Rap Brown's Deadly Return

A legendary black militant is accused of murder

When I first met H. Rap Brown, during the long, hot summer of 1967, the chairman of the wildly misnamed Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee was a hotheaded black revolutionary. As a cub reporter for the Washington Post, I covered a speech he delivered in Cambridge, Md., exhorting a crowd of angry young blacks: "If America don't come around, we're gonna burn America down!" His fiery rhetoric notwithstanding, he was less responsible for the arson and sniping that erupted later that night than was the jittery white cop who angered the crowd by firing a shotgun, slightly wounding Rap in the forehead.


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