Q784 Transcript

If you use this material, please credit The Jonestown Institute. Thank you.

To read the Tape Summary, click here. To listen to MP3, click here.
To return to the Tape Index, click here.

(Note: This tape was transcribed by Michael Bellefountaine. The editors gratefully acknowledge his invaluable assistance.)

Announcer: We asked around for the name of a person that might appropriately do the honors by being MC this afternoon. It really didn’t take us long to come up with the person, a close friend of our honoree, a person who was formerly [a] member of the Glide board of trustees, your friend, my friend, our man, not only in Sacramento, but our man in San Francisco, Assemblyman Willie Brown. Willie?

Crowd: (Applause)

Willie Brown: Thank you.

Crowd: (Applause)

Brown: To the Glide family, to the friends of Cecil Williams everywhere and to the family of Cecil Williams, on behalf of all San Franciscans, this is really a good day. When those of us who’ve benefited so much by Cecil’s spirit, by Cecil’s inspiration, and by just the existence of Cecil Williams can stop and take measure and say, “In ten years, here’s a list of your accomplishments.” This afternoon, the community of San Francisco, the community of the Bay Area, indeed the community of the world intends to say through the voice, through the eyes, through the words and through all kinds of means: Thank you to Cecil. You will see many, many people coming before you to give brief statements of their own, and in their own fashion, in their own words, and they will all be in celebration of change for Cecil Williams’ tenth year in San Francisco. You know, you think back some fifteen to eighteen to twenty years ago, Cecil Williams was still in (unintelligible town name), Texas, doing his thing.

Crowd: (Scattered laughter)

Brown: And that’s only about forty miles from where I was doing my thing about the same time, a little place called Mineola. But it’s good, frankly, to arrive in California at this time and this day, and have so many people be so respectful of a man who has made such an incredible contribution. The people you’re going to meet from Cecil’s family, from Cecil’s friends, and all kinds of people will tell you just that. Let me now present to you- (Pause) and I’m gonna be the guide for the entirety of the afternoon, and this is as long as you ever going to hear me and also as long as you going to hear anybody else. We’re gonna make it smooth, we’re gonna have a good time, and we gonna get as quickly as we can to the man that brought us all together. Let me present to you the co-chairperson of the celebration of change festivities for this day, a man whom I met as the president of the San Francisco branch of the NAACP. From that he moved on to putting together a black American travel guide, something which had never been done before. It required him to go [to] almost every city in this country to view what’s happening and to come back and write it, so black folks will be s- in fact spared the hardship of moving through these United States and move in some friendly territory rather than that which was hostile. And then he moved on to become a reporter for the San Francisco Examiner, and during the course of the last week, you of course have read his evaluation of what it’s like to be black in the San Francisco Bay Area, from a political standpoint, from a business standpoint and from the arts, a member of the Glide family, co-chairperson, Bob Hayes.

Crowd: (Applause)

Bob Hayes: Thank you. You know, when you come into this sanctuary, you know that you coming to talk to people who love people and people who are in love with themselves. And that kind of epitomizes the whole relationship that I think that I’ve had with Cecil over a number of years, but when Cecil came to me and he asked me to share in this celebration and to get involved in the Center for Change, I thought about all the times that I had called Cecil when I was in trouble or I thought the community was in trouble, and I never recall Cecil telling me, “Bob, I don’t have time.” The only thing that Cecil would say is, “Brother uh, my house or your house, or can we meet someplace in between.” A couple of weeks ago, I was asked to go out and to kind of promote this whole affair to talk to people on the radio and to do some shows. And the one thing that came through loud and clear that a lot of people could not understand, how is it possible that one man could bring together such diverse groups as the Nation of Islam, COYOTE [Call Off Your Old Tired Ethics] and gay liberation? And I propose to you that Cecil Williams is the only man that I know who could bring all those groups together and to c- have me here today to talk about loving somebody who’s probably a couple years younger than I am. Thank you.

Crowd: (Applause)

Brown: Over the course of the last week, you read all kinds of blurbs in the newspaper. There were extensive articles all about Cecil, and that’s because of the guidance given to us by Bob Hayes. I hope he stays around the community long enough so that when somebody gives me a testimonial, (Laughs) he’ll handle the press on it too.

Crowd: (Laughter)

Brown: Speaking of the press, in San Francisco, starting a long time ago, there was a young woman who had a vision that black people ought to be a part of the media delivery system. She has made that a reality for all of us. You see her on the noon news. You see her on All Together Now. You see her doing filming on the streets. She does documentaries, she does something for almost everybody, and in fact the most interesting interview that I’ve seen done with Marvin Gaye was done [by] none other KPIX’s number one reporter and my constituent, Belva Davis.

Crowd: (Applause)

Belva Davis: Thank you. Willie, you didn’t have to lean so hard on the long part. (Laughs) You know, there’s something about Cecil Williams that make you want to take a chance. He talks about change, I call it a chance. Something that makes you want to do something that you’ve never done before. It would’ve been easy for me to have stood here and told you about the times that I’ve called him when I was interested in a story and so on and how he’d helped me. But that would’ve been an easy thing to do. So I decided to do something that I have never done before, because it was for Cecil. I often write little verses that I don’t share even (Pause) probably with my husband, I don’t think. I’ve never certainly read one aloud, but for Cecil, I thought it was time to take a chance. So it won’t mean very much to you, but it’s a big moment for me. ‘Cause it’s a- a chance. (Pause) And it’s dedicated of course to Cecil.

Dear Cecil,
There is an openness about you that allows others
Who are used to lying about and to themselves,
To be honest if only for a moment.

Dear Cecil,
there’s a refreshing spirit about you that moves with you
That allows even stone feet to tap, if ever so softly.

Dear Cecil,
there’s an arrogance about you that allows even me to like myself
If only for a moment when in your presence.

Dear Cecil,
there’s a love that surrounds you,
Abounds about you, leaps from you, crosses over and occasionally causes
Mute lips to mutter, “Man, that cat’s really something.”

Crowd: (Applause)

Brown: You know what I’m looking forward to? One morning flipping on the radi- the- the television at seven A.M. and looking at either AM America or the Today Show or one of those early morning shows originating out of New York, and seeing Belva Davis as the anchor. That’s my ambition in life.

Crowd: (Applause)

Brown: Some four or five years ago, I had the great pleasure of having Cecil Williams introduce me to a genius in the teaching profession, a woman who, far beyond her tender years had wisdom, had courage and offered a degree of inspiration to a whole lot of people. The system tried its best to do something to her, and at that time she and Cecil became very close. With her courage, she managed to put the system in its place, and now she’s back doing what she loves to do best, and that’s teach those of us who need teaching. Let me present to you someone very close to A. Cecil Williams. Her name (Pause) – from the angels – Angela Davis.

Crowd: (Extended applause)

Angela Davis: Sisters and brothers.

Voice in Crowd: Right.

Angela Davis: I know that almost every single one of us here today has some very special reason why we want to say thank you to Cecil Williams, because he’s touched so many of us in- in so many ways, and of course, as I look back, I remember the terrible months I spent over there in the Marin County jail and down in San Jose when Cecil faithfully weekly, every uh, moment he possibly was allowed in by the jailers, came in, visited me, helped me to (Pause) obtain that courage that was necessary to see that whole thing through. But see, I want to say thank you to Cecil today, not only because of what he did for me and the invaluable contributions he made to the struggle for my freedom. I want to say thank you to Cecil because he’s always been there, whenever sisters and brothers have needed his help. I want to say thank you to Cecil for helping keep alive the memory and legacy of George and Jonathan Jackson.

Crowd: (Applause)

Angela Davis: And I would like to say thank you to Cecil and the whole Glide community for having so faithfully supported and struggled for the freedom of the San Quentin Six.

Crowd: (Applause)

Angela Davis: And we could go on and on. We talked about Reverend- we talked about Reverend Ben Chavis in North Carolina and Joan Little, and I could stand here and spend hours literally talking about all of the sisters and brothers who are either presently on the other side of prison walls today, or have- have been freed as a result of a people’s victory and Cecil has re- has played a very important role in all of those struggles. He’s- he, along with the entire congregation here, have left an indelible mark, not only here in the San Francisco Bay Area but throughout the country and- and across the world. What I’d like to do is uh, read a passage from a statement that was made by another very great man, a great black man in the history of this country, because I think that this message conveys what Cecil is all about, what he’s doing, the message that he’s transmitting to people. It was written by Fredrick Douglass in- in 1857. I’m sure many of you will uh, recognize uh, the passage. He says, “If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom and yet deprecate agitation want crops without plowing up the ground, they want rain without thunder and lightning, they want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. Find out just what any people will quietly submit to, and you will have found the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them, and these will continue, until they are resisted with either words or blows or with both.” Thank you very much, Cecil.

Crowd: (Applause)

Brown: As always, Angela’s a living symbol of what Cecil is all about. When she ran down the list, think back to the headlines in the Chronicle and the Examiner. I can remember picking up the paper one day and seeing where Cecil was trying to own a Muni bus or something-

Crowd: (Laughter)

Brown: -for some people in one part of San Francisco that didn’t have bus service. I remember Cecil Williams without a beard, no Afro, suit, tie, white shirt, arm-in-arm, getting arrested at San Francisco State College. Years and years and years of what Angela was talking about, Cecil is in fact just that. Cecil also means a lot to those of us who have to seek votes for the jobs which we hold. One of my colleagues has had the pleasure and the experience of being exposed to and involved with Cecil Williams in some of the struggles. Let me present to you, my senator from San Francisco, State Senator Milton Marks.

Crowd: (Applause)

Marks: Thank you very much, Willie. Uh, I am very pleased to be here to join with the many friends of Cecil Williams in paying this tribute to him. I must say that Texas’ loss was San Francisco’s gain, and I’m very glad you’re here. What you have done, Cecil, over the years and what you are continuing to do, is to touch the conscience of the people of San Francisco, and that conscience needed touching. You’ve brought so much to our city, and I’m very glad to join with your many friends in paying this well-deserved tribute to you. We need you, we know that you’ll carry on for many, many years to come, and I wish you everything good in the future. Thank you very much.

Crowd: (Applause)

Brown: You’ve read the headlines about all of the interesting things Cecil’s been doing. But there’re a couple of things that you may have forgotten about. You recall that when (Pause) the ladies of the night, as they’re called, could not find a place to meet to discuss their common problems, to discuss how some dignity could be gained by them, Cecil opened the doors of Glide, and the Methodist fathers had ac- well, I won’t say what they had, but-

Crowd: (Laughter)

Brown: -it was a little difficult. Cecil weathered that storm. The organization that was born from that meeting is now internationally famous, and a friend of mine for a hundred and ten years is the head of that organization. She is also a friend of Cecil’s. Let me present to you one of San Francisco’s finest, Margo St. James, head of COYOTE .

Crowd: (Applause)

Voices in the crowd: Hey, Margo.

St. James: Hello there, (Laughs) come around some time. (Laughs)

Crowd: (Laughter)

Voices in the crowd: (unintelligible calls)

St. James: Still work yet. We have business hours too. (Laughs)

Crowd: (Laughter)

St. James: Willie’s right. We couldn’t find anybody who would uh, even give me an office, even if I paid them money wh- three years ago. But now, thanks to uh, Cecil giving us a platform, a place to hold our uh, meeting and uh, winning the uh, the respect and let’s say support of most of the community, we’ve now uh, opened up branches in twelve cities and across the uh, Atlantic in Europe. And we intend to have our third national hookers’ convention in Washington, D.C.

Crowd: (Murmurs)

St. James: In June just before the fourth of July, next- 1976. Do you know anybody in D.C.? (Laughs)

Crowd: (Laughter)

Voice in the crowd: The Hilton.

St. James: The Hilton, yeah.

Crowd: (Laughter and applause)

St. James: I’ll talk to you next week, Henry. (Laughs)

Crowd: (Laughter)

St. James: I don’t think there’s a soul here who’s uh, wished us any harm, but I want to thank you all for the support in the last uh, two or three years and the- the success that we’ve uh, found to- in the courts, mostly because the uh, judges became aware of the public’s disfavor of uh, the way things are going, the way that prostitutes are treated and- and the fact that uh, most of the women uh, most of the people that end up in jail for prostitution are women uh, women who’re trying to keep their families together or the- a roof over their head and so forth and uh, I just want to say thank you to Cecil, who’s also a Virgo (laughs) and uh, thank you to everybody here who’s made it possible, and send a telegram to- to President [Gerald] Ford and tell him uh, to appoint a woman to the Supreme Court.

Voice in crowd: Yeah.

St. James: And she doesn’t have to be a whore.

Crowd: (Applause)

Brown: Anytime Cecil holds a meeting, we always have plenty of undercover police people in the audience. That was not a solicitation, when Margo suggested you should come around some times.

Crowd: (Laughter)

Brown: From the religious community of San Francisco, a young man came upon the scene, became an inspiration for a whole lot of people. He’s done fantastic things, and that’s what I love about this great city, that how there is in fact somebody to respond anytime there is a need. Cecil with regularity has had to call – just as he has been called upon – he has had to call upon Peoples Temple. Many of the rest of us have had to call upon Peoples Temple, the man who is in fact Peoples Temple. Let me present to you the man who bought one thousand tickets for tonight’s concert as a part of Cecil’s celebration. Reverend Jim Jones.

Crowd: (Extended, thunderous applause)

Jones: (Laughs) That nearly caused me to forget everything I had to say.

Crowd: (Laughter)

Jones: I was reading with great interest the appraisal of- of Cecil’s work in the Chronicle yesterday, and some of his goals, he’s achieved so much in reference to helping humanity we couldn’t enumerate. But one of his goals was to assist the – putting it in my words – the up and outer. He’s done the plenty for the down and outer. I think it’s time that this country realizes that, not only are the poor not represented, the poor needs are not being met, minorities’ needs are b- not being met, but no one is really safe in this land, even with its great heritage, unless we come together and do some real correctional therapy in our own homeland. We’re in a difficult time. I was just thinking of the [Randolph] Hearst situation, his own daughter [Patricia Hearst] involved in whatever- by what means involved in political activity that they have considered terrorist. With all of his money and resources, he’s not able to protect his daughter, because his daughter’s undergoing the same kind of attacks that minorities have undergone for years. And I hope that the rich will soon realize, those who feel that they are particularly advantaged, that this country will not be safe until we do something to share the wealth and share it completely, and fairly, and democratically, and peacefully.

Crowd: (Applause)

Jones: Peace. Peace, peace, peace, peace.

Crowd: (Applause)

Jones: Because no one is safe. The only person that we find has been safe in this country in the last few years is Mr. Nixon [former President Richard Nixon]. He’s walking safely around, and he stole half the nation.

Crowd: (Applause)

Jones: So the system better awaken to the fact that people like Cecil Williams and Angela Davis, who are attempting to bring about change peacefully, had better be listened to very attentively, ’cause terrorism was not invented by the poor.

Voice in crowd: All right.

Jones: We have been reading of the terrorism of agencies of government against such people as Martin Luther King, and this week [syndicated columnist] Carl Rowan suggests from some sources that he has, that undoubtedly the agencies of government were even involved in the extermination of Dr. King. Terrorism has been bred by this great country with all of its wealth and its resources and heritage, it’s been bred from Chile, Vietnam, Portugal. I read on- I heard on BBC just the other day- well, you never read much about it here in the press, but we- I read the other day that 25 communists had been assassinated, 25 communist leaders had been assassinated in Portugal. So terrorism was not a creation of the poor. It’s a reaction to the terrorism that we’ve been living under for years, being minorities and being disenfranchised and being impoverished.

Crowd: (Applause)

Jones: I was very glad- I was very glad to see that the establishment media gave proper credit where credit was due to Reverend Williams. Too often, I think, though they save this nation, we owe a great, great deal of gratitude to the press, because it was through the exposé of Watergate and the fine work of the press that we perhaps have at least avoided fascism for a while. But the elements are still here. Senate Bill One is lurking on the scene. One district attorney who’s a member of my church [Tim Stoen] said that he had communiqué from high level agencies saying that they expect great activity this year, terrorist acts, and that bills like Senate Bill One will go passing, sailing through. And Senate Bill One is the ushering in of a police state.

Scattered in crowd: That’s right.

Jones: And I think that the press and all people of good will, even upper class people like Mr. Hearst have to realize that this country has too long been in the hands of a few rulers, a ruling class, it’s a limited few, and it doesn’t make any difference if you own a few newspapers and ha- and you have several million dollars of assets, if you want to stand up for your daughter and want to defend her, you’re going to be maligned and you’re going to be persecuted like all the rest of us poor niggers have been for many, many years.

Crowd: (Applause)

Jones: Peace.

Crowd: (Applause)

Jones: Peace. I’m not talking about the suspicions of people to the left, I’m saying what is in the press. The terror of Chile that we have admitted to. The attempted assassinations of Doctor- or Doctor Castro [Cuban leader Fidel Castro], the assassinations and attempted assassinations of leaders throughout the world.

Voice in crowd: Yes.

Jones: The connivance to overthrow duly elected governments.

Voice in crowd: That’s right.

Jones: Murder Incorporated, at home and abroad.

Crowd: (Scattered shouts)

Jones: And it’s time that all thinking people come together around those that are recommending peaceful change, because if they don’t, they will find that no one is safe.

Voice in crowd: Tell it.

Jones: No one is safe unless we unite. It’s not just a matter of Indians and blacks and poor whites. Mr. Hearst is going to have to recognize too along with all other people that we are niggers in this country, unless we unite under equal sharing and some form of democratic socialism.

Crowd: (Applause)

Jones: Peace. Cecil paved the way when others didn’t have the courage to speak out.

Voice in crowd: That’s right.

Jones: The church has too often been destitute of prophets.

Voice in crowd: Yes.

Jones: We’ve had to look in strange places to find our prophets. But I hope America listens, and listens while there’s still time, because the attitude of the nation lacketh much when it comes to concern. There’s still a great deal of apathy. Blacks being run out and Indians run out of every rural community. University of California says that racism is running rampant, not amongst the old, not amongst the old traditionalist, but amongst America’s youth. We must come together. And we want to come together. But don’t blame the activist for the terror that’s here. And when, even if you are rich and you want to defend your daughter who recognizes that something’s wrong in America like Mr. Hearst did, you can find no sympathy. And no one should be blamed for acts of terror which we do not condone. No one should be blamed for acts of terror, as long as agencies of the government (unintelligible word) networked have admitted- it has been admitted that they have peaceful assemblies, they’ve interrupted it by threats that the house was on fire and risked lives. They’ve threatened lives, they’ve been sent hate letters, they’ve encouraged people to commit suicide, and before it’s over with, we’ll find that they’ve been involved in murder.

Voice in Crowd: That’s right.

Jones: So until the agencies of government that are supposed to pave the way, stop their terror, you can expect that-

Tape edits.

End of side A.

Side B.

Jones: (Tape starts mid-sentence) -terrorist, because he whipped their posteriors out of the temple.

Crowd: (Murmurs)

Jones: And said a few other words too.

Crowd: (Applause)

Jones: Peace. There may be risks on the road to equal sharing, but when we look back over the list of those that have been assassinated-

Scattered in crowd: Yeah.

Jones: And the strange coincidences of those witnesses that have died around Senator [Robert] Kennedy and President [John] Kennedy.

Scattered in crowd: Yeah.

Jones: President Kennedy’s about as rich as you can come in this country, but he chose to be too independent from whatever the ruling class interest was, and he’s now dead. So that ought to speak to all of you, some of you that think that you may be upper class, you are in danger. Your rights are in danger. If Senate Bill One-

Crowd: (Murmurs)

Jones: -and other such laws are passed, we are going to be in a fascist state. And I don’t know what else to say other, than to listen to people like Cecil, that is trying to do it peacefully, that’s trying to help this community and every facet of it, and now has pronounced that he even wants to help the rich realize that you too are niggers and need representation.

Crowd: (Applause)

Voice in crowd: Right, right, hey right, right, beautiful, beautiful, beautiful, now that’s telling it.

Jones: We have brought- we have brought nearly three thousand people here today – and unfortunately most of them couldn’t get in this building – as a testimony to this spokesman and what he has done for our community, as a testimony to his activism and peaceful approach to change in this country. Listen, America. [It] Is amazing that we’re still peaceful. Before coming today, I received three assassination a- threats on my life, and they had me under a- some stupid kind of bulletproof vest, and I looked like a monster so I laid it aside. But what kind of a world is this that we can not even come together without assassinational threats -assassination threats? We’ve helped political prisoners and those that protested for their rights and demonstrated for equality, from Angela Davis to even people that were conservative, and after each time, we’ve been harassed to su- such a miserable degree that it’s amazing we are not terrorists. But as of today, Jim Jones and the thousands of Peoples Temple are still peaceful activists-

Scattered in crowd: Yeah.

Jones: But change, America. There’s one thing we want to tell you, and I think we speak for more than Peoples Temple, if you come for one of us, you damn well better come for all of us.

Crowd: (Applause)

Voice in crowd: Right, right, hey right, right, beautiful, beautiful, right, right, beautiful, right.

Brown: All right. Reverend Jim Jones of Peoples Temple. Let me now present to you a young man who swept the floors of law school with me, got himself elected to the State Senate at about the time that I got elected to the legislature, handled every bill of any significance on the up- in the upper house that I handled in lower house, endorsed every involvement that I had with Cecil, and on many occasions actually made the physical appearance in the evolvement. He’s decided to come home. And he’s coming home in a response from a whole lot of people. On December eighth, out at Winterland in the heart of the Fillmore, he will end his campaign for the mayorship of San Francisco. On the rostrum that night presenting him, will be none other than Cecil Williams. Let me now present to you my candidate for mayor, and the man who’s the peoples’ choice, Senator George Moscone.

Crowd: (Applause)

Moscone: Willie Brown, you don’t need any hook with me, because you know I’m smarter than to give a speech after listening to Reverend Jim Jones.

Crowd: (Applause)

Moscone: Now there are- now there are two people I’m glad I’m not running against, Cecil Williams and Jim Jones. (Laughs)

Crowd: (Laughter)

Moscone: I wouldn’t take uh, three minutes even to, to tell you why I’m here. I’m here because Cecil summoned me. He summoned me ten years ago when he captured my imagination, as he obviously has captured the imagination of so many people throughout this country, by the most simple approach to the relationship of men and women to their environment that I’ve ever seen, one that was ignored by we experts, and that was that government cannot exist unless people know how to love one another. It is just that simple. The religion of joy which I have learned to seize through the example of not only Cecil but his congregation, the desire of public officials to give away the public coffers, when that’s not what the poor want at all, but an elimination of the obstacles that give them the ability to determine for themselves what is best for themselves. Overlooked by us, brought to my attention by Cecil Williams, and for that I am forever grateful. He has done the impossible. In addition to that, he gets nice words from the establishment media. I’ve never been able to do that myself.

Crowd: (Laughter)

Moscone: And neither has Willie Brown.

Crowd: (Laughter and applause)

Moscone: So maybe it is true- so maybe it is true, as Reverend Jones said, (Pause) that when the rich understand that they are to be treated as the poor as well, when the kind of calamity that the poor have endured all their lives befalls them, then we will have a coming together of all people, regardless of their economics. That when we learn a sharing of all of the material benefits of this country, that when we learn a sharing of all the intangible benefits of this country in the nature of love for everyone, then and only then will this country be a safe place in which all people can live. Let me end my remarks by thanking Cecil Williams personally, for whom I had a resolution from the Senate, but Cecil, I can’t give it to you. And I’ll tell you why I can’t give it to you. Because so many unworthy people have received similar resolutions over the years as a simple cheap political tactic, and I don’t want you to have that. God bless you, baby.

Crowd: (Applause)

Brown: For many years, Cecil was associated with a man named Ed Freeman, who is now in San Francisco, the director of the OMI trucking company – that’s Ocean View, Merced, Ingleside – and Cecil’s longtime friend and the one man who can tell us more about Cecil than anybody else, but he’s going to make it brief. Ed Freeman.

Crowd: (Scattered applause)

Freeman: (Laughs) Let me just say that uh, certainly I’m the longtime friend of Cecil, and I do dearly love the man, but I uh, I really don’t know how much I know about Cecil because Cecil is uh, kind of unreal and uh, I, I, I love the cat dearly, and he has helped us immensely. I’d like to say uh, a few words. I’m very pleased to be here to uh, uh, Cecil and uh, certainly I’m grateful to your family – your mother, your father and your brothers and sisters – for giving you up to the Bay Area. And uh, certainly we’re pleased to have you, because since you’ve been here uh, certainly the Bay Area has seen nothing but change, and you certainly are a, a force and a power for change. I recall only a few years ago when Cecil went to Africa and, um, Cecil went to Africa and I told Cecil that, um, when he got back, we would have a throng of people at the airport to meet him. And uh, frankly I didn’t know how I was going to do that, I was just jiving and uh, what happened was, I came to Glide on the Sunday that Cecil happened to be arriving from Africa. And the beautiful people were here, just like you are here today, and we just simply made an announcement that Cecil is at the airport and he’ll be here in a couple of hours. Let’s go out to meet him. And four, five hundred people went out to the airport that day, and the international airport has not seen anything like it before or since.

Crowd: (Light applause)

Freeman: Uh, (laughs) the people were marching down the, the corridors chanting, “Cecil, Cecil, Cecil,” and uh, we were waiting in anticipation when Cecil stepped uh, from the, from the airplane and uh, believe me uh, he was like Moses coming down from the mountain top uh, when- (Laughs) when Cecil stepped off the plane. And uh, he has been a beautiful brother and uh, we certainly love him and respect him. And uh, I would like to say uh, in closing that, um, certainly you’ve heard about the UFOs and the unidentified flying objects flying around, and no one knows uh, who have been piloting those things, and what I would suggest that you do and that we all do is keep an eye on Cecil, because the cat is unreal. (Laughs)

Crowd: (Applause)

Brown: Cecil’s thing all started with somebody, and that somebody has journeyed here from Texas to participate in this celebration. I’m simply going to introduce Cecil’s family to you, just before I present the man himself. Let me start by asking Mr. Earl Williams, Cecil’s father, to please stand.

Crowd: (Applause)

Brown: That’s where it all started. That’s the seed.

Crowd: (Applause)

Brown: Now this dude was out of sight because Cecil’s got four or five brothers and some sisters here. I am going to introduce them to you too. First, where is Earl Junior? Where is your older brother, Cecil? Over there, over there.

Crowd: (Applause)

Brown: That’s the older bother, that’s Earl- That’s Earl Junior.

Crowd: (Applause)

Brown: Where’s your sister Johnny? Johnny Cavanaugh? All the way out here from Austin, Texas.

Crowd: (Applause)

Brown: Where is Rudy? (Pause) Huh? Reedy and his wife. Where’s Reedy? That’s his wife, where’s Reedy?

Crowd: (Applause)

Brown: Where’s Jack?

Crowd: (Applause)

Brown: And Claudius. Where’s Rusty? He’s back there doing security, right, as usual? And his wife, Elmira. Where are you, Elmira?

Crowd: (Applause)

Brown: Now, there is a Webster Cavanaugh and a Lewis Miller. Is Webster here? Webster’s the husband of Mrs. Cavanaugh, and Leon Miller – little Leon – is the grandson.

Crowd: (Applause)

Brown: Now Cecil has two kids, and you know them both. Kim and Albert. Where are you, Kim and Albert?

Crowd: (Applause)

Brown: And the first lady (Pause) of the Williams’ household- (Pause) and it’s really very difficult to do the appropriate honors to a wife who has to put up with as much as the wife of any man in public life, but particularly one like Cecil Williams. Let me present to you, Eve Williams.

Crowd: (Applause)

Brown: Stand up again, Eve. Stand up again.

Crowd: (Applause)

Brown: She’s been with Cecil through it all. I ran into-

Crowd: (Laughter)

Brown: She said, “Right.” I ran into her at Macy’s the other night, buying rugs. It’s good, Eve, to see you, you so pretty. She’s a Texas woman too, that’s the (unintelligible phrase). Marshal, Texas. (Pause) You know, I first met Cecil and Eve many, many years ago when Cecil was still a student in the seminary. Cecil was the replacement minister for the summer, in the Methodist church of which I am a member. I was impressed at that time, and I knew he belonged to San Francisco, and when he finally found the way out here from Kansas, it was a great day for all of us, and it was a re- great to renew the friendship. I frankly know of no one in San Francisco on whom I rely and have such love, such understanding and such rapport as I have with Cecil Williams. Let me now present to you everybody’s favorite San Franciscan, Reverend A. Cecil Williams.

Crowd: (Applause)

Brown: Let it just roll down him, let it roll down him.

Crowd: (Applause)

Williams: Um, what could I say except uh, first of all I want to thank uh, my wife and Kim and Albert for putting up with me.

Crowd: (Laughter)

Williams: I had to put up with you too. Don’t forget that.

Crowd: (Laughter)

Williams: Uh, for my dad, who bore- who brought- who really worked out, there’s no doubt about it. Because he’s got four sons with just five age- you know, five years difference in the four sons in their birth, so he was working out, ain’t no doubt about it.

Crowd: (Laughter)

Williams: But for my dad, who’s a very beautiful man, very s- very sweet man. Sometimes I think he’s too sweet, but he’s sweet, he really is. He’s a sweet man. And to my sister who uh, who is the oldest of the children but uh, who’s like the youngest in many ways who uh, did so much for, for me, and of course my uh, brothers, uh, who still fight with me, and I fight with them, ’cause I ain’t going to let them overtake me and they ain’t going to let me overtake them. No, it’s groovy- it’s really something. I want to thank my family, my sister-in-laws, and my family very much. I want to thank the Glide community. I want to thank so many people who are part of the Glide community, for what you’ve meant to me. It’s been a struggle, but that’s what makes it so important, years of struggle. Not just here but out there, and I think this is much more important for those of us who come to Glide, that the struggle is out there also and that we participate in it. To- to my staff who’ve done just a great job. Janice Mirikatani [phonetic].

Crowd: (Applause)

Williams: To- (Pause) And I’m going to tell you who got out the press. Jan got out the press, that’s who did it. There’s nobody that has the contacts with press like she does. She’s- has a phenomenal way of working with press. With uh, with my brother Dusty who works as, as security uh, with Reedy and others uh, who works with Azzie, with Pat, Mary Louise, Ray. Just a lot of people who- who work. Lloyd Walkie, Ed Pete, Rabbi Fein- Fein- Feinberg. Just staff, you know. Michael Phillips. All just great. Ruth uh, Ruth what? Godstein, yeah. You see what’s happening to me. My head is beginning to get tired now, and I’m not going to say much more, because we got a thing tonight. I’m going to be on the stage with the band.

Crowd: (Applause)

Williams: And the m- important thing about what’s gone happen tonight, is every dance group you saw here today, the community groups are gone be there on the stage with the big band too.

Crowd: (Applause)

Williams: These singers are going to be there. You know, it ain’t no need of pulling- (Pause) It ain’t no need of bringing the superstars in, unless you do something with the people of the community, you see. And the amazing thing about it is that we’ve got hundreds of people from the communities. We were able to twist some arms and get some money, and we were- have been able to buy, I don’t know how many tickets for community groups, they gone be sitting right up front, and the rest of us gone s- be sitting behind them. These are the poor people I’m talking about, right up front.

Crowd: (Applause)

Williams: Now I just want to say that it’s happening. It’s really happening. Uh, the band has been at uh, the Cow Palace all day rehearsing. You going to see a production tonight, it’s not a concert. It’s a production. The buses will be here for those of you that need to catch buses to go there in a very short time. City buses, they’re free. You don’t have to pay to go on the bus, just get on the bus and go on out there, and any bus, it will bring you back after the concert. But I do want to say something. And I’m going to say it, because I ain’t jiving about it. I’m really serious. What really gets me, Jim Jones not only got threatening calls, but I got one. Today. And I just want whoever it is to try to do something to me. You may get me, but you going to get it too, baby.

Crowd: (Applause)

Williams: I ain’t lying.

Crowd: (Applause)

Williams: And it was one of the most serious threats I’ve ever had on my life. You know, they wasn’t jiving. This was not a jivin’ one. But wherever I am-

Voice in the crowd: (Unintelligible)

Williams: Huh? Yeah, but wherever I am-  I’m gone tell you – whoever it is – I think we kind of got you on the case anyway, we sorta know who you are, if you raise your hand, we gone cut your hand off your body.

Crowd: (Applause)

Williams: You know it really m- angers me, that Angela and Jim and Carlton [Goodlett, publisher of San Francisco Sun-Reporter] and a lot of us uh, John, brother John from the uh, from uh, the uh, Black Muslims Temple, we have to go through this kind of harassment constantly. And I ain’t lying, I ain’t- I don’t take nothing, I don’t turn my cheek when it comes to my life, ’cause I ain’t got no martyr complex from- no, for- about nothing. You know. And I want you to know that I ain’t just carrying this coat for nothing.

Crowd: (Laughter and scattered applause)

Williams: You see? I ain’t jiving. You know. And I ain’t got people around me just looking out of their eyes crazy. So whoever you are, wherever you are, I’m gone tell you right now, you may try, (Pause) but you going to get it too – I ain’t lying to you – and we ain’t going to wait for nobody to come pick you up and take you down, okay?

Crowd: (Applause)

Williams: You ain’t going to get no trial. Shit.

Crowd: (Applause)

Williams: There ain’t going to be no trial for you, baby, whoever you are. I want you toknow that. I’m sick of it, I’m tired of it. Uh- so many of us having to go through it. And you know what? The amazing thing about all this, is the fact that people think it bothers us. It don’t bother me. I just take care of my business. I want you to know that, okay? Now I’ve said enough, I am going to cl- stop.

Crowd: (Applause)

Williams: What I want to see us to do – ’cause the artists are here and everything is on – I want to see you at the Cow Palace tonight. Really. It’s gone be something. It really is. There’s some tickets left I think downstairs at the tic – if you want to get those tickets, they’re there for five fifty, six fifty, seven fifty, ten dollars. That’s all I got to say. I want to thank you and uh, I want you to know that you mean so much to me. I hope I will continue to mean so much to you.

Crowd: (Applause)

Brown: All right, Reverend A. Cecil Williams. Ten years of undying dedicated effort, wiping out the vestige of injustice wherever it may be.

(Tape edit)

(Long pause)

(Music and rhythmic clapping)

End of side B

Tape originally posted June 2005

Last modified on February 18th, 2016.
Skip to main content