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Roberta Sykes (Embassy activist) on the Embassy
Roberta Sykes (Embassy activist) on the Embassy, 1973

'The Embassy symbolised that blacks had been pushed as far as blacks are going to be pushed. That from now on, they are going forward again. Despite people fighting and struggling right across the country, spasmodically, individually, in isolation, the first national announcement that the pushing back was going to stop was the Embassy. Despite FCAATSI and all that stuff. The Embassy was a black affair; it wasn't blacks being guided by whites. And I was determined to keep it so. First and foremost it symbolised the land rights struggle. But beyond that it said to white Australia, "You've kicked us down for the last time." In all areas. In education, in health, in police victimisation, in locking people up en masse - in all these things. It said that blacks were now going to get up and fight back on any or all these issues.'

Keywords: activism, Australian Labor Party, FCAATSI Federal Council For Aboriginal Advancement , Foley, Gary, land rights, resistance, Sykes, Bobbi, tent embassy, Torres Strait Islanders, Whitlam, Gough, 1973

Roberta Sykes in 'Because a white man'll never do it', Gilbert, A 1973, Angus and Robertson p 29. Still: Roberta Sykes, 1971. Courtesy of AIATSIS.
Author: Rowse, Tim and Graham, Trevor
Source: Sykes, Roberta