Saturday July 18th was a sweltering day in New York City. A protest was organized in Harlem. By the early evening, there were about 500 people assembled. Among the protesters on that day was William (Bill) Epton. Epton had been a veteran who fought with honor in the Korean War. He returned and became the chairperson of the Harlem branch of the Progressive Labor Party (PLP), a communist organization.
Once the PLP’s Harlem branch, which had been agitating in street rallies against police brutality for months, got word of the July 16th killing of James Powell, it began distributing thousands of posters proclaiming, “Wanted for Murder, Gilligan the Cop.”
At the rally on July 18th, Bill Epton delivered a soapbox speech in which he declared, “We’re going to have to kill a lot of cops, a lot of the judges, and we’ll have to go against their army.” Here are Epton’s own words recounting what he said at the rally:
“What I said was that we must fight back when the cops attack us. I said that the police have declared war on Harlem and Harlem must declare war back on them. They –the judges, the cops, the slumlords, the bosses – are the ones who institute violence and murder against the people. I called –openly and publicly – for revolutionary struggle by the people to defeat that reign of terror.” #BillEpton #NewAfrikanMaoistCommunist #PLP #HarlemRebellion #StruggleForward
Haki Kweli Shakur 7-18-51ADM
AUGUST THIRD NAPLA -NAIM