Seize The Future (cont.)
An Address by Rev. Herbert Daughtry
At a membership meeting of The Black United Front on February 6, 1979
How will we employ those tactics – whether we are successful or not – will depend on how each one of us fulfills a given assignment. I would like to take some liberties with the poem:
If it falls your lot to write letters, then write letters with all the literary genius of Lorraine Hansberry, James Baldwin and Richard Wright;
If it falls your lot to be a typist, then type with all the finger dexterity of Earl Garner, Bud Powell, Charlie Parker and John Coltrane;
If it falls your lot to hand out fliers, do it with the intensity and coordination of Muhammad Ali, Sugar Ray Robinson, Willie Mays, Karim Abdul Jabar, Earl Campbell and Max Roach;
If it falls your lot to make a musical contribution, if it is simply to sing a song, sing with the musical genius of Mahalia Jackson, Sam Cooke and Ray Charles;
If it falls your lot to teach, perform that task with all of the dedication insight and skill of Jitu Weusi, John Hendrik Clark, and Benjamin Mays;
If it falls your lot to register people, go about the task with the dedication of Denmark Vesey, Adam Clayton Powell and Arthur Eve;
If it falls your lot to organize, do it with the patience and skill of Martin Luther King, Jr., Marcus Garvey and Malcolm X;
If it falls your lot to simply be present at a meeting, rally or a demonstration then be there with all of the majestic bearing of Shaka and Mansa Musa upon their thrones;
If it falls your lot to make the supreme sacrifice, if you must die, then die nobly as Nat Turner and Jesus Christ. They died serene in the knowledge that they died in the cause of justice. After all, it is not how long we live, but how well we live that matters. What greater comfort can we have than to know that we leave a legacy for our children about which they can be proud and from which they can derive inspiration to carry on the struggle.
Need I warn you that the struggle is long and there will be no easy victories. The enemy is formidable and history teaches that tyrants do not yield an inch without a struggle. They will not relinquish their privileged positions by words alone or by moral importunities or by the pleasing qualities of the oppressed but they must be pushed, shoved, knocked and even then, they go forth scuffling, scratching, and clawing until the last.
Need I warn you this is dangerous business. It is a perilous journey we have embarked upon. The path is fraught with disappointments, betrayals, and bewilderment and scattered about are the bones of yesterday’s freedom fighters Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X and Patrice Lumumba.
Need I warn you that the enemy we fight controls the army, the navy, the air force, the police and the national guard. The media, along with all the other institutions, are his.
Need I warn you that your blood, as well as the blood of your fathers and mothers means nothing to him.
But before we despair, let me give you a word of hope. We have chosen the side of justice and on our side is a revolutionary movement which is shaking the world – a revolutionary movement that is shaking the foundation of old systems; a movement that is breaking the chains of imperialism, fascism and neo-colonialism; a movement that is destroying capitalism and racism; a movement that is writing the obituary of oppressive regimes in Latin America and digging the graves of exploitive systems in Africa.
Take heart! God, the Almighty is on our side. Greater than the armies of the enemy; greater than the genius of men and women, is the creator of all things. Though we cannot see him, He is there. Though we cannot hear him, He speaks. He has a covenant to keep. The credibility of the universe is at stake. If good and right are not the victors, then truth is a lie and evil is good and ugly is beautiful and light is darkness and up is down and hot is cold and knowledge is ignorance and we know not what we do.
We fight for we know not what. For the good we think we do is evil and the evil we shun is the good we think we have. But right is right and truth is truth and our struggle is just and justice will win. Though at times it does seem that truth is on the scaffold and wrong is on the throne, yet as the poet put it, beyond the dim unknown stands God keeping watch above his own.
So, with these tactics, this faith, this future look - we must live now as though we had already achieved. We must act now as though the battle was already won. We must respect each other and support each other and defend each other.
Our stand must be the stand of the winner. We must walk with the majestic steps of the victor. We must struggle not with heavy hearts and sad faces, tearful eyes and whinning lips. Nay, but however difficult the days, we must struggle with the glad assurance that freedom is ours. Let us then seize the future and live triumphantly in the present.
End of speech.