Black United Front / National Black United Front marches on the way to 770 Eastern Parkway in the rain and Rally in Crown Heights
In the photo from left to right: Chief of Security (in jacket) Yusef Iman Weusi, Segun (in the glasses), Jitu Weusi, Al Vann, Dr. Karen, myself in conversation with someone, Minister Clemson Brown (with the camera)
In the photo: A June Rally after the killing of Arthur Miller and Victor Rhodes where I made a statement.
For our first anniversary we marched from Downtown Brooklyn to Crown Heights about a mile distance and rallied in front of the Lubavitcher Hasidim Headquarters 770 Eastern Parkway. After which we marched to the 71st precinct on Empire Blvd and New York Avenue. We were caught in a monstrous troika (a three headed monster) there was the police officers who choked Arthur Miller to death on June 14, 1978. Arthur Miller was representative of all the police killings and brutalities. On June 16, 1978 the Hasidim had viciously beaten-up Victor Rhodes to a pulp. Victor was a representative of all the assaults and harassment committed by the Hasidic community. Then there was the racist violence Bloody Summer 1978 already highlighted in Chapter Six of my book No Monopoly on Suffering – Crown Heights.
By 1978, in Crown Heights, the Lubavitcher Hasidim had usurped the turf that Black people had long considered theirs. I along with other ministers sat up practically all-night pleading with the then, Mayor Abraham Beame, not to change the community dividing lines. The Hasidim wanted Crown Heights to be moved from Atlantic Avenue to Eastern Parkway making Crown Heights smaller thus getting more political clout to the smaller numbers of the Hasidim. Bedstuy would become larger, but it was already overwhelmingly majority Black.
In addition, there was nothing new about confrontation with the Hasidim. In a letter to the New York department of Justice, President of the Black Community, Dr. Vernal Cade detailed a long history of abuses. My first encounter with Hasidim occurred in the mid-1960s. I was attending a meeting organized by Black community groups concerned about the Hasidic Maccabees as vigilantes who harassed and attacked Black youngsters.