Back in black

Former militant M.T. A'Vant has a new object of scorn: the black leadership he once supported

A'Vant wasted no air time and criticized Dallas' many blacks and their leaders. But the show ended after several months because of repeated complaints to the station from Al Lipscomb, Price, and former Dallas City Council member Diane Ragsdale, A'Vant says.

"I have no comment regarding such gentleman. OK?" says Ragsdale, when asked if A'Vant's allegations were true. "I closed him out many years ago."

He had been off the air for about six months, when, according to A'Vant, an anonymous donor in the black community paid more than a thousand dollars a week to get him back on. (A'Vant would not identify the man and says he doesn't know his whereabouts). But after a few weeks, he was off again because of those alleged complaints from black leaders.

A'Vant isn't discouraged, even if he now has to hold a while to get on the air. It's worth the wait; he seems to get a high from stirring people's emotions -- whatever that emotion may be. On a recent evening at his home, he popped a video in his VCR showing his talk before the Garland City Council. "You're all in bed with the school board," he said then, alleging that the council and the school board only worked together when it suited them -- at election time.

The criticism didn't register, though; the members brushed him off with laughter.

Now, watching the tape, A'Vant seems unfazed, unhurt by their mockery. He sits calmly in his chair, the room filled with the sweet smell of a homemade cigarette. After hours of blowing smoke in this reporter's face, his eyes widen and he grins when it looks as if the fumes have affected someone other than himself.

"Contact," he says with a triumphant smile.

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