Bobby Gore's letter From a Prison Cell

Tell Them What We Did!

May 19, 1973
Box 112,
Joliet, Illinois
Mr. David Dawley
Executive Department
State House
Boston, Mass. 02133


Dear David:

I was sitting here thinking about the radio show June 1, and thought I would drop a line to see if I can be of some help to Cupid. I listen to Contact often. They had Bobby Rush on May 18, and the topic was community control of police districts. He did not do too swell because he went on the program unprepared. The terminology some of the callers used, Bobby did not understand as a result he did not answer some of the caller’s questions that were put to him. Tell Cupid or whomever, that if they do not understand the questions asked, to ask the caller to rephrase their question so they can understand the questions.

Remind Cupid of the economic base the Lords were trying to build in order to employ community people skilled and unskilled, high school grads and dropouts, people who for some reason were unemployed or had dropped out of school. Some of them quit because they did not have shoes, carfare, or the proper cloths to wear to school, some because they had to stay in the home because the parents/parent had to both work to make ends meet and some of them had to quit school and try to work to help in the home. Tell them to explain that the Lords on 16th were trying to use themselves as models to prove to our people, the system and society that if given the opportunity we could make it. We wanted to prove to the system that there is no such thing as a useless human being. That every man has something to contribute to society if given a chance. Tell them that we were making our point by using useless human beings (as the system calls them) to manage our businesses, run programs, etc.

Explain our objective was to start businesses and programs in every community that Lords were living in. That our main goal was that any profit made in any of these communities would be used to open other businesses or programs for the public use, in that community. That the Lords in the community would be in full control of the business and it was up to them to build the business into a profit making business. The only thing the planning office demanded were the right to audit the books and to see that they were kept right and in order.

Tell them about the programs the Lords created whereby they would take young brothers and sisters out of the community on field trips, zoos, plays and cookouts, etc., and that some of these kids would not have ever seen outside of Lawndale had it not been for us. There are young brothers there 21 years of age and older who have never been out of the community because of the conditions of their family structure. Talk about the scholarship plan we had started to help the kid who could not help himself through school. Though it was not a lot of money, it was a start for some of them. Be sure to tell them about the amount of money given to us was just enough to insure our failure, but we did not fail (that is not in the span of time they had set). That in showing and doing so that the community could see and feel rather than talking and promising we began to get community backing, the older people were coming out of there homes/house’s and given us a helping hand, not asking any question, just glad to see young people doing some good and earning an honest dollar.

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Tell them how we tried to motivate the youth into staying in school because, these businesses were theirs and they would have to get the education needed to run them. That our objective was to work ourselves out of a job, and let them run it. That we had job training in each of the businesses where the kid was earning while he was learning.

Make it known that we only (16th) had two moneymaking businesses, the African Lion and Teentown. Explain that the House’s of the Lords was designed to keep kids off the street; the planning office was for T.R.A.G, and other business ventures. The Art Soul was to tap the community for talent, and to expose this talent to the right people once discovered. Malcolm X street academy was to channel youth to the college or back into high school, the Management training was to teach the youth the management of the business already going, (the teacher was professional) and the poolroom was for the older brothers 18 years of age and up. We also found a number of people jobs, fed, and clothed over 8,000 during the riot of King’s death.

Tell them your position with the beautification program, as a supervisor and that your job was not one planning any of the new programs or business ventures, and that because of that, there might be questions brought to you that you can not answer in detail or at all. Tell them about the positions we took in trying to work with the local schools in trying to get a meaningful education for the kids. How we use to go and stop fights at some of the schools, etc. and speak to student body on some occasions, about what we were attempting to do in the community. You can also speak about the invitation to the police to visit our places of business and community progress.

Make it clear that we handled no cash money, that we had a fiscal agent to handle the money and the only way money could be exchanged was by check and requisitions and had to be submitted, for whom and for what. Make it clear that we were not buying guns as Hanrahan would want them to believe. Tell the people that we sent money back that was not used on some occasions. Those if we needed money to aid our plight that we would always ask permission from the donor and wait for approval. Talk about Bootstrap and how we put the programs together by going to the police commanders and asking their help in involving the big businesses, Sears, Reyerson Steel, Western Electric, Illinois Bell, and others to take a position in helping the community rid itself of some it’s ills. Tell how the man played games with us and iced us out of the program by letting it get infiltrated by the very people who have aided in keeping the community down under the guise of getting to the youth and creating programs for them. When all the time, all they did was use what money that came in for big salaries for themselves and what was left they would buy a couple of balls and pass them out to the youth.

Talk about how the crime rate dropped because of our efforts. Tell them kids did not have to steal, snatch a pocket book, rob anybody, etc., because they had a chance to earn their own money cleaning up their own neighborhood, planting grass, flowers and whatever else had to be done. Tell the pride they had when the flowers and grass came up, where there had been none for twenty years. Nothing but mud holes, broken bottles and tin cans etc. Tell them about the conditions we have to live in are (by design not chance) to breed young brothers and sisters who will have to steal, stick-up, and sell their bodies to make a buck to buy food, shoes, clothes, etc., because they do not have a high school education to get a job. If they did then there are other things to stand in their way, unions, PhDs and other bunk.

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Tell them about the conditions we are forced to live in drives a kid to drink scrap iron, shoot dope, an pop pills to forget that he has two or three little brothers or sisters at home naked and damn near starving. He might drink to get his nerves together to stick someone up, steal or kill because he is not in his right mind, while under the influence of drugs, drinks, etc., that he can not handle. Say that this is the same reason that some fathers and mothers shoot dope and leave home to get drunk… to forget what is at home that he can not provide for, but wants to. Tell that these conditions and other things help in banning youth together, once they are together they find out their problems are common to each other, they can then understand one another, then they began to love one another and look out for each other and as they began to get themselves together they think about John and ask him if he wants to go on the next job. They then find a place to hang around they pick up more and more brothers in the neighborhood as they go along and so forth. Cupid can go into this without my help. I know he knows what time it is in this area.

I hope this helps some. Pleas excuse all mistakes I was in a hurry to get something done tat I might help, so I almost threw this together. If you cannot understand it Dave I think Cupid will (smile). I hope this gets to you in time.
Hope to see you soon.

Peace and Freedom________________________
Bobby Gore…….Slave Name