Library - Reading Room
Supporting Materials for Sir! No Sir!
Cliff Blanks Corps 1-0
Last week the USMC backed down for once when they dropped charges against L/Cpl Clifford L. Mansker, one of the best organizers for the Black Unity Party at Camp Pendleton. Cliff's determination, good political lawyers, and civilian support led to the prosecution's reversal.
Cliff was upon 3 charges. One was "loud and disorderly conduct in command" for giving a political education class on a bus from Oceanside to Pendleton.
Another was "assault" for cocking his wrist in self-defense when an MP, Sgt. Sears, tried to forcibly remove his Black Unity Band before throwing him in the tank.
The third charge was "communicating a threat." Cliff supposedly said to Sears: "If I ever see you on the street. I'll kill you." The last two charges were thrown on him when he was passing out Black Unity papers legally in the streets of Oceanside.
Cliff decided to make his defense political all the way. His lawyers made several nthtions to get a "fair" court which resulted in a court of three--one black sergeant, one white sergeant, and a captain. Probably the lowest ranking court in the history of the Marine Corps!
The prosecution's case was based-mainly on the testimony of MP Sears. He wasn't very believable however, after contradicting himself several times and revealing a record of 30 scuffles in the MP shack with other GIs during a period of several months.
The trial was recessed for a month because the military judge had to go to Japan. It was to begin again with Cliff's case. The defense would have been a direct attack on the. Corps for racism. Cliff's friends in the mess hall, both black and white, were going to testify for him. The defense would have also proven that Cliff was consistently harassed because he was political, effective, and right on!
During that month Black Unity Party in Oceanside, All Ready on the Left, and MDM projects in Southern California planned a demonstration for the reopening of the trial. Two days after the planning meeting Cliff's charges were droppd. The People Won A Victory!
All Ready on the Left, no. 3