Tuesday, April 23, 2013


Negroes, can I say Negroes, it sounds more regal than black people, want to know why they got the problems that they still have today that they had back in the day. You hear them say it all the time, “Ain’t nothing changed.” Have you changed anything? You can’t keep doing the same thing and expect a change. See, our ancestors, they told us what to expect they already knew what that white man was, greed, they could see it clearly, it had already been years, centuries, that they had been stuck in the same scene, routine discrimination. The only work we had was as maids, the only professions we had were preachers or teachers.

But right there , right there, when we started to get an education , when we started to become educated, Oberlin graduates, Fisk, Harvard, that’s when we started to see and understand economics and business and policy and politics and other people in history and ancient times of the Romans and the Greeks the different countries and Germany and Europe and Africa.

When we became educated, when our minds were broadened, that’s when the ideas rushed and the answers to our questions. We said men like WEB DuBois and Malcom X were before their time and they were. We were sent somebody to tell us what we needed to know, didn’t nobody tell us nothing before them, and their so called time is now.

What they talked about we should do as black people, we should be doing now, actually, we should have already started. Right after Martin was killed we were sick enough, when he had us marching and boycotting, we were sick enough, but we thought that was it, that was only a precursor to prepare us for the ultimate actualization of ourselves.

We didn’t understand that, slavery messed up our understanding, just messed up our ideal thought; we didn’t have no such a thing. People had to call you in, “Hey, go get something to eat”, you’d go eat, lord knows you was hungry. Then they come around and tell you about this Christianity, what kind of God was they telling you about that was letting this happen to you, like it was all good. See, now you wanna know, and it’s 2011, there’s a black president and we still asking ourselves, what can we do about this, why is this happening to us , why this continuational cycle of poverty, joblessness, why, crime, drugs, why, cause we haven’t tried something different we doing the same old thing and we need to change it.

Stop running up looking for them people to call us in off the street to eat, we got to feed our dam selves, go hungry till you grown the food, soon as its ready eat it raw, lord Jesus knows we got to change what we’ve been doing, we’ve got to! We have got to try something our ancestors told us to do, I don’t have to spell it out for, it is all we got left.

We say we don’t know what to do well, our ancestors are helping us know what to do.

Read what WEB told us in Dusk of Dawn:

WEB DuBois
…A third task, which I have been advocating and formulating, can easily be mistaken for a program of complete racial segregation and even nationalism among Negroes, indeed it has been criticized as such this is a misapprehension.

First, ignoring the other racial separations, I have stressed the economic discrimination as fundamental and advised concentration of planning here. 

We need sufficient income for health and home to supplement our education and recreation, to fight our own crime problem and above all to finance a continued, planned and intelligent agitation for political, civil and social equality.

How can we Negroes in the United States gain such average income as to be able to attend to these pressing matters? The cost of this program must fall first and primarily on us ourselves, it is silly to expect any large number of whites to finance a program which the overwhelming majority of whites today fear and reject, setting up as a boogie man an assumed proposal for an absolute separate Negro economy in America. It has been easy for colored philosophers and whitest experts to dismiss the matter with a shrug and a laugh, but this is not so easily dismissed.

In the first place we have already got a partially segregated Negro economy in the United States, there can be no question about this. 

We not only build and finance Negro churches but we furnish a considerable part of the funds for segregated schools. 
We furnish most of our own professional services in medicine, pharmacy, dentistry and law. 
We furnish some part of our food and clothes, our home building and repairing, and many retail services. 
We furnish books and newspapers.
We furnish endless personal services like those of barbers, beauty shop keepers, hotels, restaurants.   
It may be said that this inner economy of the negro serves but a small portion of it’s total needs but it is growing and expanding in various ways and what I propose is to plan and guide it as to take advantage of certain obvious facts.

 It is of course impossible that a segregated economy for Negroes in the United States should be complete. 

It is quite possible that it could never cover more than the smaller part of the economic activities of Negroes, never the less, it is also possible that this smaller part could be so important and wiled so much power that it’s influence upon the total economy of Negroes and the total industrial organization of the United States would be decisive for the great ends toward which the Negro moves, who are of course obsessed with the vastness of the industrial machine in America.   

The way in which organized wealth dominates our whole government, our education, our intellectual life and our art, but besides this, the American economic class structure, that system of domination of industry and the state through income and monopoly is only breaking down, it’s breaking down not simply in America, but in the world. 

We’ve reached the end of an economic era which seemed but a few years ago omnipotent and eternal.

We have lived to see the collapse of capitalism it makes no difference what we may say or how we may boast in the United States of the failures and changed objectives of the new deal and the prospective rehabilitation of the rule of finance capital, that is but wishful thinking. 

In Europe and in the United States as well as in Russia the whole organization and direction of industry is changing. 

We are not called upon to be dogmatic as to just what the end of this change would be, and what form the new organization would take, what we are sure of is the present fundamental change.

There faces the American Negro therefore, an intricate and subtle problem of combining into one subject two difficult sets of facts: 

His present racial segregation, which despite anything he can do, will persist for many decades in his attempt by  carefully planned and intelligent action to fit himself into the new economic organization which the world faces. 

This plan of action would have for it’s ultimate object, full Negro rights and Negro equality in America and it would most certainly approve as one method of obtaining this continued agitation, protest and propaganda to that end. 

On the other hand, my plan would not decline, frankly, to face the possibility of eventual immigration from America of some considerable part of the Negro population in case they could find a chance for free and favorable development unmolested and unthreatened and in case the race prejudice in America persisted to such an extent that it would not permit the full development of the capacity and aspirations of the Negro race. 

With its eyes open to the necessity of agitation and to possible migration, this plan would start with a racial grouping, that day is inevitable, and proceed to use it as a method of progress, along which we have worked and are now working, instead of letting this segregation remain largely a matter of chance and unplanned development, allowing its objects and results to rest in the hands of the white majority or in accidents of the situation, it would make the segregation  a matter of careful thought and intelligent planning on the part of Negroes.

The object of that plan would be twofold: 
First, to make it possible for the Negro group to await it’s ultimate emancipation with reasoned patience, with equitable temper and with every possible effort to raise it’s social status and increase the efficiency of the group 

Secondly, and just as important, the ultimate object of the plan is to obtain admission of the colored group to cooperation and incorporation into the white group on the best possible terms. This planned and deliberate recognition of self segregation on the part of colored people involves many difficulties that have got to be faced. 

First of all, in what lines and objects of effort should segregation come?

This choice is not wide because so much segregation is compulsory. Most colored children, most colored youth are educated in Negro schools and by Negro teachers. 

There is more education than race today than there was in the latter part of the nineteenth century, partly because of increased racial consciousness and partly because more Negroes are applying for education and this would call for larger social contact than ever before if whites and Negroes went to the same schools. 

On the other hand, this educational segregation involves, as Negroes know all to well, poorer equipment in the schools and poorer teaching than colored children would have if they were admitted to white schools and treated with absolute fairness. 

It means that their contact with a better trained part of the nation, a contact which spells quicker acculturation, is lessened and shortened and that above all, less money is spent on their schools. 

It must submit to double taxation in order to have a minimum of decent equipment. The Rosenwald school houses involve such double taxation on the Negro.   

The Booker T. Washington High School at Atlanta raises thousands of dollars each year by taxation upon colored students and parents while city funds furnish only salaries, buildings, books and a minimum of equipment. This is the pattern throughout the south. 

On the other hand, with the present attitude of teachers and the public even if colored students were admitted to white schools, they would not in most cases receive decent treatment nor a real education. It is not then a theory but a fact that faces the Negro in education.

He has group education in large proportion and he must organize and plan these segregated schools so that they become efficient, well housed, well equipped with the best of teachers and with the best results on the children so that the literacy and bad manners and criminal tendencies of young Negroes can be quickly and effectively reduced.

My thoughts-Why do some of our best people work at white institutions, even Toni Morrison my favorite author.

Most Negroes prefer a good school with properly paid colored teachers for educating their children to forcing their children in the white schools which met them with injustice and humiliation and discouraged their efforts to progress.

So to in the church, the activities for ethical teaching, character building and organized charity and neighborliness, which are largely concentrated in religious organizations are segregated racially more completely than any other human activity, A curious and eloquent commentary upon modern Christianity. 

These are the facts, and the colored church must face them, it is facing them only in part today because a large portion of intelligent colored folk do not cooperate with the church and leave the ignorant to make the church a seed of senseless dogma and meaningless ceremonies together with a multitude of activities which have no social significance and lead to no social betterment. On the other hand, the Negro church does do immense amounts of needed works of charity and mercy among the poor but here again it lacks funds.

 There has been a larger movement on the part of the Negro   intelligencia toward racial grouping for the advancement of arts and literature. There has been a distinct plan for reviving ancient African art through an American Negro art movement and more especially a thought to use the extremely rich and cultural life of the Negro in America and elsewhere as a basis for painting, sculpture and literature. 

This has been partly nullified by the fact that if these new artists expect support for their art from the Negro group itself, that group must be deliberately trained and schooled in art appreciation and in willingness to accept new canons of art and in refusal to follow  the herd instinct of the nation. 

Instead of this artistic group following such lines it has largely tried to get support for the Negro art movement from the white public often with disastrous results. 

Most whites want Negroes to amuse them, they demand caricature, they demand jazz and torn between these  allegiances between the extraordinary ward for entertainers of the white world and needed encouragement to honest self expression.   

The artistic movement among American Negroes has accomplished something but it has never flourished and never will until it is deliberately planned. Perhaps its greatest single accomplishment is Carter Woodson’s Negro history week.

In the same way, there is demand for a distinct Negro health movement. We have few Negro doctors in proportion to our population and the best training of Negro doctors has become increasingly difficult because of their exclusion from the best medical schools of America

Hospitalization among Negroes is far below their reasonable health needs and the individual medical practitioner, depending upon fee, is the almost universal pattern in this group. 

What is needed is a carefully planned and widely distributed system of Negro hospitals and socialized medicine with an adequate number of doctors on salary with the object of social health and not individual income. 

Negro Health Week, originating in Tuskegee, is a step in this direction the whole planned political program of intelligent Negroes is deliberate segregation of their vote for Negro welfare. 

William L. Dawson, former alderman of Chicago recently said, “I am not playing party politics, but race politics.” He urged, irrespective of party, adherence to political groups interested in advancing the political and economic rights of the Negro.

The same need is evident in the attitude of Negroes toward Negro crime obsessed by the undoubted fact that crime has increased, but three black men are jailed to one white man. It is an undoubted fact that crime is increased and magnified by race prejudice. 

We ignore the other fact that we have crime and a great deal of it, and that we ourselves have got to do something about it.

 What we ought to do is to cover the negro group with the services of legal defense organizations in order to counteract the injustice of the police and of the magistrate courts, and then we need positive organized effort to reclaim young and incipient male factors, there is little organized effort of that sort today, save a few negro reformatories with meager voluntary support and grudging state aid.

From all the foregoing, it is evident that economic planning to ensure adequate income is the crying need of Negroes today. 

This does not involve plans that envisage a return to the old patterns of economic organization in America and the world; this is the American Negro’s present danger. 

Most of the well to do, with fair education do not realize the imminence of profound economic change in the modern world. They are thinking in terms of work, thrift, investment and profit. 

They hope, with the late Booker T. Washington, to secure better economic conditions for Negroes by wider chances of employment and higher wages, they believe in savings and investment in negro and in general business and in the gradual evolution of a negro capitalist class which will exploit both negro and white labor.

 The younger and more intelligent Negroes, realizing in different degrees and according  to their training and their apt acquaintance with the modern world, the profound economic change through which the world is passing and is destined to pass have taken three different attitudes:

First, they’ve been confronted with the communist solution of present social difficulties. The communist philosophy was a program for a majority not for a relatively small minority. 

It pre-supposed a class structure based on exploitation of the overwhelming majority by an exploiting minority. It advised the seizure of power by this majority and the future domination of the state by and for this majority through the dictation of a trust group who would hold power until the people were intelligent and experienced enough to rule themselves by democratic methods.

 This philosophy did not envisage a situation where instead of a horizontal division of classes there was a vertical fissure by race cutting square across the economic layers even if on one side of this color line the dark masses were overwhelmingly workers but with an embryonic capitalist class. 

Never the less, the split between white and black workers were greater than that between white workers and capitalist. 

This split, dependent not only on economic exploitation but on a racial folklore, grounded on centuries of instinct, habit and thought and implemented by the conditioned reflex of visible color. This flat and incontrovertible fact imported Russian communism ignored, would not discuss.

 American Negroes were asked to accept a complete dogma without questionable alteration. It was, first of all, emphasized that all racial thought and racial segregation must go and that Negroes must put themselves blindly under the dictatorship of the communist party.

American communist did thoroughly and completely obliterate the color bar within their own party ranks but by doing so absolutely blocked any chance they might have had to attract any considerable number of white workers to their ranks. 

The movement , consequently, did not get far, first because of the natural fear of radical action in the group made timid through the heredity of slavery, but also and mainly, because the attempt to abolish American race prejudice by a phrase is impossible,  even for the communist party. 

Once result of a communist agitation among Negroes was however far reaching, and that was to impress the younger intellectuals with the fact that American Negroes were overwhelmingly workers and that their first duty was to associate themselves with the white labor movement and thus seek to bridge the gap of color and eradicate the deep seated racial instinct.

 This formed a second line of action more in consonance with conservative Negro thought. In accordance with this thought and advice and the pressure of other economic motive, Negro membership in labor unions has increased and is still increasing. 

This is an excellent development  but it has difficulties and pitfalls. The American labor movement varies from closed, skilled labor groups who are either nascent, capitalist or stooges to masses of beaten, ignorant labor outcasts, quite as helpless as the Negroes.

Moreover, among the working white masses, the same racial impulsion persists as in the case of other cultural contexts, this is only natural. 

The white laborer has been trained to dislike and fear black labor, to regard the Negro as an usurp competitor able and willing to degrade the price of labor and  even if the Negro prove a good union man, his treatment as an equal would involve equal status with the white laborer through his long, cultural training bitterly resent as a degradation of his own status. 

Under these circumstances the American Negro faces in the current labor movement, especially in the AF of L and also even in the CIO the current racial patterns of America.

To counteract this,  a recent study of the Negro unionism suggest that like the Jews, with their United Hebrew trade, so the Jews with a United Negro trade should fight for equality and opportunity within the labor ranks. 

This illustrates exactly my plan to use the segregation technique for industrial emancipation. The Negro has but one clear path, to enter the white labor movement, wherever and whenever he can, but to enter fighting still within labor ranks for recognition and equal treatment. 

Certainly, unless the Negro by his organization and discipline is in position to bring to the movement something besides ignorance, poverty and ill heath, unionization in itself is no panacea.

 There has come the third solution, which is really a sophisticated attempt to dodge the whole problem of color and economic change. This proposal says that Negroes should join the labor movement and also so far as possible should also join themselves to capital and become capitalists and employers and in this way gradually the color line will dissolve into a class line between employers and employees. 

Of course this solution ignores the impending change in capitalist society and hopes whatever that change may be, Negroes will be benefited along with their economic class.

The difficultly here is three fold: Not only would there be the same difficulties of the color line in unions but additional difficulties in exclusions when Negroes as small capitalist seek larger power through the use of capital and credit. 

The color bar there is beyond present hope of scaling, but  In addition to that, this plan will have inserted into the ranks all the Negro race a new cause of division, a new attempt to subject the masses of the race to an exploiting capitalist class of their own people. Negroes labor would be estranged from its own intelligencia, which represents black labors own best blood.

Upper class Negroes and Negro Labor would find themselves cutting each others throats on opposite sides of a desperate economic battle which will be but replica of the old battle which the white world is seeking to outgrow. Instead of forging ahead to a new relation of capital and labor we would relapse into the old discredited pattern.

 It seems to me, that all three of these solutions are less hopeful than a fourth solution

And that is a racial attempt to use the power of the Negroes as a consumer not only for his economic uplift but in addition to that, for his economic education. 

What I propose is that into the interstices of this collapse of the industrial machine,   the Negro shall search intelligently, carefully and farsightedly plan for his entrance in the new economic world not as a continuing slave but as an intelligent free man with power in his hands. 

I see this chance for planning in the role which the Negro plays as a consumer in the future reorganization of industry, the consumer as against the producer, is going to become the key man. 

Industry is going to be guided according to his wants and needs and not exclusively with regard to the profit of the producers and transporters. 

Now, as a consumer, the Negro approaches economic equality much more nearly than he ever has as producer.

Organizing then and conserving, and using intelligently the power which twelve million people have through what they buy is possible for the American Negro to help in rebuilding of the economic state. 

The American Negro is primarily a consumer in the sense that his place in power in the industrial process is low and small. Never the less, he still has a remnant of his political power and that is growing, not only in the North but even in the South. 

He has in addition to that, his economic power as a consumer, as one who can buy goods with some discretion as to what goods he buys. It may truly be said that his discretion is not large but it does exist and it may be made the basis of a new instrument of democratic control over industry.

The cultural differentiations among American Negroes has considerably out stripped the economic differences which sets this group aside as unusual and at the same time opens possibilities  for institutional development and changes of great importance. 

Fundamental and such change would be the building up of new economic institutions suited to minority groups without wide economic differences and with distinct cultural possibilities. 

The fact that the number of Negro college graduates has increased from 215 between 1876-1880 to 10,000 between 1931-1935, shows that the ability is there if it can act, in addition to mental ability, there is demanded an extraordinary moral strength the strength to endure discrimination and not become discouraged, to face almost universal disparagement and keep one’s soul and to sacrifice for an ideal which the present generation will hardly see fulfilled. This is an unusual demand; no one can say off hand whether or not the present generation of American Negroes is equal to it. But, there is reason to believe that if the high emotional content of the Negro soul could once be guided into channels that promise success and the end might be accomplished.

WEB DuBois-Part Two

Despite a low general level of income, Negroes probably spend at least 150 million a month under ordinary circumstances and they live in an era when gradually economic evolution is substituting the consumer as the decisive voice in industry rather than the all powerful producer of the past.

 Already, the Negro group in which consumer interest is dominant, outside of agriculture, the Negro is a producer only so far as he is an employee and usually a subordinate employee of large interest dominated almost entirely by whites. 

His social institutions therefore, are almost entirely the institutions of consumers and it is precisely along the development of these institutions that he can move in general accordance with the economic development of his time and of the larger white group and also, in this way, evolve unified organization for his own economic salvation.

The fact is, as the census of 1930 shows: there is almost no need that a modern group has which Negro workers already trained and at work are able to satisfy.

Already, Negroes can raise their own food, build their own homes, fashion their own clothes, mend their own shoes, do much of their repair work and raise some raw materials like tobacco and cotton. 

A simple transfer of Negro workers, with only such additional skills as can easily be learned in a few months, would enable them to weave their own cloth, make their own shoes, slaughter their own meat, prepare furniture for their homes, install electrical appliances, make their own cigars and cigarettes.   

Appropriate direction and easily obtainable technique and capital would enable Negroes further to take over the world of their retail distribution,  to raise, cut, mine and manufacture a considerable proportion of the basic  raw material to man their own manufacturing plants, to process foods, to import necessary raw materials, to invest and build machines.

Processes and monopolized natural resources, they must continue to buy, but they could buy them on just as advantageous terms as their competitors if they bought in large quantities and paid cash, instead of enslaving themselves with white usury, credit. 

Large numbers of other Negroes working as miners, laborers in industry and transportation could without difficulty be transferred to productive industries designed to cater to Negro consumers. A matter of skill in such industries is not as important as in the past with industrial operations masked and standardized.  

Without doubt there are difficulties in the way of this program. The Negro population is scattered. The mouths which the Negro farmers might feed might be hundreds of thousands of miles away, and carpenters and mechanics would have to be concentrated and guaranteed a sufficiency of study employment, all this would call for careful planning, and particularly for such an organization of consumers as would eliminate unemployment, risk and profit.

Demand, organized and certain, must precede the production and transportation of goods. The waist of advertisement must be eliminated.
The difference between actual cost and selling price must disappear, doing away with exploitation of labor, which is the source of profit. 

All of this would be a realization of democracy in industry led by consumers, organizations and extending to planned production.

Is there any reason to believe that such democracy among American Negroes could evolve in necessary leadership and technique under necessary social institutions which would so guide and organize the masses, that a new economic foundation could be laid for a group, which is today threatened with poverty, and social subordination.

In this process, it would be possible to use consumer organizations already established among the whites.  There are such wholesale and manufacturing plants, they welcome patronage, but the Negro Cooperative Movement cannot rest here, if it does it will find it quite unconscientiously and without planning, Negroes would not be given the places of authority or perhaps even ordinary cooperation in these wider institutions and the reason will be that white cooperators will not conceive it probable that Negroes could share and guide this work. (same as today) 

This, the Negro must prove in his own wholesale and manufacturing establishments. Once he has done this and done it thoroughly, there will gradually disappear much of the discrimination in the wider cooperative movement, but that will take a long time. 

Meantime, this integration of the single consumers cooperative in the wholesales and factories will intensify the demand for selected leaders and intelligent democratic control over them for the discovery of ability to manage, of character, of absolute honesty of inspirational push, not toward power but toward efficiency, of expert knowledge in the technique of production and distribution and a scholarship in the past and present of economic development nor is this enough.

The eternal tendency of such leadership is, once it is established, to assume it’s own technocratic right to rule, to begin to despise the mass of people who do not know, who have no idea of difficulties of machinery and processes, who succumb to the blandishments of the glib talker and are willing to select people not because they are honest and sincere, because they wiled the glad hand.   Now, these people must not be despised, they must be taught, they must be taught in long and lingering conference, in careful marshaling of facts, in the willingness to come to decisions thoroughly and the determination not to tyrannize over minorities.

There will be minorities that do not understand, they must patiently be taught to understand. There will be minorities who are stubborn, selfish, self-opinionated their real character must be so brought out and exhibited until the overwhelming mass of people who own the cooperative and whose votes guide and  control it will be able to see just exactly the principles and persons for which they are voting.

The group can socialize most of its professional activities. Certain general and professional services they could change from a private profit to mutual basis. They could mutualize in reality and not in name in banking and insurance, law and medicine, health can be put upon the same compulsory basis that we have tried in the case of education with universal service under physicians paid, if possible by the state or helped by the state or paid entirely by the group. Hospitals can be as common as churches and used to far better advantage.

The legal profession can be socialized and instead of being as it is now, a defense of property and of anti social aggressions of wealth, it can become as it should be, the defense of the young, poor, ignorant and careless. Banking should be so arranged as to furnish credit to the honest in emergencies or to put unneeded savings to useful and socially necessary work.

Banking should not be simply and mainly a method of gambling, theft, tyranny, exploitation and profit making. Our insurance business should cease to be as it so largely is a matter of deliberate gambling and become a cooperative   service to equalize the incidents of misfortune equitably among members of the whole group without profit to anybody.

Negroes could not only furnish pupils for their own schools and colleges but could control their teaching force and policies, their textbooks and ideals by concentrating their demand, by group buying and by their own plants, they could get negro literature issued by the best publishers without censorship upon expression and they could involve negro art for it’s own sake and for it’s own beauty and not simply for the entertainment of white folk. The American negro must remember that he is primarily a consumer but as he becomes a producer, it must be at the demand and under the control of organized consumers and according to their wants, that, in this way he can gradually build up the absolutely needed cooperation in occupations.

Today we work for others at wages pressed down to the limit of subsistence. Tomorrow we may work for ourselves, exchanging services, producing an increasing proportion of the goods which we consume and being rewarded at a living wage and by work under civilized conditions.  

This will call for self –control, it will eliminate the millionaire and even the rich Negro. It will put the Negro leader upon a salary, which will be modest as American salaries go and yet sufficient for life under modern standards of decency and enjoyment. It will eliminate also, the pauper and the industrial derelict to a degree but not completely.

This is a program of segregation. The consumer group is, in important aspects, a self segregated group. We are now segregated largely without reason; let us put reason and power beneath this segregation. Here comes tremendous opportunity in the negro housing projects of New York, Chicago, Atlanta and a dozen other centers, in resettlement projects like the 8 all negro farmers colony in 6 southern states, 23 rural projects in 12 states. 

Rail if you will against the  race segregation here involved and condoned, but take advantage of it by planting secure centers of negro cooperative effort and particularly of economic power to make us spiritually free for initiative and creation in other and wider fields and for eventually breaking down all segregation based on color or curl of the hair.

There are unpleasant eventualities we must face even if we succeed, for instance, if the negro in America is successful in welding mass or a large proportion of it’s people working for their own betterment and uplift, they will certainly, like the Jews, be suspected of sinister design and inner plotting and their very success and cultural advance will be held against them and used for further and perhaps fatal segregation. 

There is of course always the possibility that the plan of a minority group may be opposed to the best interest of a neighboring, or enveloping, or larger group, or even if it is not, the larger and more powerful group may think certain policies of a minority are inimical to the national interest. The possibility of this happening must be taken into account.

The Negro group in the United States can establish for a large proportion of it’s members a cooperative, commonwealth, finding it’s authority in this consensus   of the group and it’s intelligent choice of inner leadership. 

It can see to it that not only no action of this inner group is opposed to the rural interest of the nation but that it works for and in conjunction with the best interest of the nation. It need draw no line of exclusion so long as the outside is joined in the consensus. Within its own group it can, in the last analysis, expel the anti social and hand him over to the police force of the nation. On the other hand, it can avoid all appearance of conspiracy in seeking goals in compatible with the general welfare of the nation. 

It can court publicity, it can exhibit results, it can plead for cooperation, it’s greater advantage will be that it is no longer as now attempting to march face forward into the walls of prejudice, if the wall moves then move with it and if it does not move it cannot, save in extreme cases hinder us.

Have we the brains to do this? Here in the past we have easily landed into a morass of criticism, without faith and the ability of American Negroes to extricate themselves from their present plight. A former panacea emphasized by Booker T. Washington was flight of class from mass and wealth, with the idea of escaping the masses or ruling the masses through power placed by white capitalist into the hands of those with larger income. 

My own panacea of earlier days was flight of class from mass through the development of a talented tenth, but the power of this aristocracy of talent was to lay in its knowledge and character and not in its wealth. The problem, which I not then attack, was that of leadership and authority within the group which by implication left controls to wealth by contingency of which I never dreamed, but now the whole economic trend of the world has changed, that mass and class must united for world salvation is clear. 

We, who have had least class differentiation in wealth, can follow in the new trend and indeed lead it. Most Negroes do not believe that this can be done, they not only share American public opinion in distrusting the inherent ability of the Negro group, but they see no way in which the present classes who have proven their intelligence and efficiency can gain leadership over their own people.

On the contrary, they feared desperately a vulgar rivation  (rivalry)of emerging culture among them a contact with the ignorant and anti social mass. This fear has been accentuated by recent radical agitation, unwashed and unshaven black demagogues has scared and brow beaten cultured Negroes, have convinced them that their leadership can only be secured through demagoguery. It is for this reason we see in large Northern centers like Chicago or New York, intelligent, efficient Negroes conniving with crime, gambling and prostitution in order to secure control of the Negro vote and gain place and income for black folk. 

Their procedure is not justified by the fact that often excellent and well trained Negro officials are thus often raised to power. The price paid is deliberate surrender of any attempt at acculturation of the mass in exchange for increased income among the few.

Yet, American  Negroes  must know that the advance of the Negro people since emancipation has been extraordinary success in education, technique in character among a small number of Negroes and that the emergence of these exceptional men has been largely a matter of chance, that their triumph proves that down among the mass, ten times their number with equal ability could be discovered and developed if sustained effort and sacrifice and intelligence were put to this task.

Then, on the contrary, today, poverty, sickness and crime are choking the path to Negro uplift and that salvation of the Negro race is to come by planned and sustained efforts to open ways of development to those who now form the unliving mass of the Negro group, that this can be done by force by the power of wealth and the police is true. Along that path of progress, most of the nineteenth century acculturation of the masses of men has come but it has been an unsatisfactory unsteady method it has not developed the majority of men anywhere near the top of their possibility and it has pitifully submerged certain groups among whites and colored groups like Negroes in America, the West Indies  and Africa.

Here comes then a special chance for a new trial of democratic development without force among some of the worst victims of force, how can it be done? It can be done through consumers groups and the mutual interests that these members have in the success of the groups. It can bring the cultured face to face with the untrained and it can accomplish by determined effort and planned foresight the acculturation of the many through the few rather than the opposite possibility of pulling the better classes down to ignorance, carelessness and crime. It is to be admitted that this will be a real battle, there are chances of failure but there are also splendid chances of success.

 In the African communal group, ties of family and blood, of mother and child, of group relationship made the group leadership strong even if not always toward the highest culture. In the case of the more artificial group among American Negroes there are sources of strength in common, memories of suffering in the past, in threats of degradation and extinction,  in common ambitions and ideals, emulation and the determination to prove ability and desert. Here in subtle but real ways, communalism of the African clan can be transferred to the Negro American group, implemented by higher ideals of human accomplishment through the education and culture, which ever risen and  may further arise through contact of black folk with the modern world.

 The emotional wealth of the American Negro finesses art in song, dance and drama can all be applied, not to amuse the white audience but to inspire and direct the African- Negro group itself. I can convince no more magnificent nor promising crusade in modern times. 

We have a chance here to teach industrial and cultural democracy to a world that bitterly needs it. A nation can depend on force and therefore carry through plans of capitalistic industry or state socialism or cooperative commonwealth    despite the opposition of a large and powerful minority. They can use police and the militia to enforce their will but this is dangerous, in the long run, force defeats itself.

It is only the consensus of the intelligent men of goodwill in a community or in a state that really can carry out a great program with absolute and ultimate authority and by that same token without the authority of the state , without force of police and army, a group of people who can obtain  such  consensus  is able to do anything to which the group agrees.

It is too much to expect that any such guide in consensus will entirely eliminate defense but it will make agreement so overwhelming that eventual clear, irrational decent can safely be ignored. 

When real  and open democratic control is intelligent enough to select of its own accord on the whole the best, most courageous, most expert and scholarly leadership then the problem of democracy within the Negro group is solved and by that same token the possibility of American Negroes entering into world democracy and taking their rightful  place according to their knowledge and power is also sure.

Here then is the economic ladder by which the American Negro achieving new social institutions can move pari- passu (French, meaning: with an equal step or on equal footing, ranking equally) with a modern world with a new heaven and a new earth.       

1 comment:

  1. I think we begin by sending communication to each and every black owned and operated business, as well as every organization designed to provide some of these necessary services to minorities.


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