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Arthur Miller Jr. Choked to death by NY Police June 14, 1978

In the long struggle against police abuse of power which took many forms the most egregious was the death of the victim. Arthur Miller was a respected, highly successful businessman. He loved his family and he loved the community to which he supported in many ways. He was active in the community and very generous.

I shall never forget we were on the street in downtown Brooklyn boycotting/protesting the killing of 15yr old black youth Randy Evans by police officer named Robert Torsney. Randy was killed November 1976. A year later almost to the day the jury verdict was not guilty by reason of insanity. The killer cop was remanded Creedmoor Hospital Center with weekends home. The following year he was released. The community was furious. We launched Black Christmas 77. We called for economic boycott.

As we continued the boycott of the downtown stores the anger galvanized the community as increasingly they joined the boycott. Then on June 14th, 1978 we were still on the streets boycotting when word reached us that Arthur Miller Jr. had been choked to death. It was in the evening when we left the boycott and headed to a rally that was being convened at a public school in Crown Heights. The following day, June 15th Victor Rhodes a 15 year old black youth was beaten to a pulp by 30-50 members of the Hasidic community, according to the press.

While we willl always remember Arthur miller with sadness but at the same time his death fueled the movement that eventuated into the NBUF which organization began to have a significant impact locally, nationally and globally. the progress that we are witnessing now many especially many of the elected officials came out of that movement. The NBUF will be celebrating its 45th anniversary in Kansas City, MO.

In demands we made;

  • Torsney be indicted on Randy Evans civil rights

  • Blue ribbon commission be convened to study and to make recommendations to advance our young people

  • A 10 point demand negotiation package that would be put before the business community. The demands included a percentage of the media would go to black media. Likewise percentage of banking, service contracts, philanthropic budget go towards black communities.

  • We demanded upward mobility we also demanded a crisis fund that would respond to our people in crisis without a lot of red tape and we demanded a scholarship for 5 years of ten college bound students $1500 each in the name of Randolph Evans. We did not get Torsney indicted, a blue ribbon commission was to be instituted by then mayor Ed Koch and the business community conceded to all of our demands.

They funded the scholarship for 5 years and liked it so much that they continued for another 5 years. After which, we funded the program raising the money primarily from the black community. We will be celebrating the 45th anniversary of the scholarship program June 29th at 2pm at the House of the Lord Church where it all started, 415 Atlantic Avenue Brooklyn, NY.

Once we had won our demands and by now the movement was gathering steam. We organized the local Black United Front July, 1978 and then the National Black United Front in July, 1980.

Once we gained the victory we did an unusual thing. We gathered the community at Ramapo College informed them of what we had won and began to share leadership. Al Vann became Chair of the Randolph Evans Scholarship Program; Jitu Weusi became Chair of the Crisis Fund; Sam Pinn also participated in the scholarship program; my wife, Dr. Karen Daughtry became Coordinator of the annual Randy Evans Memorial Scholarship event. As leader of the movement I asked only that she be appointed to head up the scholarship program. I was concerned that the scholarship program wouldn’t last forever and the person I knew would make sure that our desires and vision would come to pass. Thus she has kept the scholarship program for lo these past 45 years. We invite the community to remember Arthur Miller and Randy Evans and all those who were killed by the police and also attend the Scholarship Program on June 29th, 2024 at 2pm.

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