Dream and Reality: The Modern Black Struggle for Freedom and Equality

By Jeannine Swift | Go to book overview
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enjoy the swankiest hotels, eat in the finest restaurants, live on the boulevard, ride anywhere, worship anyplace, work anywhere, get high-paying jobs, send more men to Congress, get more judgeships--but remember that we can do all these things and not be a part of the policy-making bodies that shape education, industry, and government. We can do all these things and still be grossly discriminated against when there is no sign of segregation in sight. This kind of discrimination which we will meet in the interim between desegregation and integration will be subtle and will be administered not by the Maddoxes, the Wallaces, and the Barnetts, but by our liberal friends in Congress, in education, and in industry. If we aren't careful, we will live another century dangling between desegregation and integration, with all the discrimination inherent therein. (16)

In the same year ( 1967) that Dr. Mays delivered his prophetic address, a black militant and a black scholar collaborated to write a book, Black Power: The Politics of Liberation in America. Although it never enjoyed the distinction of being on mainstream America's best seller lists, its crisp analysis and recommendations hold as true today as they did two decades ago.

Carmichael and Hamilton state:

The adoption of the concept of Black Power is one of the most legitimate and healthy developments in American politics and race relations in our time. The concept of Black Power speaks to all the needs mentioned in this chapter. It is a call for black people in this country to unite, to recognize their heritage, to build a sense of community. It is a call for black people to begin to define their own goals, to lead their own organizations. It is a call to reject the racist institutions and values of this society. The concept of Black Power rests on a fundamental premise: Before a group can enter the open society, it must first close ranks. (17)

The painful lessons blacks learned in futile attempts at integration demand a new mindset which clearly states that black children need not attend predominantly white schools to learn; blacks need not live in white communities to be comfortable and safe; and blacks need not patronize white entrepreneurs exclusively to receive quality products and services. All blacks, but black children particularly, need to learn that all of the so-called good things in life are not attained only in the white community.

In the language of the 1954 Brown decision, constantly being told that one can only attain the best that life has to offer outside of one's home and community environment is injurious to the minds and hearts of Black Americans.


NOTES
1.
Anthony Lewis, "The School Segregation Cases," in Black History: A Reappraisal, ed. Melvin Drimmer ( Garden City, NY: Anchor Books, Doubleday, 1969), 423.
3.
Jennifer L. Hochschild, Thirty Years After Brown ( Washington, D.C.: Joint Center for Political Studies, 1985), 19, 20.

-84-

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