Articles and other material about Hippies from the 60s and 70s.
STOKELY CARMICHAEL, American Revolutionary
This is a complete transcript of Stokely Carmichael’s
speech at the Oakland Auditorium February 17, 1968. The occasion was a benefit
birthday party for Huey P. Newton, Minister of Defense of the Black Panther
Party for Self-Defense. Newton is awaiting trial on charges of killing a white
Oakland policeman. The speech as it appears in cold print lacks both the
rhetorical devices and the genuine emotion of the speech as delivered-which was
magnificent. This is one of the greatest speeches in American history.
Listen to this speech here: Pacifica Radio Archive BB 1708
Now then, tonight we have to talk about several things. We’re here to celebrate brother Huey P. Newton’s birthday. We’re not here to celebrate it as Huey Newton the individual, but as Huey Newton parcel of black people wherever we are on the world today…today. And so, in talking about brother Huey Newton tonight, we have to talk about the struggle of black people, not only in the United States, but in the world today, and how he becomes part…how we move on so that our people will survive America.
Therefore, we are not talking about politics tonight, we’re not talking about economics tonight; we are talking about the survival of a race of people–that is all that is at stake. We are talking about the survival of black people–nothing else…nothing else…nothing else. And you must understand that. Now why is it necessary for us to talk about the survival of our people? Many of us feel…many of our generation feel that they’re getting ready to commit genocide against us. Now, many people say that’s a horrible thing to say about anybody. But if it is a horrible thing to say, then we should do as brother Malcolm [Malcolm X] says: we should examine history. The birth of this nation was conceived in the genocide of the red man……genocide of the red man…of the red man. In order for this country to come about, the honky had to completely exterminate the red man, and HE DID IT! And he did it! He did it! And he did it where he does not even feel sorry, but he romanticizes it by putting it on television with cowboy and indians…cowboy and indians.
Then the question we must ask ourselves is, if he’s capable of doing it to the red man, can he also do it to us? Let us examine history some more. People says it is a horrible thing to say that white people would really think about committing genocide against black people. Let us check our history out. [tape skip] …that we built this country–nobody else. I’ll explain that to you. When this country started, economically it was an agricultural country. The cash crop on the world market was cotton. WE PICKED THE COTTON! WE PICKED THE COTTON! We did! So it is we who built this country. It is we who have fought in the wars of this country. This country is becoming more and more technological, so that the need for black people is fastly disappearing. When the need for black people disappears, so will we, and he will consciously wipe up out. He will consciously wipe up out. Let us check World War II. He will not do it unto his own. Notice who he dropped an atomic bomb on: some helpless yellow people in Hiroshima. Some helpless yellow people in Hiroshima……in Hiroshima. If you do not think he’s capable of committing genocide against us, check out what he’s doing to our brothers in Vietnam! Check out what he’s doing in Vietnam! We have to understand that we’re talking about our survival and nothing else. Whether or not this beautiful race of people is going to survive on the earth, that’s what we’re talking about–nothing else …nothing else. If you do not think he’s capable of wiping us out, check out the white race: wherever they have gone, they have rule, conquered, murdered, and plagued. Whether they are the majority or the minority, they always rule!……they always rule! Always rule! And check out the pattern in which they move. And check out the pattern in which they move. They came to this country. They didn’t know a damn [thing][tape skip]…The Red Man showed them how to adapt to this country: he showed them how to grow corn; he showed them how to hunt, and when the Indians finished showing it, he wiped them out! He wiped them out. He wiped them out. He was not satisfied. He went to South America. The Aztec Indians said, This is our silver. This is our copper. These are our metals. These are statues. We built them for the beauty of our people. After the Indians showed it to him, he took it and he wiped them out! He wiped them out. He went to Africa. Our ancestors said, Dig, this is our way of life. We beat drums. We enjoy ourselves. We have gold. We make diamonds and stuff for our women. He took the gold, he made us slaves, and today he RUNS Africa! Africa! He went to Asia. The Chinese showed him everything they had. They showed him gunpowder. They said, We use this for fireworks on our anniversaries, on our days of festivities. He took it, he made it a gun, and he conquered China.
We are talking about a certain type of superiority complex that exists in the White Man wherever he is. And that’s what we have to understand today. So that everything goes out the window, we talk about survival. That’s all. They can cut all that junk about poverty program, education, housing, welfare…we talking about survival, and, brothers and sisters, WE gonna survive America! WE gonna survive America! WE gonna survive America!
Now then, we have to understand what is going on, not only in this country, but the world, especially in Africa. Because we are an African people, nothing else. We have ALWAYS been an African people. We have ALWAYS maintained our own value system, and I will prove that to you. As much as he has tried, our people have resisted for 413 years in this wilderness, and they resisted for this generation to carry out what must be done. We cannot fail our ancestors …cannot fail our ancestors…cannot fail our ancestors. We resisted in every way you can point to. Take the English language. There are cats who come here from Italy, from Germany, from Poland, from France. In two generations they speak English perfectly. We have NEVER spoken English correctly! Never have we spoken English correctly. Never! Never! Never! And that is because our people consciously resisted a language that did not belong to us–never did, never will. Anyhow they try to run it down our throats, we ain’t going to have it! We ain’t going to have it! You must understand that as a level of resistance. Anybody can speak that simple honky’s language correctly. Anybody can do it. We have not done it because we have resisted…resisted.
Check out our way of life. No matter how hard he’s tried, we still maintain a communal way of life in our communities. We do not send old people to old peoples’ homes; that’s junk! That’s junk! That’s junk! That’s junk! We do not call children illegitimate in our community. We take care of any child in our community… any child in our community. It is a level of resistance that we must begin to look for among our people. Pick up that thread and do what has to be done so that our people will survive. Three things. First and foremost: he has been able to make us hate each other. He has transplanted that hate and the love for each other for a love of his country…his country. We must begin to develop number one–and this is the most important thing we can do as a people–we must first develop and undying love for our people…our people. …our people…our people. We must develop and undying love as is personified in brother Huey P. Newton. Undying love for our people……undying love. If we do not do that, we will be wiped out. We must develop and undying love for our people. Our slogan will become, First our people, then, and only then me and you as individuals. Our people first…our people first. Following from that came secondly the slogan, Every Negro is a potential black man; we will not alienate them! ……we will not alienate them! …we will not alienate them!
Understand the concept of Negro and the concept of Black Man. We came to this country as black men and as Africans. It took us 400 years to become Negros. Understand that. That means that the concept of a black man is one who recognizes his cultural, his historical, and the roots of his great ancestors who were the greatest warriors on the face of this earth. Africans! Africans! Africans! Many of our people’s mind have been white washed. If a Negro comes up to you and you turn your back on him, he’s got to run to the honky. We’re going to take time and patience with our people because they’re OURS!…they’re OURS! All of the Uncle Toms, we’re going to sit down and we’re going to talk. And when they slap, we’re going to bow. And when they slap we’re going to bow. And we’re going to try to bring them home. And if they don’t come home we’re going to [tape skip] that’s all…that’s all…that’s all.
We have to recognize who our major enemy is. The major enemy is not your brother, flesh of your flesh and blood of your blood. The major enemy is the honky and his institutions of racism. THAT’s the major enemy! THAT is the major enemy! And whenever anybody prepares for revolutionary warfare, you concentrate on the major enemy. We’re not strong enough to fight each other and also fight him. We WILL not fight each other today! We WILL not fight each other. There will BE no fights in the black community among black people. There will just be people who will be offed. There will be no fights, there will be no disruptions. We are going to be united!
Thirdly, and most importantly, we must understand that for black people, the question of community is not a question of geography, it is a question of color. It is a question of color. If you live in Watts, if you live in Harlem, Southside Chicago, Detroit, West Philadelphia, Georgia, Mississippi, Alabama. Wherever you go, the first place you go is to your people–not the land, to your people. For us the question of community is a question of color and our people, not geography! Not land! Not land! Not land! Not geography! That is to say that we break down the concept that black people living inside the United States are black Americans. That’s nonesense! We got brothers in Africa. We got brothers in Cuba. We got brothers in Brazil. We got brothers in Latin America. We got brothers all over the world! All over the world! All over the world! And once we begin to understand that the concept of community is simply one of our people, it don’t make a difference where we are. We are with our people and, therefore, we are home… …therefore, we are home.
Now then, in speaking of survival it is necessary to understand the moves of one[‘s] enemies. The United States works on what call the three M’s: The missionaries, the money, and the Marines. That is precisely the way it has moved all over the world. It is the way it moves against us. They have sent the missionaries in; we sent them out. They have sent the money in with the poverty program. The Vietnamese and the Koreans are pulling the money out. The next thing comes the Marines…comes the marines. And if we’re talking seriously, we get prepared [tape skip][to fight?] …the marines. Now if some black people do not think that the white man is going to wipe us out completely, then it won’t be no harm being prepared just in case he decides to do it..just in case he decides to do it. So there’ll be no harm in us preparing ourselves for the marines. Now there’s a lot of tactics we can learn. The VC [Viet Cong] are showing us the best way to get it done…best way to get it done. And don’t be afraid to say it, tell em’, Yeah, you want the Vietnamese to defeat them, cause they wrong from the jump. Don’t get up there and play games with them. You ever see them on TV?: Well, actually, we were wrong going into Vietnam, but we can’t get out unless we save face. To save [tape skip] honky’s face, millions of Vietnamese got to die. That’s a lot of junk. If you’re wrong, say you’re wrong and GET OUT! GET OUT! GET OUT! GET OUT!
We have to then go down the programs that they run through our throats and see how they relate to us. The first one is the vote. They got a new thing now: Black Power is the vote. The vote in this country is, has been, and always will be irrelevant to the lives of black people! That is a fact. We survived in Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Texas, South Carolinia, North Carolinia, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. without the vote…without the vote. Last two years ago when Julian Bond was elected by black people in Georgia, they took him out to sea. There was no representation; the black people in Georgia are suviving today. They took Adam Clayton Powell out of office for a year and a half. Black people in Harlem are still surviving. That should teach you, the vote ain’t nothin’ but a honky’s trick……nothin’ but a honky’s trick. If we talk about the vote today, we talk about it as one thing: an organizing tool to bring our people together…nothing else! ……nothing else…nothing else. It becomes a vehicle for organization; it cannot be anything else. To believe the vote is going to save you is to believe the way brother Adam Clayton Powell did. He’s in Bimini now. That’s what we have to understand.
The second thing they ram down our throat is this poverty program. And you have to understand the poverty program. It is designed to, number one, split the black community, and, number two, split the black family. There’s no doubt about it splitting the black community. We know all of the people who started fighting over crumbs, ’cause that’s all the poverty program is, the crumbs. If you leave the crumbs alone and organize, we could take the whole loaf, ’cause it belongs to us…belongs to us . But what happens is that the poverty program sends a couple of hundred thousand dollars into the community, and groups start setting up to fight over that money; so, automatically you’ve got splits in the community. Watts is the best example that we have today. It was the first one to get the poverty program after the rebellion, and today it is the most divided black community in the country… in the country. Second thing we have to recognize is what the poverty program does. In any race of people, the most instinctively revolutionary people is the youth. Because the youth is always willing to fight, in anybody’s race…in anybody’s race. And the poverty program is geared right at our youth. Right at our youth, to stop them from fighting. That’s all the poverty program is: stop the rebellions–not take care of black people–stop the rebellions. How is it that you felt if you were a father and your son who you’re supposed to be providing for comes home with ninety dollars a week, and you still unemployed. What is the poverty program doing to our fathers? What is it doing to our fathers? If they were concerned about the black community, if they believed the garbage they run down about the black family, they would give the jobs to our fathers, the breadwinners of the family, so we could have some respect for them……we could have some respect for them. But it is precisely because the poverty program is aimed at quelling our youth, that they do that. And all of the people who administer the poverty program won’t even put their childrens in those programs that are supposed to be so good for us.
Let us move on to education. And we must talk very clearly about this concept of education. Franz Fanon says very clearly, Education is nothing but the re-establishment and re-enforcement of values and institutions of a given society. All the brother’s saying is that whatever this society says is right, when you go to school they going to tell you it’s right, and you’ve got to run it on down. If you run it on down, you get an A. If I say to you Columbus discovered American in 1492, if I was your teacher [and] you said, No, Columbus didn’t discover America in 1492, there were Indians here, I tell you you flunked the course. So education doesn’t mean what they say it means. So now we must use education for our people and we must understand our communities. In our communities there are dope addicts; there are pimps; there are prostitutes; there [are] hustlers; there are teachers; there are maids; there are porters; there are preachers; there are gangsters. If I go to high school, I want to learn how to be a good maid, a good porter, a good hustler, a good pimp, a good prostitute, a good preacher, a good teacher, or a good porter. And education is supposed to prepare you to live in your community. That’s what our community is like. If the educational system cannot do that, it must teach us HOW to change our community…how to change our community. It must do one or the other. The schools that we send our children to do not do one or the other. They do neither; they do something absolutely opposite. And when our youth, who are more intelligent than all those honkeys on those boards, drop out of that school cause they recognize it’s not going to help them, then we turn around and yell at them, dividing our community again…dividing our community again. We have to understand that unless WE control the education system, where it begins to teach us how to change our community, where we live like human beings, no need to send anybody to school–that’s just a natural fact. We have no alternative but to fight, whether we like it or not. On every level in this country, black people GOT to fight! Got to fight! Got to fight!
Now then let us move down and talk…[tape skip] concept. We have in our community black people, the masses and the bourgeoisie. That’s about the level of breakdown. The bourgeoisie is very very minute inside our community. We have to bring them home. We have to bring them home for many reasons. We have to bring them home because they have technical skills which must be put for the benefit of their people, not for the benefit of this country, which is against their people. We’ve GOT to bring them home! We’ve got to bring them home. One of the ways of bringing our people home is by using patience, love, brotherhood, and unity, not force…not force. Love, patience, brotherhood, and unity. We try and we try and we try. If they become a treat, we off them. But we must begin to understand that in a concept of forming inside our community, a united front…a black united front, which engulfs every sector, every facet and every person inside our community working for the benefit of black people……working for the benefit of black people. And that is for each other’s survival.
A lot of people in the bourgeoisie tell me they don’t like Rap Brown when he says, I’m going to burn the country down. But every time Rap Brown says, I’m going to burn the country down, They get a poverty program……they get a poverty program. A lot of people say to me, We don’t like the Black Panthers for Self Defense walking around with guns. I tell you now, if the honkys in San Francisco take off the fighters who happen to represent the Black Panthers for Self Defense–ain’t no body in this community prepared to fight right now–everybody gets offed, everybody gets offed
We need each other, we have to have each other for our
survival. We got to have each other, from the revolutionaries to the conservatives
– a black united front is what we’re about, a black united front is what we’re
about. Now there’s some people may not understand Brother Rap when he talks
about whom we ally with. He says we have to ally with Mexican-Americans, Puerto
Ricans, and the dispossessed people of the earth. He did not mention poor
whites. We must understand that. I will not deny that poor whites in this
country are oppressed. But there are two types of oppression. One is
exploitation, the other is colonization. And we have to understand the
difference between both of them. Exploitation is when you exploit somebody of
your own race. Colonization is when you exploit somebody of a different race.
We are colonized, they are exploited. They are exploited.
Now let us explain how the process of exploitation and
colonization works. If I am black and I am exploiting you who are also black,
we have the same values, the same culture, the same language, the same society,
the same institutions, so I do not have to destroy those institutions for you.
But if you are of another race, if you have a different culture, different
language, different values, I have to destroy all of those who make you bow to
me. And that is the difference between poor black and poor white. Poor whites
have their culture, have their values, have their institutions, ours have been
completely destroyed, completely destroyed, completely destroyed.
So when you talk about alliances you recognize you form
alliances with people who are trying to rebuild their culture, trying to
rebuild their history, trying to rebuild their dignity, people who are fighting
for their humanity. Poor white people are not fighting for their humanity,
they’re fighting for more money. There are a lot of poor white people in this
country, you ain’t seen none of them rebel yet, have you? Why is it that black
people are rebelling? Do you think it’s because it’s just poor jobs? Don’t
believe that junk the honky is running down. It’s not poor jobs – it’s a
question of a people finding their culture, their nature and fighting for their
humanity, for their humanity, for their humanity, for their humanity.
We have been so colonized that we are ashamed to say we
hate, and that is the best example of a person who’s colonized. You sit in your
house, a honky walks in your house, beats you up, rapes your wife, beats up
your child, and you don’t have the humanity to say, I hate you. You
don’t have it. That is how dehumanized we are. We are so dehumanized we cannot
say Yes, we hate you for what you have done to us. Can’t say it,
can’t say it. And we are afraid to think beyond that point. Who do you think
has more hatred pent up in them, white people for black people or black people
for white people? White people for black people, obviously the hatred has been
more. What have we done to them for them to build up this hatred? Absolutely
nothing. Yet we don’t even want to have the chance to hate them for what
they’ve done to us. And if hate should be justified, we have the best
justification of all for hating the honkies. We have it for hating the honkies,
we have it, we have it. But we have been so dehumanized, we’re like a dog which
the master can throw out the house, which the master can spit on, and whenever
he calls, the dog comes running back. We are human beings and we have emotions.
We’re fighting for our humanity, we’re fighting for our humanity, and in
regaining our humanity we recognize all the emotions that are in us. If you
have love, you’ve got to have hate. You don’t have one-sided emotions, that’s a
lot of junk. You always have two sides – hot, cold, white, black – everything
goes – love, hate. ‘Cause if you don’t have hate, you cannot differentiate
love, you cannot do it, you cannot do it.
Now then that brings us to the point of this thing about
communism and socialism. Let’s get to that, once and for all. Communism is not
an ideology suited for black people, period. Period. Socialism is not an
ideology fitted for black people, period. Period. And I will tell you why. And
it must become crystal clear in our minds. Now we don’t say that because the
honkies call us communist, we don’t care what they call us, it don’t make a
difference, don’t make a difference. The ideologies of communism and socialism
speak to class structure. They speak to people who oppress people from the top
down to the bottom. We are not just facing exploitation. We are facing
something much more important, because we are the victims of racism. Communism
nor socialism does not speak to the problem of racism. And racism, for black
people in this country, is far more important than exploitation. ‘Cause no
matter how much money you make in the black community, when you go into the
white world you are still a nigger, you are still a nigger, you are still a
So that for us, the question of racism becomes uppermost in
our minds. It becomes uppermost in our minds. How do we destroy those
institutions that seek to keep us dehumanized? That is all we’re talking about.
On the question of exploitation, it comes second.
Now for white people who are communists, the question of
communism comes first, because they’re exploited by their other people. If you
were exploited by other black people, then it would be a question of how we
divide the profits. It is not that for us, it is not that for us. It is a
question of how we regain our humanity and begin to live as a people – and we
do not do that, because of the effects of racism in this country. We must
therefore consciously strive for an ideology which deals with racism first, and
if we do that we recognize the necessity of hooking up with the nine hundred
million black people in the world today. That’s what we recognize.
And if we recognize that, then it means that our political
situation must become international. It cannot be national, it cannot be
national, it must be international, must be international. It must be
international because if we knew anything, we would recognize that the honkies
don’t just exploit us, they exploit the whole Third World – Asia, Africa, Latin
America. They take advantage of Europe, but they don’t colonize Europe, they
colonize Asia, Africa, and Latin America. Understand that.
If we begin to understand that, then the problems America is
heading for become uppermost in our minds. The first one they’re heading for is
the conflict in the Middle East. We must declare on whose side we stand. We can
be for no one but the Arabs. There can be no doubt in our minds, no doubt in
our minds, no doubt in our minds. We can be for no one but the Arabs because
Israel belonged to the Arabs in 1917. The British gave it to a group of
Zionists who went to Israel, ran the Palestinian Arabs out with terrorist
groups, organized the state and did not get anywhere until Hitler came along
and they swelled the state in 1948. That country belonged to the Palestinians.
Not only that, they’re moving to take over Egypt. Egypt is our motherland –
it’s in Africa.
We do not understand the concept of love. Here are a group
of Zionists who come anywhere they want to and organize love and feeling for a
place called Israel, which was created in 1948, where their youth are willing
to go and fight for Israel. Egypt belongs to us four thousand years ago and we
sit here supporting the Zionists. We got to be for the Arabs, period. Period.
That means that we also move with the rest of the Third
World and understand exactly what is going on. It is no coincidence that the
honky who stole a heart out of our brother and put it into another devil, was
brought here on nationwide TV. Now for those of the older generation who say I
may be harsh because I said the devil, let me give you a biblical quotation. It
says, Beware that the devil will come telling you that he can give you
back life after death. If that’s not what they doin’, I don’t know what
We have to understand that just today the United States
voted for South Africa to come into the Olympics, and black people here are
debating whether black athletes should be part of the Olympics. That is not a
debate. The question is final. There can be no black athletes with any dignity
participating in that white nonsense, that white nonsense, can’t be no dignity,
can’t be no soul.
Now then we have to understand more and more as our people
talk about survival. It means that when we talk about survival we organize
politically, we organize consciously – that’s what they call education, we call
it black consciousness, ’cause that speaks to us, education speaks to them – we
organize economically, and we organize militarily. Because if we don’t do that,
if you don’t have a gun in your hand they can snatch the ballot from you. But
if you got a gun, it’s either them or us.
And the preparation of that fight on all struggles must
become conscious among our people. We are ahead of the Jews, we know what they
getting ready to do. They tell us every day in their Esquire magazines, they
tell us on their televisions, they tell us with their 15,000 soldiers they’re
putting in the cities, they tell us with their tanks, they tell us with their
Stoner guns, they tell us. We got to wake up and tell them we are going to get
you back. Wipe out of your mind the questions of minority, wipe out of your
mind the questions of technology, technology never decides a war. It is the
will of a people that decides a war. It is the will of a people, the will of a
Wipe out of your mind the fact that we do not have guns. The
Vietnamese didn’t have it when they started, now they got American guns,
American tanks, American everything, everything, everything, everything. If they
come to get us they got to bring some to get some. We gonna take it – and the
gun, and the gun, and the gun. And unless we raise our minds to the level of
consciousness where we have an undying love for our people, where we’re willing
to shed our blood like Huey Newton did for our people, we will not survive, we
will not survive.
Now there are many people who know that. All of the brothers
sitting on the stage, all of the brothers around here, we all know that when
something goes down, we are the first ones offed. There’s no question in any of
our minds. Only thing gonna stop us today is a bullet, and we spittin’ ’em
back, and we spittin’ ’em back. But the question is not whether or not we can
move, but how this entire black community moves for survival in a world that’s
clearly heading for a color clash. That is what we must ask ourselves, that is
the only question. We can only do that by organizing our people and orienting
them towards an African ideology which speaks to our blackness – nothing else.
It’s not a question of right or left, it’s a question of
black. You dig where we coming from? We coming from a black thing, from a black
thing, that’s where we coming from. Because we can begin to pick up the threads
of resistance that our ancestors laid down for us. And unless we begin to
understand our people as a people, we will not do that, because they will split
us and divide us. That means consciously we have to begin to organize our
people! Organize our people! Organize our people! Organize our people! Organize
our people! Nothing else! Organize our people, our people! We have no time for
them; all our sweat, all our blood, even our life must go to our people,
We have to understand this consciously. Our youth must be
organized with a revolutionary perspectus. A revolutionary perspectus says that
we’re fighting a war of liberation. In order to fight a war of liberation, you
need an ideology of nationalism. We do not have this country. The nationalism
can be nothing but black nationalism. It is insane to think of anything else.
Black nationalism has to begin to be our ideology. While blackness is necessary
it is not sufficient, so we must move on, we move on then to consciously
organize in our communities. And we recognize today while we’re organizing: we
do not have the money to feed our people, so there’s no use to say
organize, we can get you a job. We can’t get ’em, they control em,
that is a fact. That isn’t a reason for you to. sit down, it is only more the
reason for you to fight, to think that you can’t give your people a job. That’s
more of an inspiration to fight so you can give them a job rather than to sit
down and say the honkies got us on every end. They are not God, they are not
God. We are a beautiful race of people, we can do anything we want to do, all
we got to do is get lip, get up, get up and do it, get up and do it, get up and
do it, get up and do it.
Now then we have to discuss very cold the question of
rebellions, It is a fact that they’re prepared to meet rebellions anywhere in
the cities. Now what’s gonna happen if one of our brothers get offed? What
happens if they go ahead and off Huey Newton? We must develop tactics where we
do the maximum damage to them with minor damage to us. And when we move into
that arena, that means that this black community must be organized. So if Huey
Newton goes, and ten honky cops goes, won’t a black man in this community get
up and open his mouth, ’cause if he does, he goes too, he goes too, he goes
too, he goes too. That means that in organizing for the maximum damage against
them and minor damage against us, we must be consciously aware of the fact that
there will be people in our community who are going around doing just that. In
our community we seen nothing, we hear nothing, we know nothing. We see
nothing, we hear nothing, we, knew nothing.
Now the question of agents is becoming a question where it’s
making us paranoid. we cannot become paranoid because what they can do is make
you so afraid you won’t move. So we’re not gonna do that. We’re gonna plan what
we’re gonna do. Little groups are gonna plan theirs, big groups are gonna plan
theirs. If an agent is found, there is no question, he is gonna be offed in
such a manner that any other black man who dares talk to the honky will have
three thoughts before he even talks to a white man about reporting in our
Our people have demonstrated a willingness to fight. Our
people have demonstrated the courage of our ancestors – to face tanks, guns,
police dogs with bricks and bottles, that is a courageous act! We must
understand that. And since our people have demonstrated a willingness to fight,
the question is how can we organize that fight so we become the winners. So we
become the winners. If a major rebellion were to break out, our people mayor
may not become the losers, but if a small group was doing maximum damage, we
remain on top. We remain on top. That is what we must understand, consciously
understand it. It is not a question of what they might do, it is a question of
how and when they’re going to do it, that is all that’s in their minds, That is
all. For us the question is not going to Vietnam anymore, the question is how
we can protect our brothers who do not go to Vietnam from going to jail. That’s
the only question we have to face in our community today. So that when one
brother says Hell, no, there’s enough people in that community
around him that if they dare come in, they gonna face maximum damage in their
We are talking about survival. We are talking about a people
whose entire culture .. whose entire history, whose entire way of life have
been destroyed. We’re talking about a people who have produced in this year a
generation of warriors who are going to restore to our people the humanity and the
love that we have for each other. That’s what we’re talking about today, that’s
what we’re talking about today. We are talking about becoming the executioners
of our executioners. For example, you should give a lot of money to that
defense fund, because while some of that money gonna go for that court thing,
the rest of the money’s gonna go for the executioners. So that if they execute
Huey, the final execution rests in our hands, our hands, in our hands.
It is simply a question of a people. They control
everything. They make us fight, they make us steal; they judge us, they put us
in prison, they parole us, they send us out, they pick us up again – where in
God’s name do we exercise any sense of dignity in this country? Where? Where?
Where? Where? What in God’s name do we control, except the church, whose
ideology is based to be compatible with the system which is against us? Where
in God’s name do we exercise any control as a people whose ancestors were the
proudest people that walked the face of this earth? Where? Where?
Where, do I ask you, where? Everywhere he’s gone he controls
our people; in South Africa he steals the gold from our people, in the West
Indies he steals the materials from our people, in South America where he’s
scattered our people, he’s raping us blind, in America he rapes us, in Nova
Scotia [sic] he rapes us. Where in God’s name are we gonna find a piece of
earth that belongs to us so we can restore our humanity? Where are we gonna
find it unless this generation begins to organize to fight for it? To fight for
it, to fight for it. Where?
And if this generation begins to fight, there can be no
disruptive elements in our community. There can be none – we will tolerate
none. There will be no disruptions . Anyone who fights for their people, we put
our life on the line for them. Huey Newton fought for our people. Whether or
not Huey Newton becomes free depends upon black people, nobody else, nobody
else. Other people may help, but the final decision of brother Huey depends
upon us. He didn’t lay down his life for other people, he laid it down for us.
For us. And if he did that, we must be willing to do the same, not only for him
but for the generation that’s going to follow us.
Consciously we must understand we’re about organizing every
element in our community. That work must begin. People must be willing to give
money to an organizer who is willing to spend 24 hours a day organizing. He
cannot organize from the poverty program because they tell him what to do. But
if black people are giving him the money, he can do anything for the benefit of
black their people. We have to run all the exploiters people, of black people.
That means that people have to consciously give money for out of our community,
by any means necessary, by any means necessary.
You ask yourself, if you were white, why would you want to
be a cop in a black ghetto today when you know they looking for you? Why, if
you weren’t sick in the mind and felt you were so superior that you had the
right to rule, why would you want a lousy five thousand dollar a year job when
you white and you can make it in this society, why would you want the job as a
cop if you weren’t sick, tell me? Would you want to be in their community if
they were ready to off you, for four thousand, five thousand, six thousand
dollars a year? We have to understand the politics of those honkies in our
community. They are there to patrol and to control. That is all. We are going
to do the patrolling, we are going to do the controlling. We are building a concept
of peoplehood. We do not care about honkies; but if hi. building that concept
of peoplehood, the honkies get in our wav, they got to go. There is no question
about it, there is no question about it. We are not concerned with their way of
life, we are concerned with our people. We want to give our people the dignity
and the humanity that we know as our people, and if they get in our way, they
gonna be offed. They gonna be offed. We’re not concerned with their system. Let
them have it. We want our wav of life, and we’re gonna get it. We’re gonna get
it or nobody’s gonna have any peace on this earth. No peace on this earth.
Now then finally before I sit down, let me say two things. I
want to read a statement that brother Huey P. Newton wrote yesterday when I saw
him in jail. You have to understand the statement. He says: As the racist
police escalate the war in our communities against black people, we reserve the
right to self-defense and maximum retaliation.
All of the things we spoke about tonight centered around
brother Huey P. Newton because all of the things we spoke about tonight
exemplify what he was trying to do. Now we have to understand something. There
is no need for us to go to jail today for what we say. They did that to brother
Malcolm X, they just offed him for what he was saying. We have to progress as a
race. Brother Huey mayor may not have wiped out that honky, but at least it
shows a progression, at least we’re not getting offed for what we say, we’re
trying to get offed for what we do. Understand this concept: when they offed
brother Malcolm, we did nothing; if they off brother Huey, we got to retaliate,
we got to retaliate, we got to retaliate, we got to retaliate l Do you think
that any other race of people will let them off somebody, and the rest of them
sit there? Where in God’s name would you find a race of people like that?
We have lost in the last five years some of our best leaders
– Lumumba, Malcolm X, they offed brother Kwame Nkrumah, and we do nothing, we
do nothing, we do nothing. While they offing our leaders, they take our youth
and send them to Vietnam, send them to Korea. We are slowly getting wiped out.
We must retaliate, we must fight for our humanity. It is our humanity that is
at stake. It is not a question of dollars and cents. We gonna survive, because
we have survived what they couldn’t survive – that’s natural-born fact. We have
survived. We survived through slavery, we survived through their jive
reconstruction, we survived through World War I, we survived through the
Depression, we survived through World War II, we survived after World War II
when they threw us out of the jobs in the North, we survived their Korean War,
we gonna survive, we gonna survive, ain’t no doubt about that in my mind, no
doubt at all.
Our problem is to develop an undying love for our people, an
undying love for our people. We must be willing to give our talents, our sweat,
our blood, even our life for our people. Nothing else! Not this country – our
We must develop the concept that every Negro is a potential
black man. You do not alienate your potential allies. Let’s bring our people
home. Let’s bring our people home.
We must understand the concept that for us the question of
community is not geography, it is , question of us – black people – wherever
we are, SO we have to consciously become a part of the nine hundred million
black people that are separated over this world. We were separated by them. We
are blood of the same blood and flesh of the same flesh. We do not know who is
our sister, who is our brother, or where we came from. They took us from Africa
and they put thousands of miles of water between us, but they forgot – blood is
thicker than water. We coming together, we coming together. Blood is thicker
than water, blood is thicker than water.
We are an African people with an African ideology, we are
wandering in the United States, we are going to build a concept of peoplehood
in this country or there will be no country. Or there will be no country.
As I end, brothers and sister, brother Huey Newton belongs
to us. He is flesh of our flesh, he is blood of our blood. He may be Mrs.
Newton’s baby, he’s our brother. He’s our brother. We do not have to talk about
what we’re going to do if we’re consciously preparing and consciously willing
to back those who prepare. All we say: brother Huey will be set free – or else.
Posted by: skip
Cannabis in Alchemical Literature: Green Lion,
is water; a green Lion, which is the ore of Hermes, and a fetid
water… The stone, known from the chapters of books, is white smoke
Of this self-same body, which is the matter of the Stone, three
things are chiefly said; that it is a green Lion, a stinking Gum, and a
white Fume. Having twelve pounds of Green Lion thus brought into gum,
thou mayst believe…
St. Dunstan (pseudo)
A green Gum called our green Lyon, which Gum dry well, yet beware thou not burn his Flowers nor destroy his greenness.
Sir George Ripley
The Bosome-Book of Sir George Ripley
You will see marvelous signs of this Green Lion, such as could be
bought by no treasures of the Roman Leo. Happy he who has found it and
learned to use it as a treasure!
The Treasure of Treasures
Perfect bodies we naturally calcine with the first, without adding
any impure body but one commonly called by philosophers the green
lion, and this is the medium for perfectly combining the tinctures of
the Sun and Moon.
The Golden Tract
Then the sowing of the field can take place, and you obtain the
Mineral Stone, and the Green Lion that imbibes so much of its own
The Glory of the World
Beware therefore of many, and hold thee to one thing. This one thing is naught else but the lyon greene…
Green Lion, Bird of Hermes, Goose of Hermogenes, two-edged sword
in the hand of the Cherub the Tree of Life, etc.; it is our true, secret
vessel, and the Garden of the Sages in which our Sun rises and sets.
The Three Treatises of Philalethes
You have then nourished and dissolved the true lion with the blood of the green lion.
The Golden Tripod
I know well this Lyon Greene…
Hunting of the Greene Lyon
I have seen the Green Catholic Lion, and the Blood of
the Lion, i.e., the Gold of the Sages, with my own eyes, have touched it
with my hands, tasted it with my tongue, smelled it with my nose.
Upon the delicate leaves thereof it retaineth for our
use that sweet heavenly honey which is called the manna, and, although
it be of a gummy, oily, fat, and greasy substance, it is,
notwithstanding, unconsumable by any fire.
Gargantua and Pantagruel
This is called the blessed stone; this earth is white and
foliated, wherein the Philosophers do sow their gold… The fourth color
is Ruddy and Sanguine, which is extracted from the white fire only.
The Hermetic Arcanum
O how many are the seekers after this gum, and how few there are
who find it! Know ye that our gum is stronger than gold, and all those
who know it do hold it more honorable than gold… Our gum, therefore,
is for Philosophers more precious and more sublime than pearls…
Therefore I affirm that the Universal Medicine for bodies is the
philosophic gold, after it has been separated and drawn to the highest
state of perfection. Our common gold has absolutely nothing in common
with the philosophic gold we use to begin our task. In that respect
common gold is dead and clearly useless.
Philip a Gabella
By gold I mean our green gold- not the adored lump, which is dead and ineffectual.
Take the fire, or quicklime, of which the philosophers speak,
which grows on trees, for in that God himself burns with divine love.
It appears then that this Stone is a Vegetable, as it were, the sweet Spirit that proceeds from the Bud of the Vine…
Count Bernard Trevisan
Trust my word, seek the grass that is trefiol. Thou knowest the name, and art wise and cunning if thou findest it.
The Sophic Hydrolith
You ought to know concerning the Quintessence, that it is a matter
little and small, lodged and harbored in some Tree, Herb, Stone, or
The Tomb of Semiramis
It contains the fire of Nature, or the Universal Spirit; with Air
as its vehicle it contains Water, which must be separated in the
beginning of the work, and also earth which remains behind in the form
of caput mortuum, where the fire has left it, and is the true Red Earth
wherein the fire dwelt for a while. The subject, duly collected, should
not be less than eight nor more than sixteen ounces: place it in a
china or glazed basin and cover it loosely to keep the dust out.
Rosicrucian Aphorisms and Process
Long have I had in my nostrils the scent of the herb moly which
became so celebrated thanks to the poets of old… this herb is entirely
chemical. It is said that Odysseus used it to protect himself against
the poisons of Circe and the perilous singing of the Sirens. It is also
related that Mercury himself found it and that it is an effective
antidote to all poisons. It grows plentifully on Mount Cyllene in
Our secret fire, that is, our fiery and sulfurous water, which is called Balneum Mariae… This water is a white vapor.
The Secret Book of Artephius
Know the secret fire of the wise, which is the one and sole agent
efficient for the opening, subliming, purifying, and disposing of the
Letter to the True Disciples of Hermes
Study, then, this fire, for had I myself found it at the first, I
should not have erred two hundred times upon the veritable material.
The Secret Fire
No philosopher has ever openly Revealed this secret fire, and this
powerful Agent, which works all the Wonders of the Art.
The Hermetic Triumph
Mercury, i.e. the white flower, can be used and applied to the tinctures of all planets.
The Little Peasant
Our true and real Matter is only a vapor… This Green Dragon is
the natural Gold of the Philosophers, exceedingly different from the
vulgar, which is corporeal and dead… but ours is spiritual, and
living… Our Gold is called Natural, because it is not to be made by
Art, and since it is known to none, but the true Disciples of Hermes,
who understand how to separate it from its original Lump, tis also
called Philosophical; and if God had not been so gracious, as to create
this first Chaos to our hand, all our Skill and Art in the Construction
of the great Elixir would be in vain.
This stone is of delicate touch, and there is more mildness in its
touch than in its substance. Of sweet taste, and its proper nature is
Khalid said: Tell me of its odor, before and after its confection.
Morienus answered: Before confectioning, its odor is very heavy
and foul. I know of no other stone like it nor having its powers. While
the four elements are contained in this stone, it being thus like the
world in composition, yet no other stone like it in power or nature is
to be found in the world, nor has any of the authorities ever performed
the operation other than by means of it. And the compositions attempted
by those using anything else in this composition will fail utterly and
come to nothing. The thing in which the entire accomplishment of this
operation consists of the red vapor, the yellow vapor, the white vapor,
the green lion, ocher, the impurities of the dead and of the stones,
blood, eudica, and foul earth.
Begin in the Creators
name, and with his vapor take the whiteness from the white vapor. The
whole key to accomplishment of this operation is in the fire, with
which the minerals are prepared and the bad spirits held back, and with
which the spirit and body are joined.
In answer to
you question about the white vapor, or virgins milk, you may know that
it is a tincture and spirit of those bodies already dissolved and dead,
from which the spirits have been withdrawn. It is the white vapor that
flows in the body and removes its darkness, or earthiness, and
impurity, uniting the bodies into one and augmenting their waters.
Without the white vapor, there could have been no pure gold nor any profit in it.
The Book of Morienus
Let it be sublimed in an high body and head…
Search of Perfection
Our Subject cannot be called the fiery Serpent of the
Philosophers, nor have the power of overcoming any created thing, before
it has received such Virtue and Quality from our Green-Dragon…
The Labyrinth of the World and the Paradise of the Heart, chapter 12, The Pilgrim Examines Alchemy:
Another burned his eyes out, and was thus unable to supervise the
calcination and the fixation: or bleared his sight with smoke to such
an extent that before he cleared his eyes the nitrogen escaped. Some
died of asphyxiation from the smoke. But for the greatest part they did
not have enough coal in their bags and were obliged to run about to
borrow it elsewhere, while in the meantime their concoction cooled off
and was utterly ruined. This was of very frequent, in fact of almost
constant, occurrence. Although they did not tolerate anyone among
themselves save such as possessed full bags, yet these seemed to have a
way of drying up very rapidly, and soon grew empty: they were obliged
either to suspend their operations or to run away to borrow.
These blear’d eyes
Have wak’d to read your several colours, sir,
Of the pale citron, the green lion, the crow,
The peacock’s tail, the plumed swan.
Thou has descry’d the flower, the sanguis agni?
I have cast fire upon the earth, and see, I watch until it blazes.
Gospel of Thomas
See also Shakespeare sonnet 76, Knights Templar cannabis recipe in
Villard Folio: https://www.villardman.net/sample3testtry.html
IN THE ‘BAY TO BREAKERS’ I MAKE THE RECORD BOOK BUT MARGO ST. JAMES ‘STREAKS’ TO ESTABLISHING AN INSTITUTION
From North Beach Leathers – Tailors to the Stars by Bill Morgan
Besides Carol, the other grand dame of North Beach in those days was Margo St. James. She liked to think of herself as more of a ‘working girl’ than a topless dancer but no one will ever forget how she packed the Condor on ‘Amateur Topless Night’ dressed up as a Nun. Yeah, and with the North Beach Catholic landmark, St. Peter and Paul Cathedral, a stone’s throw away, she purposely thumbed her nose to those ‘Papal hypocrites’ as she called them. She later walked her talk and went on to establish ‘The Hookers’ Ball’ (whose legacy is the present day popular annual ‘Erotic, Exotic Ball’) and the prostitute protection organization, COYOTE (Call Off Your Old Tired Ethics). Her class on ‘Women’s Sensuality’ (what women want sexually) at my Marina Greens Running Club, some years later, was standing room only, as Margo explained graphically the art of making love, highlighting female sexual sensations. With remembrances of Sausalito’s ‘Madam Mayor’ Sally Stanford in the 40’s, Margo narrowly missed out being elected City Supervisor by a handful of votes – a real loss for San Francisco because she would have been joining champion neighborhood feminist, supervisor Sue Bierman.
The memory for me that stands out by far of Margo goes back to May 16, 1965. Let’s travel back to that beautiful sunny Spring day: I remember I was way out in front, running like the wind through Golden Gate Park. I could smell victory intertwined with the fragrance of the Eucalyptus and Monterey Cypress trees that line JFK Drive. This was the seventy-fifth running of the Bay to Breakers, the biggest footrace in the world. Jeff Fishback, the Olympic steeplechaser and the guy who edged me out of the winner’s circle the previous year, was out of sight – this time behind me. I was about to wear the laurel wreath of victory.
You see, running was my thing, long before North Beach Leathers. In fact, running begot leather. As I previously explained, that year after winning the National title I ran in the World Championships in Brazil. Loving Rio, I returned as a buyer for Cost Plus and the leather for the first NBL jacket came from there.
But back to the Race: Jeff’s course record was history if I could maintain my blistering 4:45 per mile pace. It was at the Buffalo Field that I was taken aback. In front of me was another runner. In the mixture of confusion and fatigue I faltered with the thought of having to sprint to the finish line with this mysterious runner. I peered through my sweat stained sunglasses and noticed a shapely butt that looked familiar. Even more shocking was the fact that it was buck naked. I soon realized this nude runner was my friend and occasional lover, Margo St. James, playing one of her merry pranks. I had been to a party at Margo’s cool apartment on Telegraph Hill a few days earlier and she had hinted of a surprise for the Bay to Breakers. I hadn’t expected anything like this. Margo (one of the first fitness buffs) and I would occasionally workout together. She would pick me up at Cost Plus and we would go over to nearby Galileo High School, climb the locked gate and run on the grass field. After the workout Margo would drag me under the spectator stands for some extra curricular activities.
In this Bay to Breakers she had taken a big head start and at the Polo Fields, stripped down for the finish. Once I realized who she was, I relaxed and pulled up to Margo just before the course reaches the Pacific Ocean and the final turn down the Great Highway. “A blowjob if you break the record”, the wisecracking, crass, grand dame yelled out. I slapped her on her shapely tight tush as I sped by her, now in a full sprint to the finish. I ended up breaking Fishback’s time by forty seconds and established a record that would stand for eight years – something I will always cherish.
My feat, however, pales in comparison to Margo’s introducing to the Race a zany flavor that would continue to grow as the years went by until today when 100,000 persons participate, the big attraction is the weird outfits and especially the nude runners.
Needless to say, Bob de Celle and the other race officials were highly upset, but Margo slipped away into the bushes of Golden Gate Park, chuckling to herself I am sure. I never did collect the ‘trophy’ she promised me for breaking the course record.
In introducing a little zaniness to an otherwise serious endeavor, Margo made her mark on the whole fitness phenomenon that came out of the sixties. A case could be made that this movement of ‘Health and Well Being’ really started with the Bay to Breakers. Yes, President Kennedy, in seeing the horrible physical condition and lack of exercise of most Americans, both young and old, made an impassioned speech, urging the populace to exercise; however, it took a footrace in San Francisco and a band of fitness nuts like Margo, Pax Beale, Elaine Peterson, Walt Stack, and Jack Leydig, just to name a few, to launch the movement. Also, the motivational articles of newspaper writer Walt Daley inspired out of shape couch potatoes to get out on the trail and train for next year’s race. His sagas of people like blind Harry Cordellos running the eight miles across San Francisco or ninety five year old Dr. Paul Spangler jumping in the Ocean after sprinting the last mile couldn’t help but inspire the populace to heed JFK’s plea.
A further case could be made that the fitness/health movement that came out of San Francisco in the sixties was really born out of the 60’s Cultural Revolution which took place in the City by the Bay – one of the good and beautiful elements of which I spoke about. Along with free thinking, tolerance, creative expression, etc. there was the embracement of the concept of developing one’s mind and body. This was evidenced by the acceptance of Eastern health oriented ways and philosophies such as Yoga, Acupuncture, Zen, Meditation and Tai Chi. Many of my hippie friends got into running and actually it was they who carried on the zaniness that merry prankster Margo St. James started in the 1965 Race. No one, not even Jerry Garcia or Timothy Leary, was more hip than Margo.
About the author: Bill Morgan founded North Beach Leathers during San Francisco’s 1967 ‘Summer of Love’. He is the author of “North Beach Leathers –Tailors to the Stars” which documents his trials, tribulations and joys of turning the American populace on to premier leather fashions as well as NBL’s renowned interactions with the world’s celebrities.
NEGRO ‘PARANOIA’ (1968)
White Racism Said to Push Blacks to the Brink
By JOHN LEO
White racism forces the American Negro to lead a life of cultural paranoia and often pushes him over the brink into true paranoid schizophrenia, a black psychiatrist said here yesterday.
Paranoia, a withdrawal from reality with delusions of persecution, is by far the most common form of mental illness among black Americans, according to Dr. William H. Grier, assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of California Medical Center, San Francisco.
That’s because a black person has to develop a suspiciousness and defensive posture just to survive in America, he said in an interview. He has to develop a ‘healthy,’ adaptive ‘cultural paranoia,’ which pushes him close to the line of mental illness.
Dr. Grier is the author of Black Rage, a psychological portrait of the American Negro, published today by Basic Books. Dr. Price M. Cobbs, another Negro psychiatrist at the San Francisco medical center, is co-author.
The book argues that the rage of black men is beginning to break through a complex set of psychic defenses, erected in the time of slavery 2nd little changed since.
Suffering Is Masked
Beneath the cool style and the postal-worker syndrome of ingratiating deference and passivity, the authors say, the Negro has been spending enormous amounts of psychic energy to mask suffering and rage.
As a sapling bent low stores energy for a violent backswing, the authors write, blacks bent double by oppression have stored energy which will be released in the form of rage – black rage, apocalyptic and final.
They also make these arguments:
It is the role of the Negro mother to suppress assertiveness in her sons, so they can survive in white society. As a result, Negro men develop considerable hostility toward Negro women as the inhibiting agents of an oppressive system.
Negro family structure is weak because it cannot fulfill its primary function: protection of its members. Nowhere in the United States can the black family extend an umbrella of protection over its members in the way that a white family can, they say.
The black woman is prone to depressive, self-deprecatory attitudes. By white beauty standards, she is unable to develop a healthy narcissism, or self-love. She tends to see the sexual act as a degrading submission, which further lowers her self-esteem.
After early promise, many talented Negroes fail to do well in their careers because accomplishment is often perceived as a major move beyond the family, and thus as a form of abandonment of loved ones.
Many black men weep frequently – without warning and without feeling. It occurs while the black man is passively witnessing another man’s triumph, and the tears are for what he might have achieved if he had not been held back … by some inner command not to excel, not to achieve, not to becoming outstanding, not to draw attention to himself.
Under slavery, the authors write, the black man was a psychologically emasculated and totally dependent human being. Times and conditions have changed, but black men continue to exhibit the inhibitions and psychopathology that had their genesis in the slave experience.
The Black Norm, the authors write, is a set of defensive character traits that the American Negro must acquire.
They list these traits as cultural paranoia (every white man and every social system is the enemy until proven otherwise), cultural depression (sadness and intimacy with misery) and cultural antisocialism (an accurate reading of one’s environment in which laws are never quite respected because they are designed to protect white men, not Negroes.
To regard the Black Norm as pathological, the psychiatrists write, and attempt to remove such traits by treatment would be akin to analyzing away a hunter’s cunning or a banker’s prudence. This is a body of characteristics essential to life for black men in America and woe be unto that therapist who does not recognize it.
Rage is rising rapidly in the black community, they write. and whites must get off the backs of Negroes if they wish to avoid a conflagration.
Today it is the young men who are fighting the battles, and, for now, their elders, though they have given their approval, have not yet joined in. The issue finally rests with the black masses. When the servile men and women stand up, we had all better duck.
Source: The New York Times 7/25/68
Posted by: skip
The African American Past and the American Present (1968)
By Vincent Harding
NEGRO history suffers the same fate in the overall American story as the individual Negro’s integration Into American society. That is, small but prominent doses of Negro History can be dropped into the national saga, but these black drops should never be numerous or indelible. For if they are too many and too black, these encroachments might necessitate unpleasant rereadings, reassessments and rewritings of the entire story.
An American history which cannot contain the full story of the black pilgrimage is no more worthy than an American society that cannot bear the full and troublesome black presence in its midst.
Just as America can know no survival worth considering unless it finds a way of facing its black counterimage, so too our history is a tale told by fools if it does not incorporate the Afro-American experience with unflinching integrity. And if such open encounter between black and white history should produce the same insecurity as we now experience in the human encounter, so much the better.
The analogy doesn’t end there. The urgency some of us feel for creating such a new American history is no less critical than the pressure impelling us to seek for the lineaments of a new American society. Obviously, the tasks are not unrelated, for there will be no new beginnings for a nation that refuses to acknowledge its real past.
Any American history that ignores the central role of black people as actors and foils on this maddening stage is a falsified and misleading history. Such a history ignores the ironic symbol of that summer in Jamestown more than three centuries ago when representative government and African bondsmen had a mutual beginning of sorts, a beginning that seemed to lock the rhetoric of democracy and the reality of black inequality into the American heart. It is a history that tries to explore the making of the Constitution without understanding the major price in its integrity that was exacted by the system of slavery and its proponents, both north and south. It is a history that attempts to speak of the Peculiar Institution as if there were no human beings involved who produced no authentic historical materials. Thus a major publisher could attempt recently to produce a collection of documents on slavery without one document from a slave.) It is a history that speaks of Jacksonian Democracy as if the expanded white franchise were not purchased at the cost of the black northern vote in many states.
Such a vacuous history treats Reconstruction as if it were an unfortunate mistake, rather than one of the nation’s greatest lost chances to be honest and free. This kind of history deals with the turn of the nineteenth century without suggesting the way in which the brutality against blacks and Indians at home may have permanently poisoned the nation’s attempts at expansion among non-white peoples elsewhere. It is a history that tries to understand the urban crisis of the 1960’s without tracing the long and bloody lines of Negro migration since Reconstruction. It is a history that attempts to interpret current American culture without any appreciation for the major role black people have played in creating the popular culture of the nation, especially since the 1920’s.
A history without the Afro-American story may indicate why this nation can now be so numb to the brutalization of a Vietnam thousands of miles away. In denying the physical and spiritual destruction of black persons which has become a part of the American Way of Life, a callus has grown on whatever heart a nation has.
This history that has contributed immensely to the mis-education of the American people has not prepared them to face a world that is neither white, Christian, capitalist, nor affluent. Such history may yet prove poisonous, and if there is any possible antidote on the American scene, it could be the hard and bitter medicine of the Afro-American past. Is it too late for a society that still insists that its drops be few and painless?
An Amnesiac Society
Even when one acknowledges the grotesquely slow pace at which black people are moving onto- the American stage, the knowledge of their history is still absolutely indispensable as they cast off the roles of the past and seek for new ones. If they come to the integrated scene with integrity, they must come with a knowledge of themselves and of the many-splendored gifts they bring.
Black students in formerly white schools must not enter as suppliants who are going to be transformed from disadvantaged to advantaged by such a move. They must be so aware of their black fathers and the wealth of their spiritual and intellectual heritage that they will illuminate sharply the disadvantages inherent in an isolated, beleaguered middle-class white world. If they are to become more than· black Anglo-Saxons, then they cannot accept the old doctrines of slavery which encouraged them to believe that God somehow blessed darkest Africa with the light of Christian guns and ships and chains. Neither the ancient Kingdom of Songhai nor the modern Kingdom of Harlem was benighted without whites, and black young people need to know the measurements of the light -in both places.
Any society that would encourage black children to live in a state of permanent amnesia or shame-or both concerning their fathers and their fathers’ ways of life is a society not worth knowing. Any men who would enter such a society on its amnesic terms would only add to its corruption, whether they entered through the door of the ninth grade or by the carpeted way of a General Electric executive suite. But it must also be acknowledged that such knowledge is exceedingly dangerous, for if it were faithfully presented, a reading of the Afro-American past might cause black exiles to refuse many an open door. Indeed some doors might be torn from their hinges. This is not teaching hatred of whites. Rather it is the necessary and healthy explanation for the existence of the hatred and fear that most black men have known from childhood on. Any society lacking the courage to take such risks with light lacks the courage to live.
Those white persons who first encounter the token blacks in their new roles also are in desperate need of the Afro-American past. For without it they will be tempted to feel that they are doing a favor for the students or the junior executives by letting them in. Properly read, the pages of the Negro past will reveal that it is black people who have done the favor by doing so much to build the nation under such horrible circumstances, and by letting such ambiguous doors stay on their hinges for so long a time. Compassionately understood, the black past will teach all benefactors that they are receiving a favor in being allowed what may be the one last chance to do justice, that they are being graced by the presence of a people whose pilgrimage is perhaps the only true epic poem that America has ever known. Such a reading of the Afro-American past might even shatter the general illusion that token acceptance of token Negroes will ever bring any basic hope for the survival of any of us.
Perhaps the issue of survival suggests another level of our need for the story of this dark journey in America. Not long ago, the most highly esteemed newspaper in America asked an author to write his reflections on the reasons for the current breaking of America into two parts, based on race. When it rips apart all the easy geJ1eralizations of our textbooks (written largely by, for and about white America), the new coming of black history would cast such a question into limbo. For any perceptive apprehension of the Negro-white encounter cannot fail to reveal that there have always been two major communities in this nation based on race.
The breaking began in West Africa and continued in every colony and state that came into being. If we read with both speed and comprehension, it may not be too late to ask the right questions, questions based not on Newark or Detroit in 1967, but on Jamestown and Philadelphia and Springfield and St. Louis over the centuries. For it is only as America faces a Denmark Vesey, a Nat Turner, a W. E. B. DuBois, a Paul Robeson and a Malcolm X, that the nation will begin to be ready to understand a Stokely Carmichael, a Rap Brown and the host of black radicals yet to come. Such a reading would identify each one as Made in America, Product of its Broken Community. How shall this land create new and whole men if it refuses to examine its past production record, a record strewn with the crushed bodies and spirits of black radicals hurling defiant curses and urgent pleas for renewal from the same dying lips?
These angry young men’s lives demonstrate the fact that the AfroAmerican past and the black present are no longer matters of limited national concern-if they ever were. Indeed they suggest to us what may be one of the most profound and universally significant uses of this history: that is, its service as an entrance to the non-white, non-Western world. One of the most gifted and least celebrated American political analysts, A. J. Muste, used to say that the basic division in the world now and for some time to come was not based on communism versus capitalism. Rather, Muste said, the world was divided now between those people who had rarely if ever known defeat and humiliation as a national experience and those who had lived with this for centuries.
In a sense, Muste was simply echoing the profound insights expressed by W. E. B. DuBois half a century earlier.
However formulated, the concepts of these men remind us that the world experience of the last 500 years has meant that the vast majority of the earth’s humiliated people has been nonwhite, and their humiliation has come at the hands of the white, Western world. Moreover, it appears that this nation now stands as the self-proclaimed leader of that unhumiliated world, and finds itself at once the most powerful and one of the least comprehending national states.
One of America’s most critical blind areas is in the realm of understanding the oppressed, the wretched of the earth. Our vaunted experience of virtually unbroken success, our alabaster cities undimmed by human tears (except for the unseen tears of the poor and the black?) and our movement into the strange joys of advanced corporate capitalism-all these have cut this people off from the rest of the world in significant ways.
America a Dangerous Nation
A nation that combines the American predilection towards violence, the American stockpile of weapons and the American lack of empathy for the earth’s humiliated peoples is a dangerous nation. Perhaps it can begin another life by introducing itself to the invisible men in its midst, by seeking to know the quality of suffering and hurt and the rebellion they spawn. Such an introduction must include-if not begin with-the past.
Nor are black Americans excused from such a task, for we are constantly exposed to a terrible temptation to forget the black and bloody ground out of which we sprang, as the price for American acceptance. As DuBois put it more than a decade ago, . . . most American Negroes, even those of intelligence and courage, do not fully realize that they are being bribed to trade equal status in the United States for the slavery of the majority of men. So the Afro-American past must remind black people that we are children of the humiliated and the oppressed, that our fathers were colonized and exploited subjects, and that the ghettos we have recently left are still too often filled with the stench of poverty and despair.
Such history must remind AfroAmericans that all of our greatest leaders have begged us to stand in solidarity with the black and anguished people of the earth. We are their spokesmen in the midst of the world’s foremost antirevolutionary power. If we forsake them, we forsake our past, our fathers, and our own best selves.
If we forsake them, there may be no future for our children or theirs. If we forget our own father’s burnings in village squares and don American uniforms to set fires against the world’s desperate revolutions, we will deserve nothing but the scorn of men and the judgment of the gods.
Some years ago, D. W. Brogan, an English expert on American affairs, referred to what he called The Myth of American Omnipotence. This phrase referred to his conviction that the reading of the American past was distorted by a conception of this nation as an entity incapable of failure, powerful and pure enough to succeed at anything it chose. The corollary of this myth, said Brogan (in the days of McCarthy’s reign), was that any American failure at home or overseas had to be explained by subversion or conspiracies, or-at worst-a mistake in well-intentioned American judgment.
Related to Brogan’s myth is what might be called The Myth of American Romanticism. Ever since the nation’s beginning it has been plagued by this equally crippling misconception of itself. Succinctly put, it involves a belief that American history is the story of a society moving on a straight upward line from perfection to perfection, from goodness to betterness, from being better than other nations to being the best .and most complete nation God had ever stood over (I take it that is the implication of being under God). This mythology was intensified to the point of indoctrination after World War II when history became a tool of Cold War, and it became necessary to prove consistently the superiority of America over every conceivable communist, socialist or neutralist model in the world.
This self -image is on a level with fairy tales and happiness-forever-after. It is the self-understanding of those whose adult development has been aborted by the fear of the risks of growth. Most importantly, it is a refusal to recognize the bloody, tragic line that whips its way through all of life. Failure to face the tragic is failure to mature in national as well as personal spheres, so in the midst of this pabulum view of history a serious implanting of the Afro-American past could be the difference between death and growth-at least spiritually.
Were American historians and American citizens at large to face this story, many-if not all-of their liberal, superficial myths about, and hopes for, American society might be transformed. They would need to face again the fact that two of their greatest heroes, Jefferson and Lincoln, were convinced that black and white people could never live on a basis of true equality in America. They would be pressed to realize that The Great Emancipator cared far more deeply for a cheaply won white reconciliation than for the very costly black liberation, thereby helping to lead the nation down bloody paths of malice for all.
The close reading of the black past might reveal how fully this broken people has tested every line of American democratic rhetoric and how fully each word has shrunk before the ultimate test in every generation. (They would also see the pathetic and perennial sight of esteemed national leaders offering solutions a generation old to wounds long past such ancient salves.) A reading of the black preachers, poets and editors, a sensitive listening to the singers of our songs, would face the nation with the ceaseless rage that has been the lot of men in every strange land who have been called upon to sing, to dance, to laugh, and to be grateful. And in those pages any searching eye would easily spy the century-old predictions of black alienation, sedition, rebellion, and guerrilla warfare. Tragic disaster has always lurked at the American door, created largely by blindness to the nation’s fatal flaw.
Not only would the tragic nature of American life perhaps become more clear, but the Afro-American story would remind the nation that it was conceived as an experiment, an experiment that could yet fail, miserably, utterly, explosively. Almost a century ago Henry Adams described the America of 1800 as very healthy except for the cancer of slavery. The irony and the tragedy of a very healthy cancerous body is still the American condition, and though no cure has yet been found for the cancer, it may not be too late to open the blind eyes to see its sources in the past. And what if we open our eyes only to discover that Jefferson and Lincoln (and many black men) were right, that present white prejudice and black bitterness, and unbroken lines of injustice from the past, now’ make it impossible for us to continue together in integrity? Is it better to go on in blind, self -righteous rage towards internecine struggle or to see, finally see, with sad and mature clarity the pathway down from all our past romantic dreams-including the dream of integration?
The black experience in America allows for no illusions, not even that last, ancient hope of the chosen American people whom God will somehow rescue by a special act of his grace. America began with such hopes, but they were tied to the idea of a Covenant, that men would have to do God’s will for them to remain as his chosen ones. Somehow, just as America forced black men to do so much of its other dirty but productive work, the nation evidently came to believe that whites could be chosen while blacks did that suffering which has always been identified with the chosen ones. Now that is over. The black past has begun to explode and to reveal to a hiding chosen people that to be the anointed one is to be crushed and humiliated by the forces of the world. After almost 400 years of exile, the black branch of the chosen people has grown louder than ever before in its refusal to take the sufferings apart from the privileges of the chosen status.
So, for all who would see it, the Afro-American past illuminates the meaning of being chosen. Perhaps this is what white Americans must see:
that they will either join the ranks of suffering and humiliation (beginning perhaps with losing face in Vietnam?) or there will be no chosen people on these shores. Either they will submit their children to some of the same educational terrors they have allowed black children to endure or there is no future for any. Either they will give up their affluence to provide necessities for others or there will be neither affluence nor necessities for anyone.
Perhaps we were chosen together, and we cannot move towards a new beginning until we have faced all the horror and agony of the past with absolute honesty. Perhaps integration is indeed irrelevant until the assessment of a long, unpaid debt has been made and significant payments begun. Perhaps atonement, not integration, is the issue at hand.
Of course, one last, shattering possibility may remain. It could be that the message of the Afro-American past is this: only one branch of the chosen people has really paid the dues of suffering-with the scars to show for it.
Therefore it may be that only the black branch will be allowed to shape the future of the nation and determine its calling for the world. Perhaps only black people are open, sensitive, and scarred enough as a group to lead this nation into true community with the non-white humiliated world. Perhaps that world of suffering will trust no American leaders save those who bear the marks of oppression in their souls. Perhaps it will listen only to those who know the tragic sense of life and are not blind and calloused bearers of death.
May the Last be First?
Perhaps it is already time for the last to be first in our nation. How shall that overturning come? That knowledge may be too great for even the Afro-American past to bear. Perhaps our black history can only bear witness to the truth, and living men must shape that truth into new action and new history.
To those who would close their ears to such interpretations of the black past, to those who would tune out because such strange musings seem unrelated to the historian’s vocation I cite the word of a white radical who read black history with some care. Before an audience of well-meaning whites, in a time of similar crisis, he spoke on the Afro-American past, focusing on the greatness of a black leader named Toussaint, holding L’Ouverture above the great white heroes of the age. Then Wendell Phillips set out these words : You think me a fanatic tonight, for you read history not with your eyes but with your prejudices.
So spoke a man who believed that there was no healing for America either in small black drops of history or in small black drops of Negro freedom. Had the nation heard his word and followed his uses of the past, we might well have been spared most of the bloody days between and the terror filled nights yet to come.
Will there be time before the last night? We who have lived in night and waited long in darkness may have a special word of light for a stumbling power-bound people. We do not panic easily. Shall the word be heard? Only those with ears can say. It is our calling, our vocation, to speak it. And if the last darkness should fall, it is preferable that we be found standing faithful to all the agonizing sorrow-joy of our Afro-American past than lost and sullen black defenders of a world that sucked out our memory and bleached our minds.
Such a land deserves no defense. Better that it pass and make way for whatever is yet to come-even if it be the long-delayed last silence. Or will it be the drums of morning? I do not know. The Afro-American past leaves a man with no illusions, but even in the heart of chaos it does not strip him of his hope. We have come too far, through too much chaos, to cop out here.
Source: Motive April 1968
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