The House of the Lord Church where Black Political Power was Born and Nurtured
Photo Bio Series: History of the Black United Front
Part Eighty- Eight
During his last visit it was a kind of celebratory and a ceremonial time. It was joyful and it was sad. It was a happy time of family reunion with closest friends, supporters, comrades. But we all knew that he was very ill and was headed for an operation. He was jubilant, buoyant, energetic, sharing some of the energy and enthusiasm, and the laughter that we had seen in him in earlier times.
His speech was solemn but powerful with as usual a sprinkling of humor. All who were blessed to be present on the occasion will never forget the moment. When the ceremony we went down to my office. My family, Dave Brothers Who was his special assistant and scheduler. A couple of his closest friends. We talked, we laughed we joked and we prayed.I will never forget the moment. Toward that end we are planning to do an Annual Kwame Ture day around the time of his birthday which is June 29th. We had originally planned to do it on his birthday June 29th, but we remembered that the African Arts Festival is July 1-4th. So we’ve confirmed July 29-30th, 2023. So we want all of his family, friends and comrades to come out.
The following is the continuation from part IV of the Black Power Series published Wednesday, July 19, 2006. In June 1966, in Greenwood Mississippi, Stokely Carmichael aka Kwame Ture made a call for Black Power. The following excerpt is taken from literature I wrote more than 40 years ago. I hope the reader finds the articles as interesting as I have found them.
Black Power, simply put, is black people exercising power to further their own interests. It is what others have done – and are doing. Irish power was-and is – used to further Irish interests. There were so many Irish in President Kennedy’s cabinet that it was called the “Irish Mafia.” And the interesting thing is that nobody became irritated about it. In fact, the country found it rather amusing. When President Johnson became president, he said he was Irish by osmosis and there was great laughter.
Jewish power was – and is - used to further Jewish interests. The Catholic power was and is-used to further Catholic interests. One of the reasons Mr. Kennedy became president was because Catholic power acting in concert with others voted with him. Not if other interests are advanced in the process- or there can be a coalition of mutual benefit- so much the better. If not, so much the worse-for the other group. For the reality is, each group must develop power and exercise power in its own interest. That is the inescapable reality of life in America or life in the world. John Quincy Adams observed a long time ago that reason and equity do not rule in the affairs of men-but self-interest. One diplomat recently said “We have no eternal friends and no eternal enemies; we only have eternal interests.”
One of the crippling traits of Black America is we are over nice. We have a child-like trust in white benevolence. We are so fair-minded. We tend to project this fair-mindedness onto whites. Centuries of white barbarianism, warnings from the lips of our most perceptive and provocative leaders, past and present, have not completely obliterated this belief that most whites love mercy and will do justly.
Perhaps that attitude has been a blessing in disguise. For if most blacks knew (or would allow to come to consciousness) that most whites have dealt treacherously; still deal treacherously and everyday demonstrate that the future will see no appreciable alteration in their attitudes and actions, this awareness would precipitate an unparallel spate of suicide or insanity or riots, or insurrection.
There is just no sensible, logical, plausible, reasonable explanation for whites’ callous cruelty toward Blacks. Is there any wonder that some persons have found a metaphysical explanation for it all? They have identified whites with devils. Those who know the horrendous history of whites see a great deal of plausibility in that explanation. If they cannot accept whites as congeniality evil-born-devils it is not hard for them to believe that they are cultural devils. That is to say they act the way they do because the society has created systems that are anti-Black.
Whites are fed superiority with their milk. Subsequently all the means of implanting information continues to inculcate that illusion throughout their lives. So whites can only act from what they have been taught. And to repeat for emphasis, they have been taught that they are superior and we are inferior. Now it is true, that to a significant degree, sporadically and spasmodically, suicide, insanity and insurrection have occurred. Some of our people have been aware, but the awareness has not been on a massive scale. I think we are coming to that point of recognition today. That is why these times are crucial times fraught with TNT.
Whites are being shown for what they are. Their naked racism is there for all to behold. Even the most incredulous is constrained to think new thoughts about the goodness of white people. Multitudes of Blacks are saying, “in words and deeds, “We have seen the nature of whites, and it is deceitful, and this deceit saturated all his dealings, relationships and associations with Blacks. Therefore, we must destroy ourselves-in drink, dope, in sex and in fratricidal violence; or we must destroy the system-in riots or insurrections; or we have got to devise an effective means of coming to grips with the debilitating effects in our personalities instilled by years of white oppression, and with white chicanery and recalcitration.”
Somebody has said, “the dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate for the stormy present. The council of forbearance and patience are heartless and cruel.” The strategies of the old civil-white-rights movement are powerless to help us. They have yielded little more than executive orders; litigation, legislation, a few juicy jobs for acceptable Negroes. There have been meager foundation grants and federal and state appropriations, all of which amounts to little, particularly given the time, energy, resources and sacrifices we have made.
But the old strategies have served their purpose. They have brought us to this moment of crisi-which can be good or bad, depending on the next kind of strategy we adopt. For the bourgeois Blacks-those who concern themselves with the struggled-the civil white-rights movement still has meaning. But to the Black masses, it is ineffectual and insignificant and out of step with the stomping feet of the militant masses. Black Power is the new idea or concept or philosophy. And the tactics and strategies must be grounded in that new reality. It places the burden for progress largely upon the shoulders of Black people. It does not trust its future to white generosity. It has little faith in white goodwill. It does not cower before white frowns, nor court white favor. It focuses attention upon the power and creative genius within the souls of Black people and the resource and abilities in the Black community. It is not manipulated by white consumed boards, councils, committees or government. It echoes the call of Marcus Garvey, “Up ye might race; you can accomplish what you can accomplish what you will.”
It (Black Power) says if progress is to be a reality, it must be on the wings of Black Power. Progress can be likened to an automobile – Black Power. In a real sense, the little progress that has been made, can be traced to Blacks exercising a certain kind of power - Black Power.
Black Power says “Look to yourself racially. See what has happened, what is happening and what can happen.” Black Power says, “Look to your history. See what has happened. Whites have robbed you of your heritage. They have twisted and distorted what they did not want or could not use. They have said, ‘We had no heroes, no past about which we could feel proud, and from which we could draw inspiration.’ They said Africa was the last of our ancestors, but not all Africa just Black Africa (they called it Black Africa).”
They had to divide Africa because Egypt is in Africa (Northern Africa). Everybody knew the contributions of Egypt; in fact, many historians think Egypt was the first civilizations.