The “New Bethel Incident” took place in Detroit, Michigan, in March 31, 1969 during the First New Afrikan Nation Day Celebration at the New Bethel Baptist Church, on the West Side. One policeman killed and another wounded. Four Blacks wounded. Between 135 and 240 persons were arrested. Police later freed 125 persons. Criminal Court Judge G. Crockett [1909-1997], frees 8 other Blacks. Chaka Fuller, Rafael Viera, and Alfred 2X Hibbets were charged with killing. All 3 were subsequent tried and acquitted. Chaka Fuller was mysterious assassinated a few months afterwards.
“The seeds of Malcolm took further root on March 29,1968. On that date the Provisional Government of the Republic of New Afrika (RNA) was founded at a convention held at the Black – owned Twenty Grand Motel in Detroit. Over 500 grassroot activists came together to issue a Declaration of Independence on behalf of the oppressed Black Nation Inside North America, and the New Afrikan Independence Movement (NAIM) was born. Since then Blacks desiring an independent Black Nation have referred to themselves and other Blacks in the U.S. as New Afrikans.”
“In 1969 COINTELPRO launched its main attack on the Black Liberation Movement in earnest. It began with the mass arrest of Lumumba Shakur and the New York Panther 21. It followed with a series of military raids on Black Panther Party offices in Philadelphia, Baltimore, New Haven, Jersey City, Detroit, Chicago, Denver, Omaha, Sacramento. and San Diego, and was capped off with a four-hour siege that poured thousands of rounds into the Los Angeles BPP office. Fortunately Geronimo ji Jaga, decorated Vietnam vet had earlier fortified the office to withstand an assault, and no Panthers were seriously injured. However, repercussions from the outcome eventually drove him underground. The widespread attacks left Panthers dead all across the country – Fred Hampton, Mark Clark, Bunchy Carter, John Huggins, John Savage, Walter Toure Pope, Bobby Hutton, Sylvester Bell, Frank “Capt. Franco” Diggs, Fred Bennett, James Carr, Larry Robeson, Spurgeon “Jake” Winters, Alex Rackley, Arthur Morris, Steve Bartholomew, Robert Lawrence, Tommy Lewis, Nathaniel Clark, Welton Armstead, Sidney Miller, Sterling Jones, Babatunde Omawali, Samuel Napier, Harold Russle, and Robert Webb among others. In the three years after J. Edgar Hoover’s infamous COINTELPRO memorandum, dated August 25, 1967, 31 members of the BPP were killed, nearly a thousand were arrested, and key leaders were sent to jail. Others were driven underground. Still others, like BPP field marshal Donald “D.C.” Cox, were driven into exile overseas.
Also in ’69, Clarence 13X, founder of the Five Percenters, was mysteriously murdered in the elevator of a Harlem project building. His killer was never discovered and his adherents suspect government complicity in his death.
The RNA was similarly attacked that year. During their second annual convention in March ’69, held at reverend C.L. Franklin’s New Bethel Church in Detroit, a police provocation sparked a siege that poured 800 rounds into the church. Several convention members were wounded; one policeman was killed, another wounded, and the entire convention, 140 people, was arrested en masse. When Reverend Franklin (father of “The Queen of Soul,” singer Aretha Franklin) and Black State Representative James Del Rio were informed of the incident they called Black judge George Crockett, who proceeded to the police station where he found total legal chaos.
Almost 150 people were being held incommunicado. They were being questioned, fingerprinted, and given nitrate tests to determine if they had fired guns, in total disregard of fundamental constitutional procedures. Hours after the roundup, there wasn’t so much as a list of persons being held and no one had been formally arrested. An indignant Judge Crockett set up court right in the station house and demanded that the police either press charges or release their captives. He had handled about fifty cases when the Wane County prosecutor, called in by the police, intervened. The prosecutor promised that the use of all irregular methods would be halted. Crockett adjourned the impromptu court, and by noon the following day the police had released all but a few individuals who were held on specific charges. Chaka Fuller, Rafael Viera, and Alfred 2X Hibbits were charged with the killing. All three were subsequently tried and acquitted. Chaka Fuller was mysteriously assassinated a few months afterwards.
Black Legionaire Eye Witness Account
My name is Larry Edwards and was one of the four wounded in this so-called “New Bethel” incident.On the occasion of the incident, my service was under oath of the Black Legionaires as 2nd Lieutenant. My responsibility that night was for internal security. A superb job was done by the Legionaires preventing a massacre of our people that cold horrible night. Thanks to the Almighty for delivering our people to safety on that night. A very,very special salute to fellow Legionaires wounded that night. Looking back on it, our wounds were well worth preventing the death of so many of our people. Legionaires corralled, shepherded and gave cover to the citizens and citizens promptly obeying commands through 600 bullets fired by the police. On that night, the dedicated was separated from the coward in an unbelievable show.The Legionaires earned a distinct honor that night for bravery. We may be obscured from their history books but we are real and real is the truth; therefore I deduced their history books to be the lier.
As I prattle a bit on this matter, I become curious about the whereabouts of my other 2 wounded Legionaires. We shared a hospital room handcuffed yet we bonded.
Haki Kweli Shakur 7-24-51ADM
August Third NAPLA NAIM