Controversial speaker visits NIU

By Kevin Lyons

Steven Cokely, touted the most controversial black speaker and researcher in the Chicago area by the NIU Black InterHall Council, spoke to a crowd of about 400 in the Carl Sandburg Auditorium last night.

Cokely said he worked for both the Eugene Sawyer and Harold Washington Chicago mayoral administrations. Cokely made several unsubstantiated claims throughout the night. For example, Cokely said Washington actually was murdered. Washington died of a heart attack a few years ago.

Cokely called for revolution using a Wizard of Oz reference, challenging the NIU black community to get to the “wizards,” the men behind the curtain who are really running the country.

According to Cokely, the nation is run by men, similar to the Wizard, who belong to secret societies like the Masons, in which George Washington and other founding fathers were involved.

Cokely said he is a former NIU student who was sent to a local psychiatric ward for allegedly threatening the life of then-NIU President Richard Nelson in 1975.

“It was here (at NIU) that I met the beast for the first time,” Cokely said. “I’ve returned to NIU, the scene of the crime.”

Cokely said he was harassed by the NIU administration for staging protests after the murder of a black NIU student.

He also said Nelson was a contract agent for the CIA, based on his involvement with a student exchange program with the Soviet Union.

“Yes, they are here to control you,” Cokely said, referring to the NIU administration.

He also said, “The Northern Star was and still is an agent of the NIU administration.”

Cokely taunted three white students as they left the auditorium saying, “Before it’s over, they’ll all leave.”

He often referred to “secret societies” like the Rhodes Scholars and Skull and Cross Bones members and many others.

“Everything that has been done since 1776 is part of the criminal enterprise,” Cokely said.

“When the revolution comes down, all relationships with the white man will cease,” he said. Cokely said that by attending, NIU students are “giving honor to the beast.”

Cokely said revolution is necessary and the normal political process will take too long because blacks are so underrepresented in politics. “Unity is not the action point,” he said. “We can’t reform this thing.”

“I agree with some of the things he was saying, regarding secret societies and other things,” said sophomore Nicole Richmond. “I didn’t like his profanity or his remarks to some whites, but other than that it was okay.”

“He showed me that the divisive problems in the world, like racism, are a lot deeper than they seem,” said NIU junior Isaac Taylor.