Black Silent Majority: The Rockefeller Drug Laws and the Politics of Punishment

by Michael Javen Fortner,
The Florida Courier, October 23, 2015

In 1967, the Rev. Oberia Dempsey, the youth minister at the Abyssinian Baptist Church (who had also held the ceremonial position of “Mayor of Harlem),” declared that criminal behavior related to drugs had gotten out of hand. “Take the junkies off the streets and put ’em into camps,” Dempsey recommended. “Sure the Civil Liberties Union and the NAACP would howl about violation of constitutional rights. But we’ve got to end this terror and restore New York to decent people. Instead of fighting all the time for civil rights we should be fighting civil wrongs.”

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