Leroi Jones Young Spirit House Movers and Players, from Inside Bed-Stuy, 1968

THIRTEEN Staff | February 25, 2009

Described by Inside Bedford-Stuyvesant producer Charles Hobson as one of the program’s “most-requested pieces”, this video features the Leroi Jones Young Spirit House Movers and Players delivering a jaw-droppingly powerful spoken-word performance.

These kids, from Bed-Stuy and Brownsville, deliver a powerful protest about race relations in America.

Watch the Leroi Jones Young Spirit House Movers and Players (9:33), introduced by Inside Bedford-Stuyvesant host Roxie Roker:


The young players embody the activist spirit of their driving force, poet and Black Arts Movement originator LeRoi Jones (Amiri Baraka). Using synched movements and poetry, the kids address various issues from inequality to the lack of a well-rounded black history curriculum in the schools. One girl states affectingly: “We are taught to hate ourselves…America, why did you bring us here?” But the underlying message from Jones through these kids is the importance of pride and self-empowerment. As one of the children says near the end: “Today is ours/Let’s take it.”

Read more about Inside Bedford-Stuyvesant:

* Interview with producer Charles Hobson
* Overview of Black-produced television from 1968, including Inside Bedford-Stuyvesant
* Article on the show from the Brooklyn Rail

(Inside Bedford-Stuyvesant was originally broadcast on WNEW in NYC. Clips provided by Charles Hobson).