Whom Should We Fear? Donald Trump or the Media
April 22, 2016 by Herbert Daughtry
Significantly, Bob Herbert, an African American writer for the New York Daily News, who was at the funeral has a completely different version of what I said. In the Daily News, August 27, 1991, he wrote, “The most sensible comments at the funeral were made by the Rev. Herbert Daughtry. Way back in the 1970s, Daughtry was marching against the double standards that applied on the one hand to the Hasidim in Crown Heights and on the other, to the African American and Caribbean people in the neighborhood. Also in Williamsburg.
‘We warned that the seeds of discord if ignored, would reap a bitter harvest,’ Daughtry said yesterday. The tensions between Blacks and Jews in Crown Heights and Williamsburg were not secret.
They were written about in every newspaper and covered on television, but still the double standard prevailed. Daughtry mentioned the notorious occasion in which a police precinct was put under siege by the Hasidim, and he wondered aloud what would happen if a New York City police station was ever overrun by a mob of Blacks.
‘I warned that there was going to come an eruption,’ Daughtry said, ‘that people were not going to take this.’ But no one listened.
‘If we let events drift and drift and drift, we’ll be back here again,’ he said. He urged whomever was willing to listen do something now. ‘Don’t wait until it explodes.'”
Let me convey to you what I perceive to be the ingredients in Williamsburg to which I was referring. Once there was the struggle around the public schools. The Satmar wanted to set up dividing walls in the schools. After an intense struggle, this effort was rejected. On the matter of housing, although they are the minority, they want the lion’s share of the housing; the issue is in litigation brought by the Latino leaders. Again, there was intense struggle. There have been attacks on police officers – Ganson Chambers and Hector Arisa. Mr. Arisa complained about the double standard and was transferred. There was the destruction of the 90th Precinct, Police Officers were hurt, but no Hasid was arrested or hurt.
A similar thing was done in Crown Heights in 1977 and also in Borough Park. Hasidim destroyed police precincts, injured police officers, and nothing happened to them. The slightest violation or apparent violation of the law by Blacks and Latinos results in beatings, jails, and sometimes death. Also, in Williamsburg, there have been persistent complaints of the Satmar Patrol attacking innocent citizens. In 1989, a young man named Pickney was beaten by some say 100 Satmar Hasidim, similar to the beating of Victor Rhodes, a 16-year-old Black youth, who was beaten by 30-50 members of the Lubavitch Hasidim.
In two separate meetings, I implored Mr. Andrew Maloney, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, to investigate not only the attack on Pickney, but also the Satmar community. I tried to persuade him that they were a very powerful group who were in collusion with the city government and other powerful elements. They had used their power in violent, discriminatory, and oppressive ways.
I reminded him that, in the South, when this was done by hate groups like the KKK, the Federal government would intercede. Of course, nothing ever happened. Mr. Pickney will never return to normalcy. His father, some months later died of cancer. I am sure his condition was exacerbated by the savage attack which left his son unconscious. No Hasidim was ever arrested.
Finally, why didn’t you inform the public that I walked the streets day and night, trying to prevent violence? It is recorded in Peter Noel’s article in the September 3, 1991 edition of the Village Voice and also the article in the August 23, 1991 edition of the New York Newsday. Mr. Noel and others were on the scene and saw with their own eyes what I said and did in Crown Heights.
However, I know that this request is an exercise in futility. I am certain that you are not going to be fair and honest, even if God screamed in your ears. For the image of my quietly and honestly trying to prevent violence, urging constructive channels for discontent, bringing people together to find solutions, and appealing for swift and meaningful change does not fit into the concerted scheme to defame and discredit carried on by some of the journalists at the New York Post and its few cohorts; and, therefore, you have tried to create another image.
Rev. Herbert Daughtry
National Presiding Minister
END OF LETTER
I can’t end with my critics. I rather conclude with gratitude to some of the Black news people who were courageously supportive or committed to the truth. I know that they, especially in the white press, must have been under severe pressure to terminate or tone down their coverage of me. Headlined in the Sunday Daily News, Earl Caldwell wrote a personal profile entitled, “Rev. Daughtry Is Fit To Be A King.”
C. Gerald Frazier wrote an article in the New York Times entitled “Feisty Preacher in Vanguard of Rights Issues in Brooklyn.” I also received support from Gil Noble, Bill McCreary, Peter Noel, Bob Herbert, Percy Sutton (owner of WLIB Radio, which was dedicated to the movement at that time), Thomas Watkins (the publisher of the Daily Challenge and Afro Times), and the late Bill Tatum (owner and publisher of the Amsterdam News).
On August 31, 1991, in an editorial, Mr.Tatum wrote, “When leadership did emerge, it was essentially Black leadership, and that leadership did what it could to contain the violence by engaging the youth and protest marches and prayer… Then, there were those who effectively led. They were the gentleman who are now being blamed for the violence and the unrest: Al Sharpton, Alton Maddox, Colin Moore, Vernon Mason, Rev. Herbert Daughtry and Sonny Carson. It’s a false and unfair charge. It’s quite likely that had it not been for these men, the city might well be now be up in flames.
In addition, in the October 12, 1991 edition, Mr. Tatum printed in the letters to the editor section, “In Praise of Rev. Daughtry.” A reader wrote: “Dear Editor, It is unfortunate that rather than attack societal problems we seem to attack the messenger. My experience has been that Rev. Herbert Daughtry is a human being filled with compassion, concern for serving others; is fair, and exhibits intellectual as well as spiritual honesty. Several meetings where tempers were out of hand and reason was needed, Rev. Daughtry brought that reason.
“No, I am neither a close friend nor have I been asked to write this letter. I am someone who has been a beneficiary of Daughtry’s openness and righteous orientation. When the Rainbow Coalition needed to hammer out a joint statement to bring all Semites (Jews and Arabs) together, Daughtry was there. When there was a need to bring African-Americans and Jews together, Daughtry was there.
“We always talk about living on Monday what you hear taught on Saturday and Sunday. Daughtry does just that. Those who attack him fear the truth. Let his light shine. In faith and fellowship, Robert Deutchman.”
In the August 23, 1991 edition of New York Newsday, in an article entitled, “Fourth Night Brings More Violence,” Curtis Taylor wrote, “But the Rev. Daughtry stayed with the group urging them to stay calm. The marchers went to the Hassidic headquarters calling for the car’s driver: ‘Yosef, Yosef, Yosef!’ Daughtry walked with them, urging calm; and, the crowd left without incident after about 20 minutes.”
… to be continued.