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Akwasi Evans

Listen to curated clips of this oral history:
Clip 1: Communist Party
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Clip 2: Early Activism
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Clip 3: Effects of Poverty
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Clip 4: NOKOA
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Clip 5: Time in Prison
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Listen to this full-length oral history while you read the unedited transcript:
First Interview:
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Unedited Transcript

Read Transcript:
Lightly Edited

Download Teacher Questions for this oral history in .pdf format

Biographical Notes
Akwasi Evans was born in Paris, Kentucky.  He has been involved in the civil rights movement for most of his life.  He marched with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and became an organizer in college. He was a member of the National Alliance Against Racism and Political Repression as well as the Communist Party, worked on several death row cases, and traveled to Libya for a World Peace Conference.  He is also an accomplished writer who has written for several magazines and newspapers, edited and published two books of poetry, and traveled to Havana, Cuba to perform his poetry.  He runs Austin’s progressive newspaper, NOKOA, the Observer, which he founded in July of 1987.     

Abstract 
Early life of poverty in Paris, Kentucky; influence of grandmother and aunt on Evan’s education; seeking out and meeting his father at age ten; close relationship with his father; school integration in 1963; Evans suspended from high school for marching with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on the capital in Frankfurt, Kentucky; suspended from high school for responding to a racial slur; King’s assassination in 1968; rioting at Kentucky State College; expelled from Kentucky State College as a ringleader in the riots; attended University of Kentucky; dropped out of school due to lack of tuition money; arrested for driving getaway car in a marijuana pickup; sentenced to two years in prison; started a library and a school in prison; racial fight in prison; paroled to the University of Kentucky; became president of Black Student Union; diversity and organization at the University of Kentucky; National Alliance Against Racism and Political Repression; death row cases; writing for the Daily World; joined Communist Party USA; met Henry Winston, Gus Hall, Angela Davis; petitioned to put CPUSA on the ballot with Gus Hall running for President, Angela Davis for Vice President; sent to Austin to organize, petition; graduated from the University of Kentucky in 1978 and moved to Austin; worked on Master’s degree in sociology at Texas Southern University; resigned from the CPUSA; importance of God to his life; traveled to Havana, Cuba as performing poet; his performance televised; U.S. bombs Tripoli, Evans traveled to Libya for a world peace conference; met Lenore Fulani; worked on Clarence Brandley death row case; started NOKOA with five friends; struggles to keep NOKOA going; his participation in the movement today; goal of NOKOA to serve the progressive movement; integration vs. equality; integration as subterfuge.


Disclaimer:
“Oral Narrative as History.” Students received class credit for this work, and were under the supervision of Dr. Martha Norkunas, director of “The Project in Interpreting the Texas Past.”

Every effort has been made to transcribe the audio recordings exactly. On occasion a word, or phrase, was difficult to hear and this is indicated by a question mark in brackets.


Interviewee: 
Akwasi Evans

Interviewer: 
Jodi Relyea

Date of Interview: 
April 23, 2004

Place: 
Mr. Evan’s office at NOKOA, the Observer, Austin, Texas

Recording Format: 
MiniDisc Recorder

Transcriber: 
Jodi Relyea