We Have No Leaders: African Americans in the Post-Civil Rights Era

By Robert C. Smith; Ronald W. Walters | Go to book overview

PART IV

The Negro demands less by his ballot, not only in actual results but even in mere respect for himself as a voter than any of all the groups that go to make up the American citizenry; although some of these groups are far smaller in numbers and even weaker economically.

—James Weldon Johnson ( 1924)

You're the one who sent Kennedy to Washington. You're the one that put the present Democratic Administration in Washington, D.C. The whites were evenly divided. It was the fact that you threw 80 percent of your votes behind the Democrats that put the Democrats in the White House. . . . And despite the fact that you are in a position to be a determining factor, what do you get out of it? The Democrats have been in Washington, D.C. only because of the Negro vote. They have been down there four years and all other legislation they wanted to bring up, they have brought up and gotten it out of the way and now they bring up you. And now they bring up you! You put them first and they put you last. Because you're a chump, a political chump. . . ! The party that you backed controls two-thirds of the House of Representatives and the Senate; and still they can't keep their promises to you. Because you're a chump! Anytime you throw your weight behind a political party that controls two-thirds of the government and that party can't keep the promises it made to you during election time; and you're dumb enough to walk around continuing to identify yourself with that party, you are not only a chump; but you are a traitor to your race!

—Malcolm X ( 1964)

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