“if whites give me a Pulitzer Prize then I got to figure out what I did wrong.”

What were some other complications?

Well, we couldn’t get a permit to shoot in Chicago, they turned us down. So, we took it into Gary (Indiana) up with Mayor Hatcher. We stole our Chicago shots. We just came in with a handheld camera and shot what we wanted. When the film was released, it initially jumped off making money and so United Artist got up and said well we don’t like the film but its making money. So they put me on a twelve city tour to promote the film. Then we started getting reports that some of the exhibitors had been visited by FBI agents. They tried to convince them that they shouldn’t screen the film. And we do know that the film was sometimes open on Friday and closed on Sunday and we had a three weeks contract. United Artists met with some people from the FBI and decided to take the film off the market even though it was grossed in the top 50 markets. So before we went into the profit so the investors could get their money back, the UA took it off the market. All of the prints, mysteriously disappeared. I had to put the negatives into a vault under a different name. That’s how that survived. Most recently, I tried to pick up the distribution money. It’s been on the market since January 24th of last year (2005). There were about 50 prints that just disappeared. And you know, after the film came out, I had the CIA, FBI, IRS on my case. And now I’m being harassed by social security.

So what are your feelings after serving then receiving such treatment?

Well, I think I’ve earned that treatment, you know, I didn’t expect the white people to applaud what I had to say. I have paid my dues and if I get a chance I’d do it again. I became radicalized in the foreign service when I saw what the United States was doing abroad—the assassination attempts on the black male—I saw all kinds of stuff. The America public don’t have the slightest idea of what is going on out there, particularly in the third world. You know, why are these people are willing to kill and die for a particular cause? Some just think 9-11 was a bunch of fanatics but they got damn good reasons to do what they do. I don’t approve of it but I can certainly understand it.

Read More | Sam Greenlee/When Desoree Danced | The Liberator