Ishmael Jihan and Abby Lamb

Recorded January 13, 2009 Archived January 13, 2009 01:19:37
0:00 / 0:00
Id: SFD000003


Ishmael Jihan (60), by his social worker and friend Abby Lamb (29) about his life growing up in Chicago and his involvement in the Black Panthers as well as his political views now.

Subject Log / Time Code

grew up in Chicago, moved to LA in the 1960 due to his health
involved with the Black Panthers, discusses fighting and killings by police
regrets not spending more time with his three daughers
discusses current politics in the United States, Obama’s presidency
met his first wife in the movement, she had a nervous breakdown and was admitted to a mental institution
he moved to San Francisco in the early ‘70s because of its radical reputation
discusses events of the time: gay rights, Harvey Milk’s assassination, women’s rights, Jonestown
talks about Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama’s politics
didn’t get drafted, talks about Muhammed Ali
his recent wife passed away from COPD in Nov 2007
successful relationship advice
advice for the next generation


  • Ishmael Jihan
  • Abby Lamb

Partnership Type



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00:08 My name is Abby lamb and I am 29 years old. And today's date is January 13th 2009. We are located at the institute on Aging in San Francisco and my relationship with Ishmael is as a social worker.

00:31 Oh.

00:33 My name is Ishmael Jihan. My age is 60.

00:40 Today's date is January 13th.

00:44 Locations institution on Aging located in San Francisco

00:51 Am I very good friend relationship to my partner is a b

00:59 All right is smell so maybe we can start. Can I just ask you where you were born?

01:11 What do you remember about Chicago?

01:21 And what did you like that or? No? So, how long did you stay in Chicago?

01:33 59 up to about

01:38 6363 moved away. So why did you leave Chicago Bronco Bronco tools or something? Anyway, I had a cold every winter time. I real cold Mighty kept at home and stuff like that. Every day is fine. She said it's time to give it to you child. You got to go because I just got sick and got miserable. We know stuff like that. I can adjust that cold weather.

02:17 So you left because it made you sick basically to my chest and I was very upset to go to Kohl's.

02:32 So, where did you go?

02:35 Well, unfortunately, I went to Los Angeles. Unfortunately, I guess go to LA.

02:50 It was a very

02:53 Ruff, ruff City, and I didn't know anybody there and I had to start elementary school and all that kind of stuff. So they send me back.

03:05 From being back. He's out here. They send me back in school. And yeah, and how is the weather in Los Angeles for you? Like a changed site night day, you know a thing about Los Angeles.

03:31 Los Angeles gottman July trouble what kind of trouble is that a political trouble?

03:44 I really got into the Panther Movement.

03:49 Was that what you are saying?

03:52 A good experience for the dangers experience the Panthers who are trying to overthrow the government and to give free breakfast programs. They are trying even though it is said that I say they were trying to explain socialism.

04:13 This country is not ready for socialism. Anything had isn't going to this country was ready for it.

04:25 What Drew you to the Panther Movement?

04:30 What Julie did the Panthers lose a bunch of a black man who had the nerve to want to carry weapons?

04:41 I know.

04:43 The conservative why people had never heard such an outrageous thing with guns.

04:53 Being able to walk down the street with it.

04:58 They were outraged you never heard of such a thing.

05:03 They already sent us back to Africa.

05:07 That was it.

05:09 Demons that that time you know

05:14 So I came out to

05:17 Los Angeles

05:20 And I got into a few political skirt scripts. You know what I was much of older than I am. Now. I was more conservative not more conservative than 60 years old but back in the day.

05:39 I try to drop of a hat, you know for what I believed in.

05:45 And I followed the pigs just police.

05:51 Rihanna at a very exciting life. It was up and down Like A Bug's Life Is But I had an up-and-down type life. So, how do you remember how long you stayed with the Panther Movement?

06:12 And to start killing my comrades who killed a friend of mine's in Chicago when he was in bed.

06:24 Who they who killed one of your friends on black panthers. This one guy was shot in his bed by seven times.

06:41 Cuz he was a black panther, you know.

06:45 Then Julie this crazy self. He shot a cop in the stomach.

06:53 That makes Panthers very popular back in the days.

07:02 Wow.

07:04 Yeah, I knew all these people personally, you know, I respect them for what they stood for.

07:14 And numb

07:19 Answer I got older.

07:22 I was not as revolutionary as I started off to be I'm still very political though.

07:30 And I've been the Panthers I was raring to go.

07:36 Why do you think you've changed?

07:39 I've gotten older.

07:42 My view said become somewhat conservative to extent only is to extend just a little bit.

07:54 I'm primarily because you've just gotten older your less daring.

08:04 Do you have any regrets about that time or being a part of the Panthers or leaving the Panthers?

08:13 Anything you would do over differently more time with my three daughters had three daughters.

08:24 They're a handful.

08:28 But

08:32 No, I'll take a more moderate stand I would so be so you know.

08:40 I'm not that quick to pick up a gun anymore.

08:45 Back, that's not like we were talking about it's not in fashion, you know.

08:51 This country has come a long way.

08:55 You can look at the politics of this country today compared to where I came up. That's amazing.

09:10 That's amazing.

09:13 Usell

09:15 I've come a long way.

09:18 You mentioned your three daughters that you would have liked to have spent more time with them.

09:24 Yeah, my three daughters Ed on Morrow.

09:33 Well, and the third one I think of her name.

09:42 I was very radical and they I didn't really have any maturity back in the days for family. All I want to do was fighting the Revolution change the country the same thing Obama's not not not. Well not quite the way Obama Obama's doing it in the modern sense. I was doing it in a 1960 Cent.

10:08 All right, it's different. Always this difference. Do you think there is anything equivalent or similar to the Panthers now? Do you see any any current movements that can be compared to the Panthers or the or the movements of the 60s?

10:30 It is there is no movement now that can compare to the Panther Movement.

10:38 Back some play some groups want to bring the Panthers back here.

10:45 What do you think about that?

10:47 I think you going to be the one out there with the gun. Not this time. Not you anymore to me. I got too old.

10:59 Can I ask you about your wife Ishmael?

11:03 Cheers radical

11:06 Did you meet her within the movement?

11:11 Put up.

11:15 We were having kids back to back. Anyway, she had a slight nervous not slide. She had a nervous breakdown.

11:23 You know.

11:25 During the 60s or later.

11:31 I was too wild.

11:33 She was so down. I was to wow.

11:36 You know.

11:39 And your children must have been pretty young.

11:45 They were

11:48 Yeah.

11:49 But you stayed with your wife through that time.

11:55 So somehow it worked out. Yeah, but then she got sent to what the color.

12:01 Mental institution

12:05 That was a heartbreaker.

12:08 But it's nothing I could do about it, you know.

12:11 I mean she was way out there, you know.

12:19 So she stayed there for a while and then did she get out in La I just wanted like forget about it come out to San Francisco.

12:37 Even back then San Francisco had a very good.

12:43 Reputation. It's been progress if you want to get ahead and sister in the house into this it all takes man San Francisco their radical, you know, that's why I came right up here.

12:57 Okay. So after Los Angeles you came to San Francisco leaving the late 60s early 70s. About ready early 70s.

13:22 I was amazed the freedom that they gave two individuals.

13:29 In can't with you were gay. Bisexual white black green blue. All I cared about is you no hell. No, we won't go, you know.

13:41 And at 6 I mean, um, they're very Progressive even today. San Francisco is not can you can say conservative with San Francisco? You know, Dad's free love out there and Park

13:57 What's that box name?

14:00 The kids you smoke pot out there. Yeah Golden Gate Park kids with brand new blankets and almost registry. Love you see something outrageous behavior.

14:15 You can put you couldn't believe it and this damn time with the things they would do out there in that Park.

14:25 Did it make you shy flower fathers and mothers came out here and there?

14:36 You know why I was coming up there Harvey. What's his name Harvey Milk. He got assassinated.

14:48 But you remember that. Oh, yeah. I remember that. I'm in Feinstein.

14:55 She she came up and said the mirror summon the fascinated, you know.

15:05 Oh, okay. Okay. It was okay, you know if you were to the I mean to the right conservative or moderate I was extremely two left. So if you got off this part of you know being in the wrong

15:26 Political structure

15:30 So when all of that happened you just took it as this is just what happens in politics, even though I didn't go along with the theory.

15:45 Butt out

15:47 Twinkies made me do it how you get away with that.

15:54 Oh, yeah.

15:56 Yeah, pretty hard to believe.

15:59 And then the guy who did all this he died anyway.

16:06 Yeah, Dan White committed suicide or something like that.

16:15 Do you remember Jonestown around the same time Jonestown?

16:27 What you got? You got a poor black people to give him the last two savings. He came he got their houses all that, but Jim Jones was a little bit cuckoo and begin it.

16:45 And I'm

16:48 He had he had a weird thing going on. They would do anything for Jim Jones.

16:56 We thought Frizzell was outrageous. He said those people Source mind control over people.

17:08 Yeah about 6 wives, you know.

17:14 Jim Jones

17:16 Those people took the Kool-Aid cuz they trusted them do they do they know this is Kool-Aid was poison.

17:25 And they all died.

17:30 What was it like to hear the news about that?

17:34 Well

17:36 We were more interested and seeing if we could get the People Back Home.

17:45 There is not a grandmother's father's all that passed Jim Jones.

17:53 You can't blame Jim Jones so much as two people are so brainwashed.

18:00 They believe that man, you know.

18:03 And they thought he was going to take him to Salvation all that kind of stuff.

18:10 So the same Charisma that Adolf Hitler did you know?

18:18 So you were concerned for the people?

18:21 Don't get out.

18:23 Wells concern about the people who get out but the bodies were still there.

18:30 And the body said to be a

18:33 Barry you know stuff like that.

18:40 Jim Jones does not have a good reputation in the black community.

18:49 Is there anything you'd like to talk about with regard to race in terms of how things have changed from that time. To now?

18:59 Well that time. Now I'm proud of San Francisco. In fact, I'm proud of the country cuz we've come a long way from the time. I grew up just sides is racist concern.

19:15 I still believe you may disagree with me, but I still believe that the

19:23 White man

19:25 She's just Woman real bad. Give me a time. You couldn't even sit in front of us white women had it in the back to the bus, you know, you couldn't even vote, you know.

19:40 And I'm sexism was large and really is a woman as vice president of a company.

19:49 A woman is in the vice president of this country.

19:58 So

20:00 You come a long way. I still thinks he's still tries to keep you in your place, but

20:10 What was the name of the lady that ran for president? Hillary Clinton Hillary Clinton got them back in line.

20:22 Hillary told him. Yeah, she said I'll crack another.

20:28 Laughing at glass ceiling, you know, I like that the way that they women are able to speak up for themselves and women are able to go to college to get PhD stuff like that.

20:47 And countries come along way and started sexism his concern.

20:55 You still got a long way to go?

20:57 Cuz you still got a long way to go but

21:01 You on the right track?

21:04 What about during during the 60s during the the movements that you were involved in? How were women treated at that time?

21:13 When were treated as are equal?

21:21 Lot of women were revolutionaries. They are carried guns as well as we do and I'll let us fight alongside them and stuff like that.

21:33 In fact, he used to brag my man's in the Black Panthers, you know stuff like that.

21:41 But

21:43 Women have come a long way things that Hillary hasn't got a long ways to go.

21:51 I think it's going to be alright.

21:54 Are you glad that Obama beat Hillary?

21:59 I'm glad that Obama beat Hillary.

22:03 Cuz Hillary was getting really.

22:07 Stuck on herself

22:09 Anna

22:13 He was better first.

22:17 Hillary was an obstacle.

22:22 Hillary is very feisty very bossy asbill, but

22:32 What l?

22:33 Yeah, I think the countries made the right decision Obama's going to be bringing about change.

22:42 Hillary Reddit down the same path

22:46 Cuz no matter what we say here is married to Bill Clinton and how his politics were definitely going to have a large influence on her.

23:00 And that Obama said you can only have one president.

23:06 Hillary will most likely try to be present at the same time. She's feisty.

23:13 Is very feisty.

23:18 Presidents you mentioned when we were talking earlier about Lyndon B Johnson.

23:23 And what are your thoughts on on him in the projects that he undertook when he was president Great Society was a great idea.

23:36 The first thing Republican said try to do is dismantle the Great Society concept. They tried tried just manner, you know, it was costing them too much money and had a war you can't have a war.

23:53 And the same time you trying to build a nation?

23:58 You know, so luq would fight the Vietnam War and still fight a war on poverty and poor and racism and all that.

24:09 But lb LBJ was okay up 2%

24:16 His wife was said. Oh she was something else would love Superman sin.

24:26 And what was she called? Oh, Miss Lady Bird Free Bird.

24:36 It's right. So that was a big time in American history. There was the Vietnam War and you were very active on the streets. It sounds like now.

24:50 Is you would have been of the age where you could have been drafted for that war? Is that right? But you weren't you know Muhammad Ali.

25:06 Refuse to go back in and he said something real good back in the days, you said?

25:12 Ain't no Vietcong ever called me Niger.

25:17 And that's that's the same mentality. I took you know, the only reason we don't want you.

25:26 Yeah, I know. That's a lie, and you another radical. No, we don't want you.

25:35 Farewell

25:36 It was like you said it's a very exciting time.

25:43 But I can't talk to anybody about it, except like you intelligent people like that people who voted for Obama, you know people nowadays they care less, you know, they care less about what you're less about what you know, I came through some of Martin Luther King who?

26:10 How are they for some reason these kids nowadays with the pants down to the ankles and all that kind of stuff and

26:21 Disrespecting my can't believe it. He don't appreciate that style know we fought for better life.

26:32 Not now, they just take life for granted.

26:39 So you think that you're the struggles that you've been through if made you?

26:44 More appreciative of what you have

26:55 What I like about institution on Aging this way. I learn here. These people are nice people.

27:05 There are older than me, you know, but they're they're nice guys that mean they're older.

27:15 One guy that sits at my table is 75 years old.

27:20 I got a friend to call Paul.

27:23 He's he's funny cuz he's always being sarcastic and telling people shut up.

27:34 Can you talk politics?

27:36 No, not really. No.

27:40 They said they have no idea except over. I want to talk about Obama. Everybody wants to hear that.

27:46 Where I Come From My politics, you know

27:51 My car says your soul to the left his he's just don't you know, that's not popular anymore.

27:59 So you hold back you don't talk too much about it.

28:08 But

28:10 Do you miss having people that you can talk politics with people like that?

28:16 I miss holding in-depth conversations.

28:21 We used to have like

28:26 Debates

28:29 Would had it made on Obama and stuff like that by him being middle class and stuff like that. Did he come from the streets? Did you ever live in the ghetto?

28:43 Was he ever harassed by the police? You know, do you have a background?

28:50 But apparently the country said he's okay, but I like it, I think it's going to make a change big change through the Senate you send things trying to get through.

29:12 On Skyland

29:19 Any more questions

29:24 So I was also curious about the family that you grew up in. So you were in Chicago and did you live with your parents? Never mind rules your Aunt Rose soja news woman in the world.

29:44 So you left Chicago and did you ever stay in touch with your Aunt Rose man in town? She ended up owning property in Evanston at one time. They were like it's not as goes on trolls always had men that took care of her that have property.

30:25 But she was a

30:28 First in my life that I never forget

30:33 In what?

30:45 They were wrong.

30:47 Nationalist, you know there was a nationalist.

30:54 But they were all from the country people are cows chickens.

31:03 I wasn't made for that.

31:07 Yeah, I'm going to get some you know, who do this. You know what you do in the country.

31:16 I knew about is there any girls out here?

31:22 What time was young?

31:27 Were there any girls in the?

31:29 Oh, they're a lot better than I thought they were really.

31:34 They wanted me to teach moultonborough in the legs and believe me at 6:16, and I was more than happy to.

31:42 Until that man came in there and said that his daughter I sell.

31:49 And then you disappeared. Oh, yeah.

31:57 I like talk to you cuz you take you back a long time ago.

32:01 2 long time do you think that very often do you leverage reminisce? And yeah, yeah, but Turning Point my life today, and I had this terrible thing called a stroke.

32:26 Annum

32:29 I had the stroke what they didn't tell me that my leg was going to try to be.

32:37 Paralyzed, you know.

32:41 It's hard to walk then if I don't I don't have support. I fall down.

32:47 This is all new to me. I was very athletic. I used to be a boxer and all that kind of stuff Tai Chi and all that.

32:55 So it kind of like depressed me.

33:00 What really depressed me is when my

33:03 Present-day wife passed away

33:08 COPD

33:11 She passed away from COPD. I was there with her for five years. I was there everyday fire. Side that hurt me still doors me. You know what I think about it.

33:25 Yeah.

33:27 When did she pass away November of last year?

33:33 2007

33:38 That's a huge life more. I cry for days or drunk. I start drinking and you know.

33:48 I didn't start smoking though. No, no cigarettes for me, you know.

33:56 You know any really hurt you when you lose someone that you love?

34:00 That's heard.

34:04 What do you miss about her?

34:08 Her feistiness is very feisty.

34:11 She would cuss me out in a minute. Mad. Mad. Mad. I say okay.

34:19 How's the weather?

34:22 Oh my God.

34:26 Sounds like you had a very complementary relationship.

34:36 Yeah, I got pictures of all the my little room.

34:41 Pictures of Beverly pictures here

34:45 Does that help you with grieving having the pictures?

34:50 Yeah, it does.

34:55 I still.

34:57 Get that Misty in my eyes when I think about her.

35:05 That's natural.

35:09 So you better help the one that you love doesn't pass away. It's going to hurt.

35:16 Appreciate it.

35:21 Well, that's good advice. Do you have any other advice for what makes the successful relationship?

35:30 Any other advice for what makes a successful relationship relationship is being able to stick together?

35:44 Never give up on each other.

35:47 And everything things for granted

35:53 And always keep the sex thing going if you lose the SEC side there.

36:01 You lose a very important ingredient in a relationship.

36:07 I've got a headache.

36:10 You know all that kind of stuff. That's what you young girls. Talk about. I have a headache I Faking It.

36:18 Ever

36:24 Your generation

36:28 As you're concerned.

36:41 Then what it what do you

36:43 Sex that's so important in a relationship the two of you together.

36:52 I'm for real side.

36:55 Cut that all the barriers and stuff like that.

36:59 And if you're able to meet that criteria Theory criteria, you be okay.

37:08 But these things that I learned in and school.

37:12 My God

37:17 You know one of these days don't play.

37:22 I want this I want it this way. I want to last longer.

37:28 I didn't get one that you making me you better perform and not I'm going to see the

37:38 Divorce man if you can't perform properly and then even have a song called I don't want no one minute man.

37:48 How embarrassing?

37:53 Yep. Yep.

37:57 Well, I think we're winding down Ishmael, but I want to ask you one last question to sort of wind up probably have a couple of minutes is if you could give one piece of advice more than one piece is okay, but if you have advice for the Next Generation, what would that be?

38:17 This next-generation. I'll tell them to love yourself.

38:22 Love yourselves and to learn to respect yourself.

38:27 Have those around you respect yourself respect your pants and hanging down to your drawers and dirty drawers and shower.

38:37 How are you going to respect yourself? You call this lady your woman your car has a what is that about?

38:46 You know you got to have respect for yourself or you got to respect for your other half.

38:52 That's fine dice them.

39:06 But we have a minute Ishmael.

39:10 What Abbott I'm glad you were the one getting to the interview.

39:15 I enjoyed myself and I learned a lot about you.

39:20 Yes, I am.

39:24 Thank you for talking with me sharing so much information.

39:29 I don't share with everybody.

39:32 Most damning very quiet stupid and corn be quiet. You know, don't say too much.

39:40 Deep Waters under their yeah.