caribbean revolutionary intellectuals such as C. L. R. James and Walter Rodney,[3] and the divisions that split black nationalists over Angola in the mid-1970s-appear only briefly, if at all, in accounts of the period focused on U.S. black politics or on particularly prominent leaders.[4]

That is perhaps understandable, because the threads of connections and disconnections that make up this period are intrinsically difficult to trace. The convergence of forces that led to the large African Liberation Day demonstrations in the early 1970s left no central archive. Its history is intertwined with distinct local histories around the country. The disagreements that fractured progressive forces, including the black left, are still sensitive issues for those involved. So it is not surprising that there is still no in-depth study of the rise and fall of the African Liberation Support Committee, for example.

Yet understanding the upsurge of anti-apartheid activities around the country in the late 1970s and 1980s is impossible without taking into account these precedents. Despite the lack of organizational continuity, a strong consensus grew among black opinion makers and in black communities in favor of support for African liberation. This paralleled the expansion of black studies in universities and the black movement into electoral politics at the local, state, and national levels, creating the context for the later convergence around sanctions against the apartheid state. Exploring how that happened  requires paying attention not only to organizations and leaders, but also, as Augusto stresses, to " networks and nodes" that sometimes converge and sometimes do not.

Other interviews in this collection that touch on these topics include the interviews with Sylvia Hill and Robert Van Lierop.

William Minter
February 2005


Interviewee: Geri Augusto
Interviewer: Charles Cobb Jr.
Location: Providence, Rhode Island, USA
Date: January 26, 2005

Q: What are the influences that got you involved with the African issues, and how did you see the African issues?

AUGUSTO: I think the first involvement, of course, as Appiah wrote, [was] in my father's house.

Q: Tony Appiah?

AUGUSTO: Yeah, Anthony Appiah, his book, In My Father's House.[5] But I often think about it, in my mother and father's house, and their involvement in the civil rights movement. Two things, their involvement in the civil rights movement locally.

Q: What year are we talking about first?

AUGUSTO: We're talking about early '60s. I remember when my father ran for school board in Dayton, Ohio, and they thought that was so outrageous that a black man would want to run for school board, and that he was advocating that the black schools on the black side of town in Dayton, Ohio should have a black principal, that that might not be a bad idea. I started high school in '62, so it would have been '62. So the period when I would have been conscious of all this would have been '61 to '66, from before high school and through high school, when they were in Dayton CORE, Dayton's branch, or whatever, of CORE.[6]

My mother and father also started an organization called the Dayton Alliance for Racial Equality, DARE, with its various branches of Umoja, which was the women's group, and a lot of cultural things. They brought the early jazz artists, Pharaoh Sanders, and so forth and so on, Larry Neal and poets and stuff to Dayton, which was really-I don't want to call it a backwater, but let's just say it was the Midwest. But it was also a heavy Klan country, odd as it may seem. The Klan was very active in Indiana and Ohio when I was in elementary school and still when I was in high school. They would hold big rallies-not rallies, meetings, like conferences, but it would be right outside Dayton or between Dayton and some other city.

And it was my mother and father's involvement in the civil rights movement and their interest in Africa, bringing African students who would be left in schools, in the local colleges over the Thanksgiving holiday or the whatever, so we'd have a series of those at Thanksgiving. They'd just go up to the school and say, who do you have here? So Kenyans and Gambians and whoever would come, and I would talk to them. I was adolescent and they were young people, but they would talk to me.

Q: Would this have been unusual for your parents to-

AUGUSTO: To do this?

Q: -to invite these African students over, or would this be something typical in a black community like Dayton, which is, in fact, surrounded by one historically black college and a couple of white colleges?

AUGUSTO: I have to differentiate with what's typical of my mother and father and their friends at the time and what might have been typical of the larger black community. What was typical then, and may still be typical now, is that most African students who come would be more closely associated with white families and the white administrators of the schools, because those are the first people who receive them and welcome them, and they don't always necessarily get to know black families and black communities unless they make an effort. It has to be a mutual effort on both sides for that to happen, but it's not as automatic as you would think. Okay, black students, traditionally black school, black families, these are all going to happen together. No. And my parents had to make an effort for that, and they did. It may have been common to their circle of friends, but their circle of friends were people in the civil rights movement, so I don't know. So that was the early interest, and then also just-

Q: Within that context, if I could interrupt you again, were you aware of organizations like-you're talking '62-maybe liberation movements in Southern Africa-

AUGUSTO: I wasn't-

Q: -events like Sharpeville or the Unilateral Declaration of Independence (UDI) in what was then Rhodesia[7]-

AUGUSTO: Yeah, yes, we would have been aware of UDI. I'm talking from the early period. By the time I was in high school, yes. By the time I was to tenth or eleventh grade, yes, we would have known of UDI, or I would have known of UDI. Everybody, of course, was an ANC [African National Congress] supporter, you know, anti-apartheid before it was in vogue and before that term was used, but people knew apartheid-

Q: How did you know?

AUGUSTO: Charlie, I don't know. I listened to what people would be talking about at the table and at the meetings. And the DARE and the CORE and the SNCC people had-by the time I was in high school, SNCC people, yourself and many others, would come through, either on rest-I don't call it rest and recreation, but just resting up between assignments. Or because my mother and father-it was a slightly older generation that did a lot of fundraising in the communities across the Midwest and the North and the Northeast, and so SNCC people would be coming through, and I was 13, 14 years old. I listened to the conversations. I really can't know.[8]

I think my first clear, clear, clear understanding about liberation movements, where I would know their names and everything, other than ANC-everybody always knew ANC and probably always spoke about the Freedom Charter and Sharpeville. Other than those outstanding things that would be national news anyway-

Q: Because back then-Sharpeville is 1960.

AUGUSTO: I remember Sharpeville. I remember the name. I remember seeing pictures. I know the ANC and have always known it. I did not know anything about Frelimo, MPLA, SWAPO, ZAPU, or ZANU until I was towards the end of high school and getting ready to go to Howard.[9]

Q: And what year would that have been?

AUGUSTO: I graduated in '66, so I was at Howard from '66 to '70. By the time I got to Howard, then the names of these movements would be something that I would have known. I spent my first year partying, so it's from the second year at Howard that I took up with a small group of radical students on campus. And we actually weren't on campus. We decided we'd do everything off campus.

Q: A radical group that was interested in Africa, or-

AUGUSTO: Interested in Africa and-well, interested primarily in Black Power and therefore Africa as a continuum of the Black Power phenomena . We lived and walked around in the riot corridor of DC.

Q: 14th Street-

AUGUSTO: 14th Street and U [Street], exactly. And so we were looking for things that were a continuation of that, some work in the community that was rooted in the community and it was rooted in Black Power and self-defense and what you did for black kids. The kinds of things that local Black Power manifestations were interested in. We went looking for that.

Q: Did you all have a name?

AUGUSTO: No. We didn't have a name. We participated, all of us, in the Toward a Black University. Well, we participated in, of course, the demonstration in the Administration Building at Howard, which preceded [protests at] Columbia and Cornell, even though the histories of the black studies movement often cite only the events at Cornell and Columbia. But ours was not only the year before [1967], but the kids from Columbia and Cornell came down to DC to talk with us to know how we did it and to work through strategy. But that's an aside of how history gets-so ours was fully a year before. So in that demonstration or that sit-in-or a lie-in-we slept in the A Building, the Administration Building, for five days, which of course accelerated our radicalization, because the police came on campus with tear gas. But at that same time or shortly after-I have to check my dates-Acklyn Lynch-

Q: And this is Howard University?

AUGUSTO: At Howard. Acklyn pulled together a set of kids to put on a-do the research for and put on a conference. It was called " Toward a Black University." At which time I then met C. L. R. James. And by that time-I can't remember exactly how I got there, if somebody took me, if Acklyn told me-he may have told me-to the Center for Black Education.

Q: What was the purpose of the Toward a Black University conference, and where was it held?

AUGUSTO: It was at Howard. And the purpose was, if we were going to have a university that was truly black and not Negro, what kinds of courses would it have? What kind of curriculum would it have? What would be its relationship to the surrounding community? When you came out of it, what kind of human being, what kind of black person would you be? In other words, now I would call it an epistemology of education for black kids. Many of us had taken things-at Howard, I took Kiswahili. I took a year of Kiswahili. I took anthropology courses. I took sociology courses. I took an African politics course. And all of them, except the Swahili course, made me mad. I knew that something was wrong. The professors were white. The readings were classic Oliver and Fage kind of stuff.[10] Also, the Carter G. Woodson thing was still open down the road, Association of-

Q: The Association for the Study of Negro Life-

AUGUSTO: Negro Life and History. It's still there. Tottering.

Q: Now it's Study of Afro-American Life.

AUGUSTO: Tottering, but it was a little library that you could go down to, and I read all of Carter G. Woodson's stuff. My parents had by then moved to Washington and were still involved with, and still had access to the same set of civil rights people. With the dispersal of SNCC and the dispersal of the Black Panthers, I think that Washington, DC, at the time benefited from those two sets of people who also crossed paths at FCC, Federal City College, at some of these activities that Acklyn was doing out of Howard, certainly at the Center for Black Education and Drum and Spear Bookstore.

Q: But you had said, to back up a little bit-so Acklyn brings you to C. L. R. at this conference-

AUGUSTO: I think C. L. R. probably either came to the conference or we had to get some information from him or in some way work with him. I'm pretty sure that it was Acklyn who introduced me to C. L. R. And I think it was-could have been-I think it was Acklyn who introduced me to C. L. R. I think it was the fact that [Ralph] Featherstone and you and Courtland [Cox] were involved with Drum and Spear that got me to Drum and Spear. And as you know, Drum and Spear and the Center for Black Education were sister organizations. So all of those forces got me to the Center for Black Education by the time I was in the third year of school at Howard, at which time I didn't have to do what you all did-drop out. I just disappeared. I became invisible. I had racked up enough credits. I would show up at the beginning to register for exams, study on my own, and my life became literally, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, Center for Black Education and Drum and Spear Bookstore.

Q: Why did Acklyn bring you to C. L. R.? I'll get back to the Center in a minute. But did he bring you there for a particular-

AUGUSTO: Acklyn was a Trinidadian. C. L. R. was a Trinidadian. Acklyn was always concerned that we had an intellectual rigor and an intellectual dimension, a historical understanding, etc.

Q: Was he teaching at Howard then? .

AUGUSTO: He was teaching at Howard. I didn't take one of his classes. I didn't, because I was studying economics. But for that small group of us-it was Harley Little, Eric Stark,  myself, we weren't many, and then some other kids who were part of his class. And we'd go to his house, his apartment at the time, and hear poetry and read poetry and write and that kind of thing. And then some of us were ready to just kick it out of the campus and do something.

Q: This is interesting. I'm trying to get a sense of the kind of network you're describing, which is parallel to the kind of network we had with an older generation of professors-Sterling Brown and a bunch of-

AUGUSTO: Sterling Brown was still there, and we went to hear him read a couple of times, but he was old by then. Acklyn was a much younger person, and Acklyn was-Acklyn's interesting, because he was a West Indian who never set himself apart. A lot of the West Indians that I studied with wanted to be very clear that they were not African Americans. It was only when I read Franz Fanon, and he explains in that chapter-maybe it's his Black Skins.

Q: Black Skin, White Masks.[11]


AUGUSTO: It may be there. It may be in something else. But he explains how the West Indian is trained to think of himself as you are not a Negro, meaning an American, and you're not an African. Neither one of those things. You're something special and different, and above all, you don't want to be taken as-then I understood it. But that's in retrospect. It was some years after. And I just couldn't understand. Even the African students would stand with us on some issues, and the West Indian students would duck and hide. Acklyn wasn't like that, and the West Indian students who were around him were not like that. And he stands with ease between African Americans, people from the Caribbean, and Africans. And he wanted us to, and he inducted us in a particular way into that relationship.

I had, of course, a relationship with Africans because of how I had grown up. And we talked about Dayton and my parents and their reaching out to African students, and the house is decorated in African style, and books about Africa are available as we grow up. But not the Caribbean. So it was Acklyn who stood at that nexus. And I really can't remember who, but I'm pretty sure it would have been Acklyn who introduced me. And then C. L. R. was also teaching a course that featured Black Reconstruction.[12] He was actually teaching a course at FCC, but he sometimes came and did lectures at Howard as well. And I studied-

Q: Federal City College.

AUGUSTO: Yes. And I did that course. It would be like audit-

Q: He did a course on Black Reconstruction?

AUGUSTO: Black Reconstruction. The whole year, the semester, was Black Reconstruction. They would call it today a close reading of Black Reconstruction . [laughter]. But he did a close reading with us of Black Reconstruction, and although I wasn't enrolled in the class-I think it was based at FCC-he would do the lectures in both places. And he took to me. C. L. R. James liked me, and then afterwards we established a friendship. But all these things are parallel. The friendship with C. L. R., the work at the Center for Black Education, and working with Drum and Spear Bookstore, all parallel. It became a complete life centered around [these organizations at] 1450 Fairmont.

I went back for graduation, and those people didn't even know who I was. What, you're graduating? Who are you? Because I was away so much. It just then became my life. And at the Center, as you know, you've got old SNCC people, a few people who had been out in San Francisco at the events around San Francisco State, some of which ties in again with the Panthers and Maulana Ron Karenga,[13]   those influences. And then those people came also to DC at the time that Marion Barry[14]  and various SNCC associations, so even official Washington was our Washington in a sense in that period.

When people ask, but what became of the SNCC people? I know what became of some of them, because of that. Now that I know complexity theory and the kind of networks and nodes and density and connections, I think complexity theory is probably a good frame for looking at how black activists got created and how they got hooked into other nodes and sets of institutions and activities across the country.

Q: Give me a summary of that complexity theory.

AUGUSTO: A quick summary of complexity theory is many agents interacting in a field or a system or a space. Each one has its own logic, its own culture, its own interests, but for whatever reason, it has, from time to time, to interact with any number of others. Maybe you just interact with one other. There will be somebody who interacts, or some institution who interacts with a whole set of [others]. So it's really about flows and interaction among nodes or actors or entities who are essentially independent and autonomous for that what they do. And then they come to share certain kinds of things, like you might share a set of ideas or you might share a set of beliefs or you might share-from time to time, contingently come together to work on a purpose, like all of us would come together for that first African Liberation Day.

So you can't say there was an organization or institution, but we were a network of people who-by then, the Center would have its own thing, and it's connected to a network of independent black schools like the ones that, as we would pronounce it, the New Ark independent school. The school in Chicago associated with Don Lee, subsequently Haki Makhubuti, even loosely with Marlana Ron Karenga's things. I think there was something in Louisiana. There were some in North Carolina. There were these loosely coupled networks of the independent black schools. Almost all those schools also had a publishing house, independent black publishing house, being connected back to another network with the poets [the Black Arts Movement] and so forth.

So they're intersecting sets of actors and networks in a very complex-I'm putting the complexity theory on it now, 30 years later. But it just describes it so much better than trying to draw straight lines and arrows, because these things are not straight lines and arrows. We came together where there was mutual interest. The first African Liberation Day was one where everybody had mutual interests.

Q: Talk about that.

AUGUSTO: Again, because-it's a complexity thing. There are different layers, different levels of interaction. But the Center for Black Education was given the task, or the task was worked out for it, that we would provide educational materials, that everybody around the country-the different ad hoc groups, some of which were still old civil rights groups and whoever and whatever wanted to support them-could use this material. So we took a year to do research and produce a book, but we also produced lots of little articles that could be sent hither, thither, and yon.

Q: That's that little gold and orange book, correct?

AUGUSTO: Recently, Tony unearthed-that's Tony Bogues, [15] my husband-unearthed a copy of it for me.

Q: I have a copy.

AUGUSTO: But it was-and I now have one. And as I told you the other day, I've got my copy of Resolutions and Selected Speeches from the Sixth Pan African Congress from a friend in Jamaica who is a biographer, a scholar of Walter Rodney. And he had acquired it in his research work in Dar es Salaam 10, 15 years ago. Anyway, so we produced that book and posters and that kind of thing, but educational materials. I spent months doing research in DC. I insinuated myself into the South African Embassy at the time by braiding my hair into two little ponytails. I always looked younger than I was, so I fixed myself up to look about 16 and went and told them that I just didn't understand why people were talking so badly about South Africa, surely it must be a more complex story, and could they provide me with materials? And they took me in. I was in the South African Embassy in 19-what would it have been? '70, '69, whatever it was.

Q: '69 or '70, yeah.

AUGUSTO: In there with them, and I came back subsequently for many weeks visiting, and they gave me statistics. The most useful thing is they had a national yearly statistics book, which they were then loaning to me. I could take this out of the embassy. And we wrote, on the basis of that and lots of other library research and such, this little golden book. My mother was part of the National Communications-she was a journalist and still was a journalist at this time-the National Communications Strategy. And that would be a different set of people. And then she could use the offices of Marion Barry, semi- officially, for that purpose.

And there were trade unions and black people who were in the AFL-CIO, and it was really concentric circles and nodes and networks of people who were against apartheid before-and it wasn't called anti-apartheid support at the time. It was actually called support to the liberation movement, without that strict emphasis on South Africa. So that's where, because I had to do that research for the book-and now, we were a committee. I probably wrote about half of it and then other people did-that's where I really learned ZAPU, ZANU, SWAPO, SWANU, PAC, ANC.

And it's so funny now when I look back, knowing my subsequent involvement with, first, Frelimo, and then MPLA, those were the ones that I knew the least about, and the chapters are very short [laughter].[16]  The chapters are short. The ANC chapter, of which I had no direct work with them ever until 1994, post-apartheid, is the longest chapter, because I had access to the South African Embassy. And they were feeding me these books. And of course, so many other written things were always available. We knew next to nothing about Angola, a little bit more about Mozambique, and of course we knew about Guinea-Bissau because of Cabral. So the chapters that are fortified are Guinea-Bissau and South Africa.

As for me, it's ironic, because [later] I lived for 10 years in Angola working with MPLA, but I knew nothing [when I wrote the book] . And when you read the chapter, it's very hesitantly trying to decide, okay, MPLA seems like the right thing, but there is GRAE (Revolutionary Government of Angola in Exile), which is the predecessor to FNLA, and there is-might have mentioned, made a quick dab of a mention of UNITA.  Nothing pejorative, because we just didn't know. Those two chapters are short.

But that book was used by people around the country when they had to do educational or informational sessions. And all of this culminated in the effort which was that march [in 1972] from what was Meridian Hill Park, next to a Howard University dormitory where I was officially supposed to be a resident at one time, but never did live there. And we marched from there-and from thenceforth it became Malcolm X Park-on down to the Washington Monument. We marched. And it was a glorious and large occasion and it put-for many radical black groups across the country, it put the whole question of African liberation square in the middle. And at that time it wasn't just about anti-apartheid at all, it was about all of them.

Q: Within this context, what kind of dialogue was going on with people in Africa, Africans, if you will, or people from Africa in the United States?

AUGUSTO: I don't know. I can't speak writ large. And one of the things I think is an important lesson about the civil rights movement, the Black Power movement, and even the African liberation support movement, is precisely what I see you trying to bring out in your class. You have to know what went on in each community and how it was linked to particular community concerns. This wasn't just a national theatrical performance. So I could just tell you locally how we hooked up. And locally how we hooked up was somehow through Drum and Spear.

Q: Bookstore.

AUGUSTO: Bookstore. When the invitation came-I think sympathetic figures-I can't remember how who met whom, but it was Ben Mkapa, editor of the [Tanzanian] government paper, the Daily News. His successor was Ruhinda.

Q: Yeah, Ferdinand Ruhinda.

AUGUSTO: Ferdinand Ruhinda. I don't know who met whom or what, but somehow I got to be a correspondent for the Nationalist [the newspaper of the ruling Tanganyika African National Union] while at the Center and doing that newsletter that we did. I was one of the co-editors of the Pan-African. It was Kojo Nnamdi, [17] a woman named Ivy,  and me as co-editors. And then the Drum and Spear Bookstore activities. And somehow-you'd have to go back and disentangle the threads-those two things happened almost as parallel, me becoming a correspondent with the Nationalist and making a first visit and-was it TANU [Tanganyika African National Union].[18] or was it somebody in the president's office, you would know as well as I, who asked if we could explore the possibility of setting up something similar to Drum and Spear in Dar es Salaam. Remember?

Q: Yeah, and that-

AUGUSTO: A communications unit that would do-

Q: I think that came out of Nyerere's office. It might have even been Walter Bgoya.[19]  I don't remember now.

AUGUSTO: It could be. Anyway, I should back up and say the Center for Black Education, in its communications section-we had sections, communications, health, and something. Anyway, communications involved a very close link with Drum and Spear Bookstore and subsequently press, of course, but we had this monthly Gestetner-produced newsletter called the Pan-African-

Q: Mimeographed for all of you all out here who only know computers [laughter].

AUGUSTO: Probably once every two weeks, I think. And we would-boy, at midnight-it was C. L. R. James who got us the access to print that thing, though, which is a funny story I should tell-with, again, the same crew, Kojo and Ivy and I, all as co-editors. And then we had a weekly radio program called Sauti. By now, we were, of course, enamored with Kiswahili. Sauti means voice. And then we had-Judy[20] had a separate program called Saa ya Watoto, the Children's Hour, out of Drum and Spear and the Center.

Q: My only acting experience [laughter].

AUGUSTO: So the research, the weekly research for the radio program-we recorded, I think, on Friday-

Q: And that's Judy Richardson.

AUGUSTO: Judy Richardson. I think on a Friday we would record it. Ivy and Kojo were the voices. I only had a one brief flirt as an announcer, but I was the editor and would write the scripts. Scriptwriter and co-editor. That was once a week, and the Pan- African was either biweekly or once a month. And so that involved a lot of research on Africa. A lot. It involved, first of all, all of us reading every book in Heinemann African Writers [series]. I mean we started at A and went down and went through. By the time I first set foot on African soil, I must have read about 50 African novels, all of them. And to my chagrin, I would find that people in Africa hadn't read them. Or if they had read the ones from their region, for East Africa, they didn't know nothing about no Chinua Achebe or Wole or Wole Soyinka. And if they were from West Africa, they knew Wole Soyinka. They definitely did not know the East Africans, anyway. But we were more African in our heads, as we could understand it, than Africans.

So I had read all of this stuff, had found it with the Nationalist, and would send little articles similar to what would have gone to the Pan-African or on Sauti. And then we got this call to-you could tell this part better than me. All I know is that you and Courtland [Cox] and Jennifer [Lawson] and I were at the delegation to be there to explore these possibilities, and we had that little house at Kurasini, and I'll tell you a funny story of the house, which you know. That property was subsequently given by TANU to the MPLA. Or maybe it always had been given to the MPLA, I don't know, and they just hadn't moved in and used it. But years and years later, I came back. My first husband was the last MPLA representative in Dar es Salaam, and that's where he lived [laughter], in those houses right there, which had to be wrested from the chicken farmers.

But TANU had given that land to the MPLA-it was contiguous to the camps. The camps of Frelimo on Kurasini, the island or the peninsula, whatever it is. And then further out, the camp for the MPLA and the school, Frelimo school, which they years later gave back to Tanzania. I think it's a diplomacy school now, but it was Frelimo Institute from where they published their English-speaking education and propaganda materials and Janet Mondlane worked, and where-that strip of land, TANU had allotted to the liberation movements. And so I went back years later to live in that same place-that's where Nzinga, my second son, was born. Right there, the MPLA camp. But anyway, we stayed there for-Jennifer [Lawson] and I must have stayed together with you and Courtland in the house for maybe about six weeks. Until we realized that perhaps people looked askance and thought we might be hippies. They weren't used to the SNCC thing of everybody sleeps where you have to sleep to get your work done. But viewed through a different cultural and moral lens, we decided we would move to the YWCA. And then I didn't know that I was pregnant until I passed out in the street one day and went to a doctor.

And the doctor said, young lady-after his exam-you're having a baby. So I came back to the States, and it was, I guess, a year and a half later that I went back-maybe two years later-for Six-PAC. To work at the secretariat for Six-PAC is when I went back. I was there just for two months. You and Courtlandand, I guess, Jennifer stayed longer.

Q: Yeah, we stayed-I'm going to try and get the times, because there was-one trip we made was a very short trip. You weren't on that. That was in '69.

AUGUSTO: No, [not] on that.

Q: Then we went back-we stayed for a long time, '70, '71, '72. And then we went back a third time somewhere, I forget.

AUGUSTO: By the time you went the third time, I don't know where or what I was doing.

Q: But I think this long period was at least a year, maybe a year before the discussions over Six-PAC. And we were in discussions with the Tanzanian government- Nyerere and other people at Tanzanian Publishing House. This is pre-Bgoya Tanzania Publishing House.

AUGUSTO: I wasn't there for that, because I really was there, I think, maybe three months at the most. No, it probably was two, because I didn't know that I was pregnant, so two months. But at the end of the two months, I went back. Once I got back to the Center, back to Drum and Spear, this time to the press, Judy and I, around on Belmont Street. I  Samory, a little baby then. And then when Courtland asked would I like to go back to work in the secretariat was when I went back.

Q: What do you remember about how the discussion of the Pan African Congress, Six-PAC, came up?

AUGUSTO: It came up within the Center for Black Education as this is something we want to participate in. Again, the concentric networks were activated. We went out for a meeting with Don Lee-by then he might have been Haki Makhubuti-people like Sylvia Hill and so forth and so on, who were getting local groups who were interested in participating.

Q: Yeah, and Sylvia was teaching in the Midwest somewhere then, wasn't she?

AUGUSTO: I only met Sylvia at Six-PAC, so I'm not really sureHer name would often be mentioned as an organizing person, but I first learned about it through the Center, which had been asked once again to be a node of coordinating and gathering interest and so forth. And by then, of course, Courtland [Cox], who was going to be the-I think they had a first person who was supposed to be secretary general or co-secretary general, and with the pulling back of the Caribbean delegations having to do with the internal politics of the Caribbean at the time, Courtland. And Courtland, who by then had worked with me for some time through the Center for Black Education and the bookstore, asked if I would come as the information officer, as a continuation of my [work at] Sauti and the Pan African and the library and whatever, and be communications officer, press and information officer. And asked me, would I come? I had to check with the doctor to see if it would be okay to take my son, and he said, yeah, he'll do better there than here. He was an Italian doctor in DC. He told me, no, take him. He'll do better there than he would do here. And off we went.

And we were joined by Kathy Flewellen maybe about six weeks later. And we worked there six months to get Six-PAC together. And, as you know, to make a long story short, everybody left and I stayed. Because I loved it, I stayed behind.

Q: But what do you remember about the ideas that were driving the convening of a Sixth Pan African Congress?

AUGUSTO: I remember a lot about the ideas, because a committee was got together to draft the call, and they gave it to me to draft. I drafted the call to the Sixth Pan African Congress under the guidance of C. L. R. James, who just thrust at me a packet of documents and said this is the call from the Fifth Pan African Congress. And by then, of course, C. L. R. and I were friends, as much friends as a mentor, as an older person and a younger person, and I would spend almost every Sunday at his apartment in the Chastleton, and he would give me things to read. So I had read all the Padmore-if you know C. L. R. James, he requires you [to read] Padmore? [21]  Have you read Pan-Africanism or Communism? So I had a pretty good understanding of the Fifth Pan African Congress under my belt, because of a class that I had to teach at-that I put together at Drum, at the Center for Black Education, a communications class. And I fought to teach it based on the journalistic efforts of African Americans, starting from the 1700s and 1800s, and had then got into Sylvester Williams. So I knew this history anyway. And he thrust that and some other documents at me and said you draft the call. So I know a lot about the ideas in Sixth Pan African [laughter].

Q: My recollection, at least some of it, is-not talking about the specifics of the call, but some of it is really C. L. R.'s own desire to see another Congress.

AUGUSTO: Probably, but it converged with TANU obviously very much wanting something like that to happen under the aegis of TANU and Mwalimu [Julius Nyerere], because if they hadn't wanted it, C. L. R.. James could have wanted it as much as he possibly could, and it wouldn't have happened. Yeah, he was a-what do you call it-a galvanizing figure. As it turns out, ironically of course, he didn't go, because his Caribbeanness crossed with his Pan Africanness, and he had to side with the Caribbean left, the positions that they took. But I don't think it would have happened just because he wanted it to happen.

Q: And that argument was over, at least in part, government participation, as distinct from-

AUGUSTO: Yes. Yes, official government's participation. It was my earliest inkling of an understanding that came to me fairly quickly once I was in Dar es Salaam and separate from most people I knew, and therefore in the hands of the Tanzanians, which was-and it was something hard for African Americans to understand at the time-state-to-state relations. And there was no state, no matter how progressive-and the Cubans also helped me to understand this, the Cubans who were in Dar es Salaam at the time-there's no state, no matter how progressive, which doesn't have to have relations, state relationships with other states. And we really didn't understand from the U.S. side that Tanzania, there were certain things that they just were not going to be able to do. They had to try to get all the other African countries to support or to participate or to endorse, including the ones that they hated politically. They just were not going to be able to have it without going to the OAU [Organization of African Unity] and say, we are having a Sixth Pan African Congress. Will you come, or will you endorse, or will you at least not sabotage? Likewise, they could not say these are Caribbean governments, we can't ask them.

From the Caribbean side, though, of course many of these governments were quite-if not repressive, many were out and out repressive, like neocolonial, a lot of adjectives you would apply, and were making it very hard, if not impossible, for progressive forces and progressive organizations in the Caribbean to participate. And so the Sixth Pan African Congress got caught in the realities of those two-they're not separate visions, but they're visions of how the world works from a different stance, from a different optic. So Tanzania and TANU would see it from the optic of an independent African state surrounded by and part of an organization of other African states, and the importance of state-state relations, which the Cubans explained. And once they said to me there's no radical diplomacy and bourgeois diplomacy. All diplomacy is bourgeois, even though your own purpose and objectives might be revolutionary. You might set your table bourgeois, dress bourgeois, write your letters bourgeois, and that's the way that game is played.

Now within that, what do you do? And the Algerians told me too-Algerians of the time, not the ones of today. What do you do? How do you maneuver your interests to that? You'd have to ask people to speak for themselves, because a peculiar thing happened to me. I was there surrounded by others, Tanzanians, and Dar es Salaam was the base for all the liberation movements. It didn't take more than six weeks for me to get caught in a completely different episteme, a completely different world that-I was very young. There were not a lot of other people with me.

Part of my assignment was to work with the liberation movements to provide information to them and whatever, and they thought I was a nice little young girl who was educable. And they educated me. And it was also fortunate that Walter Rodney was teaching at University of Dar es Salaam, and he too thought I was a nice little girl and he needed to educate me. He came to the house with a reading list and said to me-very nicely, I'll never forget-he said you're very bright and this is important work you're doing. I have some quarrels with it. I feel that you may not understand as much about imperialism as you would want to for the work you're doing, or some such-

Q: I can see Walter saying that.

AUGUSTO: -euphemistic thing for saying, well, you little African Americans think you all know the whole world and you're going to be the Messiahs to save Africa, and you don't know the A or B about imperialism. And he gave me a reading list, which I read through. The Cuban consul of the time was also assigned to work on Six-PAC by his ambassador, and he too brought things for me to read. And this is while all that-the brouhaha and the furor was going on with Owusu [Sadaukai][22]  and the African American delegation, which sided more closely, one, with some of the Caribbean comrades, because that makes sense. And in addition, the discussion-a lot of them were captured by UNITA and-

Q: Yeah, I want to get into that argument, yeah.

AUGUSTO: I'm not the best person to tell you, because, as I said, a peculiar thing happened to me while I was on my way to the store. I got kidnapped by Africans and they changed my head around. By the time everybody showed up in June 1974-I did my work. Kathy and I did our work. I did all my work, but I was already thinking like a Southern African, an Eastern or a Southern African, about the various political questions. By the time Walter Rodney got through with me and Walter Bgoya got through with me, and Ruhinda got through with me and the Cubans got through with me, and going around to the liberation movements and visiting and doing journalistic things. By the time all that-and I'd learned my Kiswahili-I was a different person, really. Even my own mother, who came to the end of the conference, looked at me and she shook her head. She said, boy, you've changed. And I then could see everything from the Southern African optic. So by the time my brothers and sisters got there with their arguments, I had to stand back, because I said to myself, this is an argument for the Western hemisphere. It is not an argument that fits here. To the extent that it fits, I think they're mistaken.

And I said that because the UNITA people came through to the Six-PAC office and Courtland said, okay, you see them, because he had plenty to do. And it was Tony Fernandes and somebody else, and they sat down. I remember they sat down in my office, and I called Kathy, and we sat and they-two very nice-looking brothers. And their whole argument, just black and black, and we're married to peasant women, and MPLA is run by white people. And I still didn't know anybody in the MPLA other than the representative, who subsequently died in Cabinda in '75 in a Portuguese [attack], was shot down. And he spoke French, but not English, [and] Kathy spoke fluent French. I could read it, but couldn't speak it, so it limited passing things to us. But it just didn't seem right. It didn't make sense. An entire argument about a liberation movement based on black, and we're married to peasant women, and the MPLA is run by white people.

And by then I had met-the MPLA representative was as black as tar. The people around him were, too. Who are these white people that they're talking about? I knew Augustinho Neto [president of MPLA] was married to a Portuguese woman, but that's not an argument for a national movement. And it just seemed fishy. So by the time that the people came from the States, and they were so strong on UNITA, I just-I-

Q: Well, most of it was-I didn't go to the Six-PAC, so I don't know the dynamic-

AUGUSTO: Yes, almost all of them were just tied up, but it was based on color, [and] by then I just didn't see only color. I'm not color-blind or anything, it's just that having read all this imperialism literature, I knew that race and class were crissing and crossing in many of these-race, class, color, and caste. And so I just saw things in a more complex way, so that an argument of " I'm married to a black woman from the country" doesn't tell me anything about your politics or what economics you hope to have. And they based it pure and simple on China backs UNITA, Soviet Union backs MPLA, a very simplistic reading. That, plus the problem in the Caribbean, which was a very difficult kind of issue.

And so they had big fights and arguments in which I took absolutely no part. I would go off and be off in the streets at night in Dar es Salaam. I went with the OAU interpreters, who were Senegalese or whatever. We'd be stopping at places where you could have hot soup at midnight. That's up in some neighborhood in Dar es Salaam. I learned another point of view. I was then ready to cut loose every messianic impulse I may ever have had. I began to see really, literally, why historically the Liberian model, no matter how it modernized itself, is just not a viable model for African Americans coming to save Africa. And I decided, one, I wanted to stay for awhile. And two, I would integrate as closely as possible as I could. They had adopted me. I was everybody's little sister. I thought, just carry on in this same mode and see where it will take me.

Q: One last question on the Six-PAC. Was there any expression of interest, official interest, from the U.S. government about involvement or participation in that?

AUGUSTO: I don't think so. Not to my memory.

Q: I just wondered-

AUGUSTO: None whatsoever. You check with Courtland, and check with Sylvia Hill, but to my knowledge, absolutely not. You could ask a parallel question years later for the Frontline States,[23] because I did interpretation for the Frontline States, by then [I was] living in Angola. And the Frontline States eventually developed an economic arm, which is SADC, which now everybody touts, and you can go to school and learn about it as a regional economic organization. But at the time, the U.S. opposed, and they tried to threaten Canada and the Scandinavian countries not to come to the annual " donors conference," not to support anything, because all of that. Everything connected with liberation movements was seen as supporting communism. Everything.

And support for liberation movements was one of the big planks of the Sixth Pan African Congress-I just had a chance to go over the resolutions and documents, but that was, I think, one of the strengths of the Congress. It made it clear that this was the middle of the agenda for Africa and African people at the time, and that one, we had to all press for. And the other was a science and technology kind of thing, which was very prescient for its time. Science and technology, we would say today, it would be called sustainable development and the uses of science and technology for sustainable development. That vocabulary didn't exist at the time. Neville Parker from the Caribbean, Edie Wilson, and a few others came back to Tanzania shortly after the Congress, making important contributions in fields like engineering and education.

Q: The other thing I want to ask you, not wholly within the context of Six-PAC, but partly in that context, when we're talking about participation and interest: Is this still people within this network, or are we looking at something broader now in terms of the African American community? Did you find, in doing Six-PAC, that you were also generating interest across a wider area about Africa?

AUGUSTO: I think that we were. But again, speaking particularly from my own experience, the problem with me answering that fully and accurately is when the conference was over-Six-PAC was over in June of 1974-Tanzania Publishing House asked me to stay and edit the official thing that they wanted to publish [Resolutions and Selected Speeches of the Sixth Pan African Congress]. When that was finished, they liked my editing job and offered me a job to be the English editor, one of two. And I said yes. I came home, went through London to spend a week or so with C. L. R. James, who had asked me to do so, took Samory, and C. L. R. wanted a debriefing on Six-PAC. Gave that to him personally, then came home and gave away all my worldly possessions, which were not many.

Said goodbye to my mother and father. Samory and I must have been back in Tanzania from August 1974. I never left the African continent until 1982. I never even left the African-I was in Tanzania. Then I went to Angola. Zambia. I went back and forth from Zambia, because we had a good friend who was the MPLA representative in Zambia, and I would visit them and they would visit us in the camp, in Tanzania. And then I was in Angola. And the first time that I left Africa was '82 to go to Yugoslavia. Tito was dead, but it was still Yugoslavia. And it was from there, when my grandmother took ill and subsequently died, that I-

Q: Came back.

AUGUSTO: -got the kids and came back just for those two weeks. And subsequently, we tried to make sure that my kids came almost every summer, but I came every other summer. So I was not in the United States basically from the fall of '73, when I went over for Six-PAC, until the summer of '82. And the summers of '82, '83, '84, I would have been in the States, in Washington, DC, for two weeks only. And I lived in Angola until '91. So that period, it's like a lost generation. When I hear the music and everything, I didn't know anything about that. From '73 to '91, I am not an accurate source of information about what African Americans at home in the States were doing or thought.

Q: This is another piece of this question which may or may not have been visible to you from the African side of the water, so to speak. At the end of the Sixth Pan African Congress, neither Mozambique nor Angola, of course, was yet independent. Nor was Zimbabwe or Rhodesia.

AUGUSTO: Namibia.

Q: Namibia or South West Africa-basically the whole southern tier of Africa was still-

AUGUSTO: Still to be done.

Q: -under white rule. Yet at the same time-and I may be wrong here, and I'd be interested in your perspective-it seems despite that fact, political fact, and despite the resolution generated by Six-PAC emphasizing the importance of the liberation of Southern Africa, it strikes me that there's a dwindling of interest or activity around Southern Africa.

AUGUSTO: In Africa?

Q: No, in the States.

AUGUSTO: Oh, in the States.

Q: Part of this is how come there was no follow-up to Six-PAC?

AUGUSTO: I think the fallout was bitter around the divisions in the African American delegation, because the bitterness was between the different parts of the delegation-

Q: Arguing over UNITA, MPLA, governmental-

AUGUSTO: And China, Soviet Union, government-

Q: -nongovernmental, China, Soviet Union, yeah.

AUGUSTO: I think that the cleavage that was created probably-and again, I'm not the best source, and you really need to-but my impression is that the cleavage left a bitter taste and disagreement, almost like brother against brother, but old civil rights colleagues against old civil rights colleagues. The contestations that took place among the North American delegation to Six-PAC, both during the organizing phase and the conference itself, fractured the liberation support movement on this side of the Atlantic.

My mother, by the way-I probably should say it for the record-was a big UNITA supporter, and I married the MPLA representative and lived in MPLA-guided Angola. And we didn't have much contact with each other for years. Probably part of it was because I just wasn't here. But she relates to me that it was an extremely bitter and acrimonious fallout from the sides.

The MPLA-UNITA thing, I think, stymied and thwarted for years. I know that they continued to have African Liberation Days and that people would come together-never again in the huge number that came out for the first one or two, but it continued, and it metamorphosed into the anti-apartheid support movement in the United States.

Q: It did that, and also into Stokely's All Africa Peoples Revolutionary Party version of the African Liberation Day as well-

AUGUSTO: Okay, was that when I was-

Q: -later on. You wouldn't have known that, but it forked in two directions, actually.

AUGUSTO: The reason why I know about the Africa support, the anti-apartheid support thing is that once I started coming in the summers . One of my oldest friends is Sandra Hill from the Center for Black Education, and she was by then in the Southern Africa Support Project.[24]

Q: Yeah, I remember the group.

AUGUSTO: Smallish group, but tremendously influential. They pioneered a lot of the tactics of bringing apartheid to public attention just before it became fashionable for the Kennedys and Belafontes and everybody to be arrested in front of the South African Embassy.

Q: Which is what they really had led that.

AUGUSTO: Yes, they pioneered that stuff. And so I would come over and would speak to their group in the summer. Part of my two weeks would be to give a talk, shoot the breeze, sit down and brief them on Frontline States and Angola and South African invasions, which were annual by that time, and UNITA, and so forth and so on. So I know more about them and the kind of work that they laid the seeds for. And then in the news, everybody could read everywhere, once it became big and-I don't want to say fashionable, I would just say gathered larger and broader support. So that one I know about and how that metamorphosed or evolved from that. I'm not familiar with the All Africa Revolutionary Party version-

Q: Ultimately, Stokely's people had a version of that at Meridian Hill or Malcolm X Park-same place. What about from the African side? Was an institution like Tanzanian Publishing House or a government like Tanzania's looking for some kind of follow-up from the diaspora, disappointed that there wasn't much coming to them from the diaspora?

AUGUSTO: I don't know about disappointed. The diaspora politics from the African side are-it's interesting and complex. There's very few African governments to the day that have made African Americans feel welcome. And you know the ones. It's Ghana, under Nkrumah, Tanzania under Mwalimu, and I'm sure Mkapa continued in a particular way, although not with the same heavy political emphasis. I believe those two just about sum it up.

Q: -or mixed?

AUGUSTO: Others, mixed, and depending upon who and whatever, so I think that the lack of reciprocity is one of the big obstacles. And then, subsequently, it has become fashionable, kind of business meetings, most of which take place in wealthy-

Q: Yeah, that's the hot thing now. South Africa, I would maybe add to that-

AUGUSTO: Now South Africa-yeah, I would add South Africa now, and particularly [Thabo] Mbeki's [government]very much an Africanist and almost what your grandmother would have called a race man, in a lot of senses. So I think that there's that kind of feeling. But the business thing has overtaken. African Americans are much more into the globalization of businesses and enterprise than they would have been in the '60s, '70s, or even '80s. So I think the manifestations turned into these big business and trade type things, most of which, as I said, take place out of West Africa, not East or Central or Southern. Annual conferences and meetings.

You don't get many African leaders still today-if you take away South Africa, you take away Tanzania, you take away Ghana-who overtly make an emphasis that we see some kind of connection and we would welcome a certain kind of support from-until recently.

Q: Recently, the AU [African Union]-

AUGUSTO: The AU, exactly.

Q: -is discussing six regions-

AUGUSTO: But it was Mbeki who pushed it. It was the behind-the-scenes discussion of that. I told you my friend, Wally Serote, he's close to the president, and he has unofficial-not advisers, but, not kitchen cabinet, but the kind of people that he listens to and talks to a lot. And when that was coming up Wally told me the president is going to push this.

Q: There actually are two thrusts coming. One is Mbeki, and the other is Wade of Senegal. They've both had meetings, and it struck me like they're separate. I don't know what that means. I know there's a Senegalese discussion and a South African discussion.

AUGUSTO: That was true for the AU itself.

Q: Yeah, and there's one now about the six regions. They had one, for instance, at the Schomburg library in New York, and another one in-

AUGUSTO: Yes, the six regions. Now that's official now for the AU. It's official and you can find documents, but it was Mbeki and perhaps Wade who pushed that. So that's 52- well, there's 52 independent African states. Two presidents pushed that, but they had enough clout and made enough of a cogent argument to get it through, and we'll see. And that's a first. So one would have to see what happens with that.

But to go back to me, young me in Tanzania. One of the things that I think was important is that as long as African Americans were coming and came and maybe shall come to Africa with a kind of messianic view-and I don't mean to be sarcastic, but the idea of we come from the developed part and we can do this and that and the other-then there will always be a problem. And as long as Africans only see-they're blinded by the might and power of the United States, and see everybody who comes from the United States in some way, either you're in opposition to that government or you're part of it, they can't see African-Americans in any other light-then you're going to have a problem.

Q: And part of this-and I'd be interested in your take on this-there's been a kind of transformation. If you look at the period, say, 1969-70 to now, in 1969-70 we were dealing with movements. Frelimo, MPLA, ANC, PAC, and now-

AUGUSTO: Exactly. And [relations to] movements are different from state-to-state [relations].

Q: -they are states. Governments.

AUGUSTO: This is a very important thing.

Q: And how does that-

AUGUSTO: State to state. You have to understand. And it was, again, my African comrades who got me to understand. This is a world of nation-states. When you take power, if you are a nation-state-and we'd have to have another session to criticize and critique what became of the nations, what happened after state power was taken in the Southern African countries, but that's off the record-

Q: That's all-but that's not for this book.

AUGUSTO: -and another discussion. But anyway, state-to-state. It is realpolitik that a state will have a whole series of relations, through international institutions, through multilateral institutions, through all kinds of-with other states. And that is very different from movements. Very different.

Q: And also, on the U.S. side, a lot of people who were in movements also are now in government.

AUGUSTO: On the U.S. side?

Q: On the U.S.-a lot of black-I think of people like, what's his name, the congressman from North Carolina, Mel-I can't think of his last name. A lot of people I first met as young men and women within the context of civil rights or Pan African interests have gone on and become elected officials, many of them. And while it's not exactly the same thing as the ANC becoming a government in South Africa or the Patriotic Front becoming a government in Zimbabwe, it is roughly analogous in some respects.

The images in my head of-I was last in South Africa, in fact, last year, with a delegation created by the Faith in Politics Institute, which were congressmen. And they belonged to the Faith in Politics Institute. It's an institute that was created to assist congresspeople in their struggle over ethics and morality as congressmen. And they were in South Africa to look at things like the Truth and Reconciliation Committee and to talk to people who had been in Robben Island. But still, they were congresspeople. And it was quite different traveling with them than going over with a nongovernmental group.

AUGUSTO: An interesting thing from my time in Angola, especially, and some of the times that I've been in South Africa, less South Africa than Angola-there was a deep appreciation for African Americans who were in these posts and yet had not just a special sympathy which they would show for Africa, but would utilize their positions to pivot things towards, or tilt things, or open up a little possibility or pathway that wasn't there before. An example is Adwoa [Dunn-Mouton].[25] Adwoa was at the time the chief assistant or legal-what do they call those people?

Q: Legislative assistant.

AUGUSTO: Legislative assistant of-and I forget his name. No longer in Congress, but he was a powerful person. The Subcommittee on Africa, I think he was the head of it.

Q: I don't know why I'm drawing a blank.

AUGUSTO: Bright congressperson.

Q: Wolpe. Howard Wolpe.[26]

AUGUSTO: Exactly. And they came to Angola in a very-at the time when there was no recognition by the U.S. government of Angola. She came through a couple of times, but one of the times was with Mickey Leland, the time that he died subsequently.[27]  In fact, he was on his way to Ethiopia for the famine thing that they-but there was a pilot, some U.S. pilot that had gotten involved. Of course, by then  [the Angolan military]  were shooting down planes supplying the UNITA insurgency. They had become very accurate. South Africans were afraid. Everybody was afraid. They shot this pilot down, and these congresspeople came to ask that the pilot be freed. They had enlisted Wolpe to come, and Adwoa came with.

They could tell immediately how sensitive Adwoa-they didn't know she was with the Free South Africa movement, [because] she wasn't there in that guise. But they could see that she and I were friends and that there was some sympathy. And afterwards, they just set up almost a link, where the foreign minister would call me or her. She did nothing illegal and everything was above board, but it was just a kind of entry that Angola, at that time with no embassy, no-and they very much appreciated, they appreciated Mickey Leland and the sympathy that he showed toward.

Fast-forward to South Africa. The people who were able to go to the Durban Conference [World Conference against Racism in 2001], the congresswomen, black congresswomen, a couple of them. South Africans are still talking about how open those women were, how sensible their proposals, how-still official representatives of the U.S. government, but clearly with a sympathy for black people, for anti-apartheid, for liberation, for working-class blacks, and much appreciated. I think what happens is that it's all too rare to get a person who has those qualities. And these women are very much African American and very much American, and were not trying to live in Africa or be African in that sense, but sympathies totally with the progressive side of things.

[1] African Liberation: An Analytical Report on Southern Africa (Washington, DC: Center for Black Education, Drum and Spear Press, 1972).

[2] Resolutions and Selected Speeches from the SixthPanAfricanCongress (Dar es Salaam: Tanzania Publishing House, 1976).

[3] C. L. R. James (1901-1989), born in Trinidad, was a Pan Africanist and Marxist and is recognized as one of the leading revolutionary intellectuals of the twentieth century. His best-known book is The Black Jacobins (New York: Dial Press, 1938). See http://www.marxists.org/archive/james-clr. Walter Rodney (1942-1980), born in Guyana, was a Caribbean and Pan Africanist revolutionary thinker and activist. His best-known publication is How Europe Underdeveloped Africa (London: Bogle-L'Ouverture;  Dar es Salaam: Tanzania Publishing House, 1972). Rodney was assassinated in 1980 in Guyana.

[4] Komozi Woodard does devote seven pages to the African Liberation Support Committee in his book A Nation Within a Nation: Amiri Baraka (LeRoi Jones) & Black Power Politics (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1999), 173-80.

[5] Anthony Appiah, In My Father's House: Africa in the Philosophy of Culture (New York: Oxford University Press, 1992).

[6] The Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) was one of the major U.S. civil rights organizations. Of the voluminous material available, see particularly James Farmer, Lay Bare the Heart: An Autobiography of the Civil Rights Movement (New York: New American Library, 1985), and August Meier and Elliott Rudwick, CORE: A Study in the Civil Rights Movement, 1942-1968 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1973).

[7] The Sharpeville massacre in South Africa took place on March 21, 1960. The Unilateral Declaration of Independence was issued by the white settler regime in Rhodesia on November 11, 1965.

[8] The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) played a pivotal role in the civil rights movement of the 1960s. There is a rich literature on the organization. See, among others, Clayborne Carson, In Struggle: SNCC and the Black Awakening of the 1960s (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1981); Robert Moses and Charles E. Cobb Jr., Radical Equations: Civil Rights from Mississippi to the Algebra Project (Boston: Beacon, 2001); and Stokely Carmichael with Edwueme Michael Thelwell, Ready for Revolution (New York: Scribner, 2003).

[9] Frelimo (Mozambique Liberation Front) led the movement for liberation in Mozambique from its founding in 1962 until independence in 1975. Since then it has been the governing party. The MPLA (Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola) was the principal movement of liberation in Angola, and became the governing party at independence in 1975.SWAPO (South West African People's Organisation) was the principal liberation movement in South West Africa (Namibia), and became the ruling party after independence. ZAPU (Zimbabwe African People's Union) and ZANU (Zimbabwe African National Union) were the principal nationalist movements before independence of Zimbabwe. ZAPU was merged with ZANU in 1988.

[10] Roland Oliver and J. D. Fage, A Short History of Africa (Baltimore: Penguin Books, 1962).

[11] Franz Fanon, Black Skin, White Masks (New York: Grove Press, 1967). Originally published as Peau Noire, Masques Blancs (Paris, 1952).

[12] W. E. B. Du Bois, Black Reconstruction (New York: Harcourt, Brace, 1925).

[13] Maaluan Ron Karenga, born in 1941, founded the black nationalist US Organization in Los Angeles in 1965. He became most prominent for introducing the holiday Kwanzaa, in 1997.

[14] Marion Barry, born in Mississippi in 1936, was mayor of Washington, DC from 1979 to 1991. A veteran of SNCC, he moved to Washington in 1965, and was elected to the school board in 1971, and to the city council in 1974.

[15] Anthony Bogues teaches in the Africana Studies Department at Brown University. He is the author of, among other works, Black Heretics, Black Prophets: Radical Political Intellectuals (New York: Routledge, 2003), and Caliban's Freedom: The Early Political Thought of C. L. R. James (London: Pluto, 1997).

[16] The complex pattern of divisions between the MPLA and two other movements-the National Front for Liberation of Angola (FNLA) and the Union for Total Independence of Angola (UNITA)-resulted in a series of wars at and after independence that involved both the Cold War superpowers and Angola's neighbors, continuing until after the death of UNITA leader Jonas Savimbi in 2002. For an overview see William Minter, Apartheid's Contras: An Inquiry in the Roots of War in Angola and Mozambique (London: Zed Books, 1994).

[17] Kojo Nnamdi, from Guyana, immigrated to the United States in 1968. He later became a prominent television and radio talk-show host based in the Washington area.

[18] TANU, the leading nationalist movement in Tanganyika, became the governing party after independence in 1961. In 1967 it merged with the Afro-Shirazi Party in Zanzibar to became Chama cha Mapinduzi, the governing party of the United Republic of Tanzania.

[19] Walter Bgoya, Tanzanian diplomat, writer, and publisher, was general manager of Tanzania Publishing House from 1972 to 1990.

[20] Filmmaker Judy Richardson was co-producer of the classic Eyes on the Prize series on the civil rights movement. In the early 1960s she was a staff member of SNCC in Georgia and Mississippi.

[21] George Padmore, 1902-1959, from Trinidad, was one of the leading Pan-Africanists of the 20th century. After playing a prominent role in the itnernational communist movement, he broke with the Communist Party in the early 1930s, and later wrote Pan-Africanism or Communism (New York: Roy Publishers, 1956)  He was prominent in organizing the Fifth Pan-African Congress in 1945 and was a closer adviser of Ghanaian nationalist leader Kwame Nkrumah.

[22] Howard Fuller (Owusu Sadaukai), from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, directed Malcolm X University in Greensboro, North Carolina, from 1969 to 1973. He was the national chairman and organizer of the first African Liberation Day  demonstration in May 1972 in Washington, DC. Later he returned to Milwaukee, where he served as superintendent of schools and became a strong advocate of school voucher programs, a cause strongly supported by right-wing foundations.

[23] First formed as an informal grouping in 1974, the five Frontline States of Angola, Botswana, Mozambique, Tanzania, and Zambia formed a political alliance for the liberation of remaining white-ruled states in Southern Africa.

[24] See interviews with Sylvia Hill in this collection.

[25] Adwoa Dunn-Mouton was on the staff of the Subcommittee on Africa of the House Foreign Affairs Committee from 1985 to 1990, and served as staff director of the Subcommittee on Africa of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee from 1990 to 1993.

[26] Howard Wolpe, a political scientist specializing in African studies, served in the House of Representatives from 1979 to 1993, representing the third district of Michigan. He chaired the Subcommittee on Africa for 10 of his 14 years in Congress, from 1981 to 1990.

[27] George Thomas (Mickey) Leland, 1944-1989, served as a representative from Texas in the House of Representatives from 1979 to 1989. At his death he was Chairman of the House Select Committee on Hunger, that dealt with both domestic and international hunger issues .

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