Baldwin’s Response by Sydnie Rae

James Baldwin’s “A Report from Occupied Territory” is an article that talks about the ‘Harlem Six’ and expands on the history of Harlem in the 1960s. The article has cultural information about the behaviors of the people living in Harlem. At this time African Americans didn’t have freedom, and the cruel police made sure it stayed that way. Racism was a lot more blatant and petty crimes were responded to with force and brutality towards black people. Being arrested as an African American wasn’t as simple as being put in handcuffs, it included being beaten senseless throughout the whole process whether you were guilty or not. People have beaten and arrested for simply asking a cop what they are doing. During the 60s in Harlem, being black was crime enough without the offense of stepping out of your place and questioning an officers actions.

A fieldworker to uncover the culture further might ask questions like, what was the communities response to the brutality of the police? The communities must be in an uproar with this kind of hostility attacking them. If the community isn’t in an uproar is it out of fear or lack of power to do anything? What action is the government taking in response to these situations? All of this brutality must be attracting the government’s attention. If the government isn’t responding, why aren’t they? There has to be a reason as to why the government isn’t doing anything. Other sources that fieldworker might use to penetrate the “insider perspective” is the words of a black person living in Harlem that has a constant fear of being the next target for a cop. They might get insight from who are apart of that community.

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