Photo Bio Series Part Five: Black United Front in Action!
HISTORY OF THE BLACK UNITED FRONT In the photo is my wife Dr. Karen Daughtry, myself, and Arthur Miller’s wife. On November 25th, 1976 fifteen year old Randolph Evans was wantonly murdered by patrolman Robert Torsney. One year later on November 28th, 1977 a jury returned with the verdict against Torsney; NOT GUILTY by reason of temporary insanity. The Black community was outraged. Would this be another Black youth slaughtered by a white patrolman without an appropriate response? The Coalition of Concerned Leaders and Citizens To Save Our Youth, renamed January 1977 - The Coalition For Economic Fairness, came together to organize the Black Christmas Boycott of 1977 aimed at the downtown department stores of Brooklyn, who received huge profits from the purchases of our people, the principal consumers, while they murder our children. The boycott was an overwhelming success and lasted until victory was won in March 1978. A movement was born.
The Coalition in the aftermath of the downtown boycott challenged the fitness of Congress Frederick Richmond, (14th C.D.) to serve as a legislator in the Congress of the U.S.A. Richmond, who confessed his guilt as a molester of a teenage Black male youth, represented a district in Congress that has a constituency that is composed of over 60% Black residents. The Coalition informed and educated our people about the moral, see The Moral Dilemma of Fred Richmond - Amsterdam News, deviation of Congressman Richmond. For the first time in the modern history of Black Brooklyn, a Grassroots Political Convention was held to select a single Black candidate to oppose Richmond. While Congressman Richmond used his ample surplus wealth, (he is reputed to be worth more than 50 million), he defeated the candidate of the Unified Black Community. We learned many lessons and gained valuable experiences. We shall transform defeat into victory.
During the week of June 14th-22nd, three infamous incidents occurred in the Black community of Brooklyn that was to culminate in the formation of the Black United Front. On Wednesday night June 14th, 1978, Arthur Miller, a young, dynamic Crown Heights community leader was savagely beaten and strangled to death by over twenty policemen, when he sought to investigate his brother's pending arrest on a traffic violation. The very next night, Thursday, June 15th, 1978, Victor Rhodes, a fifteen year old Black Crown Heights youth was beaten and stomped on by over thirty members of the Hasidic Jewish community of Crown Heights. Rhodes remained in a coma and hospitalized for over three months. On June 22nd, 1978, Charles King, 54, a Black Crown Heights merchant was kicked and beaten by a traffic patrolman. He was hospitalized with a broken leg.
The Brooklyn Black Community was aroused and inflamed by this unprovoked reign of terror by the police and white terrorist gangs. At an informal meeting of community leaders and activists a call was issued for the formation of a Black United Front. On Wednesday, July 5th, 1978, at a press conference held on the steps of City Hall, Black community leaders, clergymen and political activists announced the formation of the Black United Front as a vehicle to agitate, educate and organize our community. Several days later the formation of the Black Community Civilian Patrol was announced to serve and protect the community in times of siege and crisis.
On Sunday, July 16th, 1978, over 5,000 angry Black residents of Brooklyn took to the streets in a historic march and rally in Crown Heights, organized by the Black United Front.
On Tuesday, August 8th, 1978, hundreds of Black United Front supporters marched to City Hall to confront U.S. President Jimmy Carter on the issue of Human Rights for Black citizens of the United States. We demanded a federal investigation violation of our Human Rights by the racism and violence that is clearly apparent within the New York City Police Department.