I have learned that it is not whom one talks to that is critical; it’s whom one listens to. Black America would be much better if we had listened to the following advice.
Harold Cruse: “Although the average Blacks are better off in the 1980s than their forbearers, the tasks they face from now on through the year 2000 will be difficult – calling for more organizational skill, political ingenuity and imagination, intellectual endurance, hard work and application of though than ever before.”
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.: “The art of alliance politics is more complex and more intricate than if is generally pictured. It is easy to put exciting combinations on paper….A true alliance is based upon some self-interest of each component group and a common interest into which they merge. For an alliance to have permanence and loyal commitment from its various elements, each of them must have a goal from which it benefits and none must have an outlook in basic conflict with others.”
Brother Malcolm X: “Basically, there are two kinds of power that count in America: economic and political, with social power deriving from the two….The organization of Afro-American Unity will organize the Afro-American community block by block to make the community aware of its power and potential; we will start immediately a voter registration drive to make every unregistered voter in the Afro-American community an independent voter; we propose to support and/or organize political clubs, to run independent candidates for office, and to support any Afro-American already in office who answers to and is responsible to the Afro-American community.”
Carter G. Woodson: “In the schools of business administration, Negroes are trained excessively in the psychology and economics of Wall Street and are, therefore, made to despise the opportunities to run ice wagons, push banana carts and sell peanuts among their own people. Foreigners, who have not studied economics, but have studied Negroes, take up this business and grow rich.”
Earl B. Dickerson: “As more and more Blacks move into the middle class, they owe a responsibility to the Black community. If Blacks go into the White community to get the know-how, and then stay there, they are only pushing further away from the possibilities of Blacks ever becoming economically sufficient.
“I call upon these young men and women to get the experience, to get the foundation, and before they get too old, to move the Black community to help Blacks achieve economic equality.
“The economic insufficiency in the Black community can never be improved to any substantial extent merely by employing a few middle-class Blacks….We’ve got to improve the purchasing power of the total community…”
Benjamin E. Mays: “I hope we will make it clear to ourselves and our children that whether we believe in integration, separatism or nationalism, there is no substitute for a trained mind. For the future belongs…to the man who knows, and the man who has skills.”
Let us pay close attention to what they have said and use them as guidelines for action.
Contact A. Peter Bailey at firstname.lastname@example.org.