Elijah C. (Zeke) Boyd
In the 1960s Elijah C. (Zeke) Boyd met with Allen Salisbury who eventually joined the BPP (Black Panther Party - originally the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense - , LP note) in Baltimore. He and Zeke showed up draped in bullets.
Allen Salisbury (picture|) wound up running that wretched radio station in Brunswick, MD and died very young in 1992 of colon cancer. He wrote the LC book The Civil War and the American System: America's Battle with Britain, 1860-1876 (EIR: Washington, D.C., 1992, a reprint of the 1978 Campaigner Publications edition).
Zeke is married to Barbara M. (Boyd) who works for the legal sector of the LaRouche organization, is treasurer of the Lyndon LaRouche Political Action Committee (LPAC) and a spokeswoman for the LaRouche Youth Movement (LYM).
06-05-2009, 03:57 AM
In the summer of 1970, Zeke Boyd – already a member of the LC (Labor Committees, LaRouche's organization, LP note)– wrote a long missive to the BPP HQ in Oakland complaining that the Baltimore BPP was lying about his past. The major lie they were telling was that he had been “expelled” from the BPP. In reality: “I QUIT THE PARTY.” The guy most behind the attack on Boyd was the new Defense Captain of the Baltimore BPP, John Clark. However the history of Boyd and the BPP dates back to an earlier Captain named Warren Hart.
Here now is Boyd’s version of events.
OUT OF THE ARMY
On 7 December 1967, Elijah “Zeke” Boyd was officially discharged from the Army with the rank of staff sergeant. He joined the Army around 1961 and his last assignment was Vietnam where he served in Company B of the 41st Signal Battalion (C.A.). Returning to the Baltimore area, he got a job as a data clerk in a bank. He was completely apolitical.
Following MLK’s death, there was a riot in Baltimore. The liberal city fathers created “One City Indivisible” and Zeke attended his first political meeting. (It was here he first ran across longtime Baltimore socialist gadfly and soon-to-be LC member Bob Kaufmann.) Zeke then got a job as a youth organizer with the Community Action Agency in Turner Station, Maryland.
FIRST ENCOUNTERS WITH BPP
At Turner Station, Zeke decided to bring some BPP members to meet the kids. Alas, he picked a group that he thought were the Panthers but turned out to be an organization of black cultural nationalists called The Society of Unified Liberation (SOUL) led by Xugunna Lumumba. They were not real Black Panthers, just over the top cultural nationalists.
Zeke was unimpressed.
Zeke then moved to Baltimore. He joined forces the Anti-Imperialist Movement (AIM), a Maoist-oriented group founded by Mike McKain. Zeke went to Montreal to take part in the “Hemispheric Conference to End the War in Vietnam.” Speakers from the NLF attended the conference which was sponsored by the Canadian CP. Bobby Seale also flew in to speak. At the conference, Zeke identified himself with the BPP. The NLF delegates gave them rings made of shot down US planes. They gave the women jewelry made from the same material.
Zeke asked Seale where he can find the Baltimore BPP. Seale told him to track down Warren Hart. Back in Baltimore, Zeke meets “Smitty,” a BPP “captain” who says he’s never heard of Hart. Finally Hart appears. It turns out he had been in Oakland. Finally after a couple of weeks of looking for him, Zeke and Hart connect. Hart is the historical founder of the Baltimore branch of the BPP.
During a meeting, the BPP takes a vote for leadership: Zeke comes in first, Hart comes in second and Charles Smith (presumably “Smitty”?) winds up third. BUT the Panthers get a visit from New York led by Col. Joudan Ford, Ahmed Cetewayo [presumably Michael “Cetewayo” Tabor] and Dharuba [presumably Richard “Dharuba” Moore]. Ford tells them that the BPP doesn’t vote for leaders. Ford then decides who should be BPP leader “by flipping a coin.” Warren Hart wins the coin toss. Hart is now the new “Defense Captain.” They are all into Mao.
On Christmas Eve 1968 Boyd is arrested in some BPP –related incident in the bus terminal. (See the 17 February 1969 issue of the BPP paper.) Around the same time, supporters in Annapolis give the BPP $1,500 IF they will just open a branch in Annapolis. But Hart takes the money and there is no Annapolis branch.
MEETING THE NCLC
Zeke heard a local radio interview with members of the Philly LC who were visiting Baltimore. They talked about the bomb plot and how the black cultural nationalists had ruined the strike at the University of Pennsylvania. They discussed how they had worked with the Philadelphia wing of the BPP against the nationalists to try to stop them from wrecking the Penn Strike.
Zeke was so impressed by what he heard that he organized a meeting for the SDS LC to speak at the Baltimore BPP HQ. About 60 people showed up. But while Zeke was out picking up people for the talk in a car, a “racist BPP member (who was later expelled) freaked out at all the white people present and shut down the talk.
As for the BPP leader Hart, after he saw how interested Zeke had become in the LC, he got angry at him. Hart wants Boyd out of the BPP. Hart then goes to Oakland. When he returns, he says that anyone involved with PLP is a racist. [Presumably Hart thinks the LC is part of PLP/also recall the BPP in Chicago worked with the Weathermen in the 1969 convention against PL.] Hart tells Boyd either quite going to LC meetings or quit the BPP.
Boyd makes his decision: “I quit the BPP.” Boyd says he was not expelled. He quit. It is a lie to say he was expelled and Clark should stop lying.
Three weeks later Boyd’s trial takes place. There is no one from the BPP there to support him.
One month later, Zeke hears that Hart has been removed from power. He is replaced by a new Defense Captain named John Clark. Zeke isn’t impressed with him either. Clark also seems to think the LC and PLP are the same. As for Boyd, he is in no hurry to rejoin the BPP.
In October 1969, Boyd brings Bob Kaufman (A. Robert Kaufman, a long time Baltimore socialist activist and early LC member) to talk politics at the BPP HQ with Clark. They propose a united front with the BPP. The proposal [obviously based on the Philadelphia model] is totally rejected.
At the time the BPP was working with the “Mother Jones Collective” and they wanted to orient to recruiting “lumpen.” The LC is opposed to this approach. One Mary Mattsen (from the National Committee to Combat Fascism) wants Zeke out of any coalition work. Turns out she has been given the word from Clark. Zeke is even shut out from jointly writing a leaflet even though his participation had been agreed to beforehand.
To further attack Zeke, Clark puts out the lie that Boyd was expelled from the BPP when in reality Boyd quit after Hart gave him an ultimatum. Clark also complains that Boyd “brought that crazy white mother-f-cker ” to the BPP HQ.
Then on 23 April 1970, the BPP office is raided by the Baltimore police. The LC joins in the organized defense of the BPP against the police attack.
The Old Mole Files have captured a very interesting glimpse at the local Baltimore BPP in its early days and much more besides as we shall see.
Clearly Boyd’s letter to Oakland is part of a broader LC attempt to win Oakland HQ over to collaboration with the LC. Recall that around the same time, leading LC members are also flying to Oakland to meet with the Panther leadership over the “Philadelphia bomb plot” issue.
Boyd opens his letter to Oakland with the comment that he is complaining about Panther leader John Clark and his lies but he also points out that Clark had recently been “kidnapped.” To understand both the specific reference and the history of the BPP in Baltimore, we examine Judson L. Jeffries, “Black Radicalism and Political Repression in Baltimore: the Case of the Black Panther Party” in Ethnic and Racial Studies, Vol. 25, No. 1 (January 2002).
After King’s assassination, Baltimore went through an incredible riot. Six people were killed, more than 700 hundred were injured and over 1,000 businesses destroyed during six days of disorder. Then-Governor Spiro Agnew declared martial law and sent in 5,500 National Guardsmen to aid the 1,200 police. Nearly 6,000 people were arrested.
In the wake of the riots, “Warren Hart founded the Baltimore chapter of the BPP in 1968. Less than a year later Hart was accused of operating the Baltimore branch as a social club and was demoted from captain to a rank and file member. Shortly thereafter, he was expelled by the national office for ‘irregularities.’ As a result, John Clark, who had been active in the organization in Los Angeles, was sent to Baltimore to head the local branch.” However in August 1970, Clark was extradited to Los Angeles and charged with possession of a deadly weapon. This, then, clearly was the event that Boyd referred to in his opening remark about Clark being “kidnapped.”
As for the crackdown on the BPP, the real crackdown took place on May 1, 1970 (right around Kent State and Jackson State) when the Baltimore police carried out a series of raids on known Panther hangouts and homes. Some 150 police were involved. The Baltimore raids “resulted in four party members being arrested on weapons charges and six members arrested for the murder of Panther Eugene Lee Anderson, a suspected informant.”
Needless to say, Boyd was long out of the BPP when the raids occurred.
BOYD AS A VICTIM OF CONINTELPRO
The Baltimore BPP was heavily infiltrated. According to Frank Donner, no police department “placed so heavily an emphasis on informers as a way of neutralizing dissident groups as did Baltimore’s Inspectional Services Division.” Baltimore had at least four informants.
“The job of one Baltimore informant was to disrupt what was already a tenuous alliance between the Panthers and the Students for a Democratic Society [SDS]. This informant was instructed to portray SDS as an ‘elite corps of chauvinistic whites who wanted to exploit the BPP.’ These efforts mush have succeeded. A memo dated 26 August 1969 reported: “BPP members have been instructed not to associate with SDS members or attend any SDS affairs.” Another memo reported that ‘an officer of the Baltimore chapter [name deleted] was expelled from the chapter for his association with an SDS member.’” [Source for the memo is James Davis’s1977 book: The FBI & the Sixties Antiwar Movement.]
Of course “[name deleted]” has a name and it is almost certainly Elijah “Zeke” Boyd.
(For a BPP memoir mentioning Zeke Boyd, see http://www.itsabouttimebpp.com/Chapter_History/pdf/Baltimore/Baltimore_Chapter_BPP.pdf)
Hence in spite of all the rumors circulated through CP circles during Mop Up that Zeke had been "expelled" from the BPP and that somehow he must have been an "agent," the reality seems to be exactly the opposite. If anything, it was local police informants who forced Boyd out of the BPP even if he claimed he quit on his own volition or was "expelled."