Prison Radio
Mumia Abu-Jamal

Mr. Augustus Baxter is a member of the school board of Philadelphia, which has, at this point in time, a majority of students who are Black. That exact percentage is close to 70%. My question to you and the realm of questioning we’ll deal with, does the school board, that is, the educational system, the Board of Education, deal with that reality? If so, how does it do it? If it has shortfalls, how does it fall short of those goals?

Part of the problem in a system is that most board members recognize the racial composition of the system. But the system is still a predominantly white system operated and supported for the white community. For example, I would say that district eight seems to carry more weight than the other seven districts combined. That’s possibly because there is a large percentage of board members who live in district eight, but it seems like most of the political support and things that come from district eight brings great attention to the board and the board wants to find reasons to resolve any problem dealing with district eight. My concern as a school board member is that every district requires equal attention. However, the school system itself is undergoing transition. And they are now faced with the reality that we’ve got to develop the kinds of things that meet and suit the needs of the children who are the majority within the public school system.

You’ve seen the living conditions here. You’ve seen the homes of many of the tenant leaders and many of the people who are not even active in the tenant organization. What’s your feeling on what you’ve seen here?

I feel the whole total problem is inhumane for any people to live on the condition that exists here East State Street Village.

What comes to mind when you think about possible solutions to the problem?

Possible solution is to condemn this place and move people out of here as quickly as possible.

In your feeling, your estimation, where will they go from here?

Well, HUD has available properties throughout the city of Camden, and the city also have property that could be renovated for people of East State Street Village.

So you think solutions can come both by federal and city means for the residents.

Exactly. Without bureaucratic red tape, which people out here at East State Street Village don’t need at this time.

Thank you.