Skip to main content

Search the Special Collections and Archives Portal

Ron Current interview, March 16, 2012: transcript


Download OH_00315_book_o.pdf (application/pdf; 108.9 MB)






Ron Current's heart was always in the right place, with respect to social activism and his dedication to empowering the black community in Las Vegas. Inspired by Black Panther Party founders, Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale, Ron started the Black Panther Party Las Vegas Chapter. He was also the director of public relations for the National Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression; an organization created to work in tandem with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, NAACP, to eliminate racial inequality. Ron describes the overall atmosphere of the Westside community in Las Vegas during the early days, as chaotic, drug infested, and riddled with daily gang related shootings. He also recalls the historic preservation attempts made by leading members of the Westside community, such as Sarann Knight Preddy. Ron recalls working at the University Medical Center while recruiting for the Black Panther Party Las Vegas Chapter. This interview demonstrates the power of love. As the founder and leader of the Black Panther Party Las Vegas Chapter, Ron was named one of the most influential blacks in Las Vegas by the Sentinel Voice. He recalls utilizing his hands-on leadership approach towards capacity building and the successful implementation of community mobilization strategies and methods. He was a champion for educational equity, equal access to employment opportunities, and economic equality in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Digital ID


Physical Identifier



Current, Ron Interview, 2012 March 16. OH-00315. [Transcript]. Oral History Research Center, Special Collections and Archives, University Libraries, University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Las Vegas, Nevada.


This material is made available to facilitate private study, scholarship, or research. It may be protected by copyright, trademark, privacy, publicity rights, or other interests not owned by UNLV. Users are responsible for determining whether permissions are necessary from rights owners for any intended use and for obtaining all required permissions. Acknowledgement of the UNLV University Libraries is requested. For more information, please see the UNLV Special Collections policies on reproduction and use ( or contact us at

Standardized Rights Statement

Digital Provenance

Digitized materials: physical originals can be viewed in Special Collections and Archives reading room





An Interview with Ron Current An Oral History Conducted by Claytee D. White African American Collaborative Oral History Research Center at UNLV University Libraries University of Nevada Las Vegas ©African Americans in Las Vegas: A Collaborative Oral History Project University of Nevada Las Vegas, 2012 COMMUNITY PARTNERS Henderson Libraries Las Vegas Clark County Public Libraries Oral History Research Center at UNLV Libraries University of Nevada Las Vegas Libraries Wiener-Rogers Law Library at William S. Boyd School of Law, UNLV Nevada State Museum, Las Vegas Las Vegas National Bar Association Vegas PBS Clark County Museum Produced by: The Oral History Research Center at UNLV - University Libraries Director: Claytee D. White Project Manager: Barbara Tabach Transcriber: Kristin Hicks Interviewers, Editors and Project Assistants: Barbara Tabach, Claytee D. White, Stefani Evans. • • 11 The recorded interview and transcript have been made possible through the generosity of a Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) Grant. The Oral History Research Center enables students and staff to work together with community members to generate this selection of first-person narratives. The participants in this project thank University of Nevada Las Vegas for the support given that allowed an idea the opportunity to flourish. The transcript received minimal editing that includes the elimination of fragments, false starts, and repetitions in order to enhance the reader's understanding of the material. All measures have been taken to preserve the style and language of the narrator. In several cases photographic sources accompany the individual interviews. The following interview is part of a series of interviews conducted under the auspices of the African Americans in Las Vegas: A Collaborative Oral History Project. m Claytee D. White Director, Oral History Research Center University Libraries University Nevada Las Vegas Preface Ron Current's heart was always in the right place, with respect to social activism and his dedication to empowering the black community in Las Vegas. Inspired by Black Panther Party founders, Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale, Ron started the Black Panther Party Las Vegas Chapter. He was also the director of public relations for the National Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression; an organization created to work in tandem with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, NAACP, to eliminate racial inequality. Ron describes the overall atmosphere of the Westside community in Las Vegas during the early days, as chaotic, drug infested, and riddled with daily gang related shootings. He also recalls the historic preservation attempts made by leading members of the Westside community, such as Sarann Knight Preddy. Ron recalls working at the University Medical Center while recruiting for the Black Panther Party Las Vegas Chapter. This interview demonstrates the power of love. As the founder and leader of the Black Panther Party Las Vegas Chapter, Ron was named one of the most influential blacks in Las Vegas by the Sentinel Voice. He recalls utilizing his hands-on leadership approach towards capacity building and the successful implementation of community mobilization strategies and methods. He was a champion for educational equity, equal access to employment opportunities, and economic equality in Las Vegas, Nevada. iv Table of Contents Interview with Ron Current March 16, 2012 in Las Vegas, Nevada Conducted by Claytee D. White Preface • Discusses the Black Panther Party and founders Huey P. Newton and Bobby Scale; describes the counterintelligence program, COINTEL; law enforcement targeted the Black Panthers; credits the Black Panthers for implementing free social programs such as, Head Start; recalls the assassination ot Dr. King; recollects working as the director of public relations for the National Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression; starts the Las Vegas Black Panther Party.... 1-7 Recalls working at UMC medical center; describes Sunrise Mountain, the mass influx of upper middle-class blacks that moved into the Sunrise neighborhood; called press conferences to address racism and bullying; recalls hanging out at the West Las Vegas Library; recalls the Steve Wynn incident; and the naming of the ships at Treasure Island; recollects the Panthers being called on by Sarann Knight Preddy to do security at the Moulin Rouge 7-19 Describes the general atmosphere of the Westside community, during that time; chaos; drugs; gang-related shootings every day; excitement; historic perseveration; the Panthers were fighting tor educational equity; employment opportunities; and economic equality; recalls being named one ot the most influential blacks in Las Vegas by the Sentinel Voice. Accepted an invitation to speak at Dixie State College in St. George, Utah. Moved to St. George, Utah, and returned to Las Vegas to resume leadership of the Las Vegas Black Panther Party 19-29 Recollects the Weed and Seed program, in connection to the Black Panther Party; recalls problems with the EOB; and overcoming his drug problem; describes his father as an illiterate yet hardworking man who ran seven dry cleaners and was also a skilled mechanic. Ron wants to be remembered for always having his heart in the right place in relation to his community involvement and social justice efforts 29-48 This is Claytee White and I'm with Mr. Ron Current in the Reading Room at UNLV. It is March 16th, 2012. So how are you today? I'm fine. How are you? Fantastic. Great. Could you spell your last name? Do you use Ron or Ronald? Ron. Ron. And would you spell your last name for me, please. C-U-R-R-E-N-T. Okay, wonderful. So I want to get started by just talking about the Black Panther Party and I want to start by you telling me about that original Black Panther Party that most of us think of when we think of Black Panther Party, Oakland, California. Yes. The Panthers were founded in '65 by Bobby Seale and Huey P. Newton. Ironically, the name Black Panthers did not originate with Bobby and Huey. There were actually two different Black Panthers. There was one in San Francisco and then the name was actually originated from Louisiana, which was basically I guess you would say a political party that called themselves the Panthers because they wanted to implement a determination like a panther. And so there were two. Bobby and Huey founded the Panthers on the campus of Berkeley. As I said, there was one other Black Panther Party, which was located in San Francisco. Bobby and Huey had met with these guys in San Francisco. I guess you could call them what I call armchair revolutionaries. That means that they were just individuals who had a group and they basically didn't do anything. So Huey and 1 Bobby actually wanted that name. It fit perfectly with what they wanted to do. So Huey and Bobby challenged the San Francisco group and said, "Well, two people can't have the name; one of us got to give it up and we're willing to fight for it." I think the San Francisco group understood that these brothers aren't messing around; these brothers are serious, man, and somebody can get hurt up in here. So Bobby and Huey claimed the name. So that started in '65. Ironically, the name Black Panther Party wasn't all of that title and many times people failed to realize the other part of that name. I think that it's one of the most important parts of the name and that is ot self-defense. People, you know, they kind of leave that out I guess to give us a more sinister appeal, which hasn't worked for us over the years. But it was called the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense. The philosophy of the party was basically based upon political and social gestures. Huey would later say that he was sorry that it had led to so many people getting killed and so many people being arrested because that was never what his aim had been. It was to challenge the political system of which we were pretty much solely excluded from. Remember, the Civil Rights Bill had only been passed a year before the founding of the Panthers. The Voting Rights Bill had passed the year the Panthers were founded. And there was a lot of social gestures going on around this country at that time, most of it being perpetrated by law enforcement who then basically was given a green light to eliminate, not the Panthers. The Panthers, they became the target of law enforcement primarily in 1969. That's when they really stepped up the assaults on the Panthers primarily by way of the COINTEL [counterintelligence] program, which was an arm of the United States Justice Department that was founded to eradicate communism. So what was it called again? COINTEL [counterintelligence]. 2 Okay. That's what that was founded for originally, to seek out communism. I think it worked under McCarthy. He used it. And so they reactivated it roughly around 1960, 1962. By this time King, his public career had been in full swing. He had been in now for about five years. Malcolm was about the same. Malcolm started in '54. King started in '55 with the Montgomery bus boycott. So the aim of COINTEL program by way of J. Edgar Hoover was to eradicate any black messiahs. So by the time Malcolm had been assassinated and then Dr. King assassinated, the biggest threat in J. Edgar Hoover's opinion, who we know what he was, was the Panthers. So it was open season. Now, you've got to remember these were young people, man. These were college kids, some people as young as 13, 14 years old. But Huey put in place social programs that are still used today. The Panthers just aren't given any credit for them. Your Head Start program, that's basically the Panthers because they had the breakfast programs, the lunch programs, the medical programs. All of this was free. Huey was brilliant in his way of seeing how the system portrayed us as a light of a bunch of just "sorry, don't want to do nothing" blacks. Our children weren't smart because they were lazy. Well, they weren't lazy. They were hungry. So Huey started the breakfast programs. Through research we found that that worked because these kids now, it's hard to concentrate when your stomach is growling. So they did that. Well, the other thing was that people in the black community really didn't have access to medical care. So he provided free medical care. They had trucks and stuff there and they had doctors that he had gotten aboard this project. That even made the Panthers even more dangerous. It was better if they were going to be the violent, objective individuals. It was better if it was like that. But they weren't. They were individuals 3 who really cared about the community, who really cared about the kids. So was it a mistake for them kind of in the beginning to take those photographs with the rifles? I think that Huey wanted to send a message. The police were out of control particularly in the black community. I mean there was known cases of abuse of black women, of women that were picked up by the police and then taken somewhere, raped. There were issues of black men just being beat by law enforcement. And I think that what Huey intended to do was to show that's over; we're not going to take that anymore and we have a constitutional right to bear arms and to protect ourselves. Now, Malcolm said that years prior that you have this right and we need to form rifle clubs. Well, Huey literally did it. He was within the law. But to have young radical blacks with weapons that scared people and it challenged the power structure. So no, I don't think that it was a mistake. I think Huey felt that it may have been a mistake. I don't think it was a mistake. I think it was sending a message. So what do you personally think, with your experience now looking back, what do you think of Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale? Two very courageous young men. Two very socially conscious and sensitive young men towards their people and sensitive to the real social oppression that our people faced at that time. Do you remember the song that you and Bobby wrote and sang? No. Oh, something about—it's been a long time. I forgot. I heard it the other day. I was just kind of sitting there, kind of listening to it. I said, "Wow," you know. I said, "It don't sound as good as if Teddy Pendergrass would have sung it." But, you know, he made his point. revolution is coming. The revolution is coming. "Something about the revolution. Okay, good. If you remember let me know. If you had the opportunity right now—one of the first women that you talked about in 4 the book is Debbie—what would you say to Debbie today? I'm sorry. Because I have tried to look her up on Facebook. I know she's just as gorgeous as she was. Yes. So tell me about the first time you came to Las Vegas and what that Black Panther Party operation was all about. Tell me how it came together. Just tell me all your memories about that first time in Las Vegas and that part of the work. When I got here there was, again, abuse by law enforcement, Metropolitan Police Department. It was so many so-called justified homicides that a white guy wrote a book about it called Sin City. He listed all of the people that had been shot justifiably. The NAACP then under Jesse Scott was functioning and the National Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression under Dr. James Tate, who is still at UMC. And then something happened in regards to the Nation of Islam. One of Malcolm's biggest problems with the Nation was that they didn't do anything unless you were a member of the Nation. They brought in Minister Duke Muhammad, who is still the present minister. He had the authority now to get involved. So we had the National Alliance, the NAACP, and I at the time was working as the director of public relations for the National Alliance. Something happened. I called a forum and I got the mayor there, which at the time was Jan Jones. Yvonne Gates was another one. Now, this was the first time. Jan Jones was the mayor the first time you were here? Yes, she was mayor. She had just been elected. Frank had been elected right under her. Give Frank's last name. Hawkins. He used to play for Oakland Raiders. So I called a meeting and I didn't make it. I didn't make the forum. Do you want to tell me why you didn't make it? I was high. Huey and I suffered from the same problem. We had all the best intentions. Apparently 5 we were pretty good at it, but we had this problem. So I had gotten high that night and I didn't show up. But apparently the forum was a success. So the next day another meeting was called of community organizations because another young man had been shot. So I attended the meeting along with Doc Tate. So there was talk, what were we going to do, you know. And I had really grown kind of tired of attending meetings. But this was just the beginning, though, right? Yes. Yes. Attending meetings. But anyway, I attended. So I said, "Okay, well, let's have a forum." That worked for me. So I said, "Let's do that." Everybody said, "Well, okay, let's do that." Because the other forum had been a success. The idea was to bring attention to this and to allow the police to know that we were meeting on this issue. So after the meeting Doc Tate said, "Look, Ron, in the future I need tor you to talk to me and the board about any forums." That just wasn't me, man. I just said, "Ah no, man, you're trying to take away the niche that I have." So I went home that night and I thought about it and I said, "You know, we need an organization here that people respected to the point of fear." I thought and I thought and I said, "Well, it's only one group." And I said, "That's the Panthers." So I called Oakland and I said, "Hey look, I want to do a chapter here." Some white girl answered the phone and said, "Well, we're actually underground now." Because this was which year? This was 1990. She said, "Well, we're underground now." I said, "What does that mean? How are you going to do any good underground?" So I called Bobby in Philadelphia and I said, "Bobby man, look, this is what I want to do." He says, "Go for it, man." He said, "Just be careful." he said, "Because they're going to get you." 6 So what was Bobby's status at that point? I guess you could say Bobby had retired. He was at the time running a barbeque place in Philadelphia. So I called him and I told him what I wanted to do. He said, "I can dig it, man." He said, "Go for it." He said, "Just be careful, Ron." So I did some kind of crazy stuff. I held a press conference, said that that's what I was going to do and said, "Okay, I'm looking for recruits." At the time I was working over at UMC medical center. I gave out both numbers. I mean it took a lot of nerve. I mean people over there thought I had more nerve. I gave out the hospital number, you know. So the next day I get a call on the loud speaker. They said, "Ron, you've got a phone call, you know." So I answered the phone. He said, "Yes, is this brother Ron?" I said, "Yes." He said, "Well, my name is George Reed and I'm interested in joining the Panthers." So I said, "All right, man." I said, "Do you know where the lobby is of UMC?" He said, "Yes." I said, "Meet me there." And 'Big George' was my first recruit, who would become my—actually George worked— would be the chief of staff. But he was more than that. He was my friend and you couldn't ask for a more loyal follower. And his reasons for wanting to be in the Panthers was that his uncles at one time were in the Panthers in Oakland. He was from California himself. He was from L.A. and he was a gangbanger. He was in the Crips. So I could identify with that. So was I. So I said, "All right." And from there it just snowballed. I mean I started getting so many calls. The hospital administrator said, "Ron," he said, "we know what you're doing." He said, "Can you get the calls somewhere else?" I said, "No, man," I said, "this is working too good." So that's how they would contact me because I don't even think we had cell phones then. Oh, yes, we had those great big ones that looked like, you know. So that's where it started and it just snowballed from there. We basically needed a mission. We needed a mission. We needed something to do to establish 7 ourselves in the way that I felt that we needed to establish ourselves. I had been watching TV. And there was a new development, which was called Sunrise Mountain. These were new homes being built, but was in an area where you had the trailer parks, like folks with the trailer parks and all of that. So apparently there had been black children out there who were being harassed and in some cases physically abused by these guys that apparently were skinheads or Nazis or whatever they call themselves. So I kind of watched that and I said, "That's it." So who were the new people moving into the Sunrise neighborhood? Upper middle-class blacks with some whites. And those were the kids that were being harassed? Right. But not only were these guys harassing the black kids, they were harassing the white kids, too. This is where I wanted to stay as close to Huey and Bobby's philosophy as I could. See, the Black Panther Party was not only concerned with black folks, particularly black folks but not only black folks. They were concerned about oppression, period; that they understood that all of us because ot our economic status, because of where we lived, because of the way we thought, we all would suffer the same way. And we were. And these Nazis or whatever they were emphasized that better than anybody could have. And so they had it on the news, you know, the swastikas they were showing at the little bus stops where the kids caught the bus. So finally I got the kid s father s number. I forgot what the kid's name was. I told him— So these were the kids who were the most prominent ones or the ones who spoke up? No. These were young kids. So when you say you got—so you got all the parents' phone numbers? No. I got the one kid's number because I think that his father had been the one to speak out against what was happening. 8 Good. That's what I meant. Okay. But he just didnt know what to do. So I got his number and I called him. I said, "Look, the Panthers are at your service it you need us." And so the father was very law abiding and he said, "Well, let me see it the police will do anything about this." A couple days later he called back. He said, "Look, man, what can you guys do to help me?" So we held a press conference. And I used the press. I constantly used the press because I wanted the people to understand what we were doing and why we were doing it and if you could tell me why it was wrong, speak up. But nobody ever did. So we held a press conference and we said, Okay, we will be out at Sunrise Mountain at 12 noon." That's my favorite time. High noon. High noon. It's from the movie "High Noon." So I said, "We will be out there at high noon." It was on a Saturday. Now, we had weapons. We did take weapons out. Tony, who became the minister of defense, was an ex-Vietnam vet. So he had tons of guns. But we decided to leave the guns in the van because we could always go back and get them. So 12 noon we went out there. Now, as I think about it everybody knew we were coming. The media, everybody knew we were coming. As I think about it today I never recall seeing one person walking around out there. It was like everybody knew we were coming. Everybody stayed in. So we went up to the 7-Eleven. It was at the corner of Sunset and something because this is where these guys hung out. They weren't there. We asked the clerk. They said, "Yes, well, they normally come up here, but they're not here today." So we decided to go to the recreation center because they said that that's another place that they kind of hung out, controlled that. We were on the way there and we got to right past the 7-Eleven and there is a hill because they were still kind of grading stuff for the developments and stuff and there was a hill and police came from everywhere. I mean if you can 9 ever remember the old John Ford movies, man, with the Apaches surrounding everybody, this is the way that they looked. We had about 15 of us that went out there that day. Tony had taught the guys, you know, protect the champ. So they surrounded me. I think the guy was like a commander or something of Metro. He said, Well, I need to speak to Mr. Current." So the brothers parted, let him in and then closed it, you know. I was very proud of them because they had this down. So he said, "Look, Mr. Current," he said, we have one of the guys who was supposed to be the leader and we have a warrant out for the other guy. He said, "Can you leave and just let us do our job?" And my question was why did it take us to have to come out here for you to do your job? So was the media there? They didn't show up, but they heard about it and it was all across the news. By the next day everybody knew. So they got the guys. We left. At the time the Sentinel Voice, which is the black newspaper, was owned by the Brown family. It's an entirely different type of paper now. But they really had their finger on the pulse of what was happening in the community and they ran it. They had stories on it and all of that. I remember the West Las Vegas Library used to be our hangout and I remember going up there. And the sisters, Deborah Jackson who worked for the library, she was also part of a group called Wake Up who fights for the kids. She walked in and she said, "Go on, brother." She said, "About time we had somebody." And that made me feel so good that, one, we could be looked upon by the community as someone they could count on and, two, that we had done something that was obviously right because nobody could challenge what we had done. Nobody could say, "Ah, man, that's the wrong thing." I'm sure that there were people who were sitting back somewhere saying it 10 and I m sure they were black. But they talked about Dr. King, you know. But we had done something and we had made a difference. And that was the greatest thing to me because I had never made much ol a difference in my life. You just don't know how that makes you feel to know that you did something for someone else just because it was the right thing to do. Did you save your newspaper clippings from this period? Yes. I got a whole stack of them. I can't even close my drawer. Fantastic. The day when the 15 of you went out to Sunrise Mountain, how were you dressed? In black berets, black jeans, you know, the general Panther look. Before we go on to talk about some of the other things you did once the group was formed, tell me more about Dr. Tate. Brilliant. He was a brilliant man. I still love that brother. I saw him recently on an ER. You know, they do that ER thing where they go into hospitals and show you what they're doing and he was on there. He was featured. I mean this man had such courage because even at this date—and this is 2012—he was saying exactly what was going on inside UMC. He said, "Well, most of these people look at these black gang members that come in and they don't do all that they could do for them." He said, "I don't see them like that." He said, "I see them as a human being." At the close of the show he had on his dashiki, got into his Desert Storm car or whatever they call those cars, and he looked at the camera and he said, "The struggle continues." But at the time Dr. Tate was entrenched in a fight to get a civilian review board of the Metropolitan Police Department. He eventually got that, but it was so watered down. He didn't even serve on that committee. It was so watered down that obviously with the shootings back the way they used to be it didn't do any good. But he was a brilliant, very courageous man who was totally unlike any black doctor that you would probably meet. You would think that this guy was an activist off the 1 1 street. You wouldn't think that this guy was one of the best trauma surgeons in the country, you know. He used to do an article in the Sentinel Voice. He was always on KCEP at the time. Even KCEP was a different format than it is today. Today, I don't know what it is. But then you had D.B., who was our minister of information. He was like the morning guy. They just had a bunch of personalities on that station and they talked about what was going on in the community. They basically didn't give the powers-to-be a break. And you don't see that happening today? No. Okay. Okay. No. I mean that's why they are back with the Justice Department investigating the Metropolitan Police Department. Is Dr. Tate still here in the city? Yes. He works at UMC. Good. I'm going to find him. I'd like for you now to go ahead. You had finished telling me about the incident with the Sunrise Mountain. What were the other memorable issues, involvements during that time that you were in Las Vegas? The other issue came up with there was the death of a Jewish kid up in front of McDonalds on, I want to say, Spring Mountain. That's where he was stomped to death. He was stomped to death. It was up around here, as a matter of fact. You got a campus on Maryland Parkway. This is the campus on Maryland Parkway. Oh, okay. I'm turned around. Okay. You've got some buildings over there on Maryland Parkway that's— 12 Lots of them. Yes. That sits across from like a 7-Eleven. Exactly. Yes. There's a McDonalds up there. Exactly. That's where that boy was killed. Okay. So we're just on the other side of campus now. The campus has grown so much. I guess so. It has. It has grown so much since you were here that now we spread all the way to Swenson and that's the side that you came in on. If you had gone down two more stoplights, you would have been at Maryland Parkway. You would have made a right turn. Right. That's— And you would have come to campus the way that you remember. That's what I remember. That's what you had then. Okay. So tell me about that. The boy had been stomped to death. Well, they turned it over to the UNLV campus police. And so the Panthers said, "Well, wait a minute. This didn't happen on campus; it happened off campus. And furthermore, the UNLV campus police, they ain't real police, you know. Why aren't Metro investigating this?" So again, we held another press conference and we said, "Look, we want this thing investigated and we want these people brought to justice." Now, this was a Jewish kid. So what about the parents of the child? Never met them. I never met those people. And we said, we want these people brought to justice. Now, by this time Tony is getting kind of upset because he's saying, "Brother chairman," he said, 13 r1 "that's a white thing; let the white folks deal with that." I said, "You don't understand, brother." I said, "This is the true philosophy of the Panthers and we were about justice for everybody." So anyway, we held a press conference and the police went into action. They found the people, you know. So again, you could do nothing but feel good. People probably paid little or no attention to us, but now we were beginning to get a lot of attention, not only by the media but by very powerful people. Give me an example. I remember Kathy—I just saw a show on her death—Kathy—she was in the senate. She stepped down and she was going to run for state treasurer. Kathy Augustine. Oh, okay. Kathy Augustine called me one day. Shocked the hell out of me. She said, "Ron," she said, "you're doing a good job." She said, "Keep the pressure up." Now, at the time Kathy was going through some hell herself because they were asking for her to step down and they were investigating her. Jan Jones also recognized us. We were dealing with some heavyweight people up on the Strip, Alan Feldman, who was the top dude. But I think that after the Sunrise Mountain what really set us apart was the Steve Wynn issue and the naming of the ships up at Treasure Island. Tell me that story. What had happened was the leaders of the school of African philosophy, which at the time was run by a brother—I think he's in Jersey now—named (Kamaul) asked for a meeting with the Panthers. By this time nobody even bothered to call anybody else; they just called us. And he said, "Look, man, they are going to name three ships up at the new Treasure Island." Treasure Island had not quite opened. They were getting ready to do the grand opening. He said, "They're going to call them the Sir Francis Drake and the Sir John Hawkins, I think." I said, "Yes, well, you know, that's what they do." 14 He said, "But do you know who those guys really were?" And I'm saying, "No." He said, "It was slave runners." So I went home and I looked them up and they were. That's part of what they did was run slaves. So I said, "Well, what do you want to do?" So (Kamaul) said, "Man, I think that we need to submit a letter to Steve Wynn and tell him he needs to either change the names of the ships or we're going to protest Treasure Island." And he said, "You know, as a matter of fact, we should just go on up there and start protesting now." I said, "No, brother." I said, "No, man." I said, "Look, just a suggestion, why not submit a letter to Steve Wynn, give him seven days to respond and if he doesn't respond in seven days," I said, "the Panthers, man, will back you." So we did the letter. The Panthers signed off on it, the school of African philosophy signed off of it. It was sent to Steve Wynn I think a day later, something like that. I saw it on the news. But the media had it. And there was some members of the school of African philosophy already up there. I said, "Oh, man, which one of these guys jumped the gun?" Anyway, I think it was Channel 13, Channel 8, somebody called me and said, "Mr. Current, we'd like to do an interview." And part of the agreement that the Panthers agreed on was that we wouldn't do any media, any media interviews, we wouldn't comment, we wouldn't do anything. Related to this issue. Related to this issue until we either heard from Wynn or we didn't hear from him. So I said, "No," I said, "I can't do nothing right now." And they said, "Come on, Mr. Current. Okay, we won't talk about the Wynn issue." So I said, "Well, all right." So any time that I could try to get some publicity