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Sunday, 27 February 2011

Field Marshall DC by Billy X

I was in San Francisco at Emory Douglas' home when Barbara Cox called to tell me that DC (Donald Cox) had died in his sleep in France. I felt very bad as I told Emory the news. I was feeling pretty good up to that point. We were talking to some young actors about a  play they wanted to do on the BPP. I also told them, as they were very interested in the history of the Party. In fact they asked about DC earlier.  I told Emory that this is a bad day in our Legacy of the BPP; that we lost a good soldier.  DC was the Field Marshall of the BPP.  His responsibilities included checking out the many (48) BPP offices to make sure they were able to defend themselves and were carrying out the correct principles of the Party. 
  Everyday last week, I was in communication with Kathleen Cleaver and Barbara Cox about an exhibit I am putting together on the World Impact of the Black Panther Party.  Last year we were in Tanzania for a Conference we cosponsored with the UAACC.  While there, Pete O'Neal gave me some photos for the It's About Time Archives. The photos were taken at the International Section of the BPP in Algiers from 1970-1972 while DC was there.. These are the only photos I know of from the BPP Embassy. Pete and Charlotte O'Neal worked there for a while before moving to Tanzania in 1972.
 Many of the photos were of Panthers and people I didn't know, so everyday I would  send photos to Kathleen and Barbara, and they would e-mail back their comments. Just the other day I e-mailed some pictures of DC at the embassy with African Leaders and a photo of Yasser Arafat with DC. So everyday we would communicate about the International Section and DC.
   I first saw DC at some rallies at the Alameda County Courthouse in 1968 and at Bobby Hutton Park. I didn't know his name until I joined the BPP. He worked out of National HQ's and San Francisco was his base. He worked out of the office in the Fillmore. DC was highly respected in the Party and on campus at SF State and the streets of SF.
  In 1968 I worked out of the E. Oakland office which was run by Captain Robert Bay.  He was also a student at SF State. In 1968, the BSU led a strike at SF State College for an Ethnic Studies Dept. The college was the scene of a big strike and we as Party members supported the Black Students on campus. We would ride over to the campus in full Panther gear to show support for the strike. I would see DC on campus in support of the students and also George Murray who was our Minister of Education of the BPP. George also taught English at the college and was fired for his support of the students.
  As time went on I would see DC at Political Education Classes which were held at the National HQ's. DC was always well dressed, but he was very quiet. He was a very private person but open and friendly at the same time.
 A few years back, Gail and I went to visit DC in France which was great trip. We drove from Nice to the mountain that was up in the clouds to see DC. He lived way up there in a beautiful home he rebuilt. It was large and had octagon windows with a breathtaking view. In the far background from his living room window you could see an old castle on a ridge miles away. He said the house was first built in the1840's, but he added on the modern things like inside plumbing and showers in the bathroom. He built a nice communication center, with all the modern toys. He had a PC, a radio and record player with albums.  He also had a DVD and CD player, but not cable TV. He watched the news twice a day in the morning and evening. He spent his time gardening and growing flowers to sell to perfume companies. This home was part of a farming commune, but most of the people moved away to the city.  DC loved the peace and quiet and didn't mind being by himself.
  Barbara said he was working in his garden earlier in the day. He was starting to turn over the soil  to prepare for spring. On our visit with DC we spent a lot of time talking about the mistakes of the BPP. He told me he liked the website, and that it was a good thing a Rank and File member ran it, to keep the facts straight. After a few days we had to leave DC  which was sad.   He got us interested in castles and the way they were defended. He was a great historianand  he studied the history of where he lived and even found some old coins while digging to put the plumbing in his house. The coins were so old that it took him a while to find out about them. They were from the 1200's.
    I loved DC for what he stood for.  To me he was a rare individual and has always been one of my hero's because he lived by his principles and taught by example. On several occasions, the government tried to kill him., like when they raided the SF office.    Everybody that I know  respected DC. If he had your back, he had your back, a man of his word. I will miss my brother. For those of you whom never knew DC, please check his link on our website.  Check under Field Marshall and check Our Stories chapter 5: Barbara Cox story.
on www.itsabouttimebpp.com

A revolution now cannot be confined to the place or people where it may commence, but flashes with lightning speed from heart to heart, from land to land, til it has traversed the globe ...
--Frederick Douglass

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