Government Retreat, the Dispossessed, and the Politics of African American Self-Reliant Development in the Age of Reaganism
Floyd W. Hayes III
In a 1935 article, entitled "A Negro Nation Within the Nation," W. E. B. Du Bois declared, "The colored people of America are coming to face the fact quite calmly that most white Americans do not like them, and are planning neither for their survival, nor for their definite future if it involves free, self-assertive modern manhood" ( Paschal 1971, 71). Du Bois held that although African Americans were constrained by the forces of racial and economic exclusion, they possessed the potential for economic advancement by working together. "With the use of their political power, their power as consumers, and their brain power," Du Bois wrote, African Americans could "develop in the United States an economic nation within a nation, able to work through inner cooperation, to found its own institutions, to educate its genius, and at the same time, without mob violence or extremes of race hatred, to keep in helpful touch and cooperate with the mass of the nation" (ibid., 75). However, a thoroughgoing program of black self-reliant development did not occur then.