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The House of the Lord Church where Black Political Power was Born and Nurtured Part Ninety-Five

The continuation on the history of NBUF

The National Black United Front Speech (Part Two)

44th Annual Conference, Healthy Village Learning Institute

McKeesport Pennsylvania

July 7th - 9th 2023

Theme: Freedom and Unity

What is doable? What can we achieve in the meanwhile? In 1979, at the first New York Metropolitan BUF (we organized BUF in July 1978 after the killing of Randy Evans in 1976, and the jury’s decision to give the killer cop a slap on the wrist; and the chokehold death of Arthur Miller Jr. in June 1978 at the hands of New York Police.) At the BUF meeting I gave a speech in which I laid out what I considered doable. (See 1979 BUF Speech- Seize the Future in a booklet by same name.)

“What are those things we can think and do to seize the future? What is graspable? realizable?accessible? do-able? What is it that will prepare us or move us into the position to claim the future? Keep in mind that each action, however small, sets the stage for a larger one. Power to the people can never be realized if people do not exercise the power that they have, however small or insufficient. The farthest journey begins with one step. He that is faithful over the little things, Jesus once said, will be faithful over the big ones.

What then are those days we can do?

I. Economic Boycott:

We can use the method of economic withdrawal. There are three benefits this tactic gives us:

1. It is an effective method of mobilizing our people. Since it is an action that is available to all, it allows for massive participation.

2. In order for a movement to be viable, it must take care of its people. By using the method of economic withdrawal, we can be wiring from the system some of the crumbs to feed the movement.

3. The economic boycott allows us to enhance Black institutions and businesses even though we do not always agree fully with their policies and practices. By assisting them, they become grateful to us, expanding our appeal and supporters and further enhancing our credibility with our people at large. Economic withdrawal can be an awesome weapon if D. Parke Gibson is right in his book, $70 Billion in the Black, Black people's income is equal to the night largest nation in the world. Think what it would mean to the American economy if Black people decided not to participate. An ultimatum could be thrust before the governments articulating whatever demands are right and just and stating that unless these are met, non-economic participation will commence immediately. If there is large enough support, the government would have to yield for no government can function without Black participation.

ll. Political Action:

We can engage in political action at a massive level.

1.We can organize a political convention that would determine who represents black people and hold those representatives accountable.

2.We can construct a black political party or caucus that would set agendas and produce policies according to the inches of the people.

3. We can engage in massive political education and registration. To repeat, we need massive political participation, not just to support old politicians or to perpetuate old political processes or bolster decadent political parties but that we might create a viable Black political vehicle for our purpose

There is another reason we must involve ourselves in politics. We must learn the art, science, and skills of governing. Even if we come by the machinery of government, how can we govern if we have never participated in that process? We must inspire our young to be political, to run for office, to learn the political process - not to do what others have done but to do what others ought to have done.

It should be remembered that in June 1978 we organized a Black political convention. We endorsed ten candidates and supported them with funds and voter registration drivers etc. From this venture, we gained valuable experience to prepare us to establish a Black Convention as an ongoing reality.

III. Program Development

We must be program-minded. We must learn what business is and develop business cooperatives. While it is still true that ideologies inspire people, economics feeds them. Again, uppermost in our minds must be sensitivity to the immediate needs of our people. Jobs, housing, clothing, medical care, and education are some of the necessities that must be met by any movement which claims to represent the interests of the people. It is a legitimate desire to want to achieve these vital things as long as we understand that they are provisional and are necessary to keep us moving toward our goal.

Significantly and strangely, there is the seldom-mentioned side of Malcolm X which showed him to be concerned about developing programs. He even wanted programs for drug addicts and unwed mothers etc. Malcolm was deeply concerned about politics, education, human rights, and all the things that directly bear upon the lives of our people.

IV. Education

We must educate! We must build educational institutions. No people can ever be free who leave the education of their young to others. To do so is to turn over the future to other people.

Here in New York, we have a classic example. In a school system that has a Black student population of 40%, more than 90% of the teachers are Jewish. Is it any wonder that seven out of ten Black children will not complete high school and of the three that do only 50% will be able to read above an eighth-grade reading level? It is any wonder that our youth come to maturity unprepared for the demands and responsibilities of life.

Baraka said, “Our children are our future. Who controls your children’s minds controls your life even after the death of your body. We must make sure our children are Black, not only by race and culture but through consciousness. Education is the development of consciousness."

We should not be trapped in any absolute methodology with respect to the education of our children. We must have alternative systems. Bro. Jitu Weusi and the people at Uhura Sasa and others have shown us the way. At the same time, however, we cannot leave the public school system alone. Inasmuch as we have paid for it and are continuing to do so and most of our people are still there, we ought to develop a tactic to gain control of that system. The objective of capturing the inner-city school systems across the country is a worthy goal and if it were done, it would speed the revolution on its way.

The following figures with respect to the Black student populations across the country are worthy of consideration:

Baltimore 64%

St. Louis 63%

Philadelphia 58%

Indianapolis 33%

New York (about 22% Puerto Rican) 30%

Black Boston 26%

Cincinnati 42%

Detroit 58%

Newark 71%

Chicago 52%

Pittsburg 38%

Cleveland 56%

Buffalo 35%

District of Columbia 92%

Rochester 27%

Note: The speech was given in 1979 so the figures reflect that time.

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