Blackman’s Volunteer Army of Liberation
The Blackman’s Volunteer Army of Liberation (not to be confused with the Black Liberation Army), was one of many Black radical groups affiliated with the Black Muslim Movement in the late 1960s. In John Preusser’s Master’s thesis, “The Washington Chapter of the Black Panther Party,” it is described as follows: “Another radical militant black group with a presence in Washington was the Blackman’s Volunteer Army of Liberation, led by Colonel Hassan Juru-Ahmed Bey. Bey’s group was a splinter group of the Black Muslim movement, and the Black Muslims had a strong presence in the District as well as at Lorton reformatory, D.C.’s jail twenty miles south in the Virginia countryside.” The organization ran the Blackman’s Development Center, portrayed in Skip Norman’s film Blackman’s Volunteer Army of Liberation (1970). Located at 6406 Georgia Avenue NW, in Washington DC, it was devoted to the rehabilitation and care of drug addicts. As stated in “A Survey of Drug Abuse Programs for the Washington Metropolitan Area,” issued by the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments in June 1970: “Blackman’s Development Center is a private non-profit organization that operates as the community organization of the Black Man’s Volunteer Army of Liberation which is the Military arm of the provisional government of the United Moorish Republic. Its basic thrust is that of a militarily operated, self-help organization operation in all areas of concern to the urban community.” The film Blackman’s Volunteer Army of Liberation (the 16-mm print in the Arsenal archive is 43 minutes long) seems to have been part of the longer film Washington DC, November 1970, before the two were screened and distributed separately.
John Preusser, “The Washington Chapter of the Black Panther Party: From Revolutionary Militants to Community Activists,” MA thesis, submitted to the History Department of the University of North Carolina Wilmington, 2006, pp. 22–23.
Anon, prepared by the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, “A Survey of Drug Abuse Programs for the Washington Metropolitan Area,” Washington, DC, June 1970, p. 3.January 20th, 2022 — Rosa Mercedes / 03 / Contexts