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of four or five thousand sitting in row after row of collapsible wooden chairs and drinking beer from large gallon cans which was the only way to juice that Saturday night, because all the pubs would be shut down by the time this main session of the conference ended.

Emmett was still loaded with the sleepiness of heroin and very much on the nod, his eyes pinned and glassy and all the love taken from them by a heavy look of coldness. He kept himself together, though, knowing that he had to, because in a few minutes he'd be sitting on the stage with all the left-wing superstars and would make a ten-minute speech. A speech he planned and even researched, but now was too fucked up to deliver properly. He had even forgotten his notes back at the house, but it was no big thing, really, because he'd have another chance the following day when the only speaker billed for the afternoon was him, and he had been assured that the response to hear him rap was well worth his having traveled there. So, tonight he figured he would relax and tomorrow do what he came to do.

They were all standing backstage, and Allen Ginsberg fulfilled his usual sincere diplomatic role by introducing him to everybody, one at a time. Suddenly she was standing in front of him, an elegant, gracefully tall black woman with a coiffeured Afro and dressed in a West African robe. She said her name was Angela Davis and that she had been hearing about Emmett and the Diggers in San Diego where she was a student and teacher in the philosophy department at the University of California. She invited him to look her up whenever he was in that part of the state and then let him go as Allen pulled him away towards the cluster of black people surrounding the man in whose entourage Angela Davis was traveling at the time--Stokely Carmichael.

Allen excused and pardon me'd his way through the group, holding onto Emmett and dragging him toward the center and the man who was all decked out in a bright orange shirt. When they reached him, Allen treated the introduction with the decorum he thought appropriate for a historic meeting. The two men were standing face to face only a few feet apart, and the backstage crowd quieted down to maybe hear what was going to be said as Stokely Carmichael stuck out his hand, his face broadening into a smile, intending to say something like "Glad to meet you, brother." But he didn't, because Emmett didn't raise his hand in greeting or change the cold, hard expression on his face or even give any sign that he intended to. He [end page 428]


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