“We have a common enemy. We have this in common: We have a common oppressor, a common exploiter, and a common discriminator. But once we all realize that we have a common enemy, then we unite – on the basis of what we have in common. And what we have foremost in common is that enemy – the white man. He’s an enemy to all of us. I know some of you all think that some of them aren’t enemies. Time will tell.
Revolution is bloody, revolution is hostile, revolution knows no compromise, revolution overturns and destroys everything that gets in its way. And you, sitting around here like a gnat on the wall, saying, ‘I’m going to love these folks no matter how much they hate me.’ No, you need a revolution. Whoever heard of a revolution where they lock arms, as Reverend Cleage was pointing out beautifully, singing ‘We Shall Overcome’? You don’t do that in a revolution. You don’t do any singing, you’re too busy swinging. It’s based on land. A revolutionary wants land so he can set up his own nation, an independent nation. These Negroes aren’t asking for any nation – they’re trying to crawl back on the plantation.”
Malcolm X – Coffee Metaphor
“It’s just like when you’ve got some coffee that’s too black, which means it’s too strong. What do you do? You integrate it with cream, you make it weak. But if you pour too much cream in it, you won’t even know you ever had coffee. It used to be hot, it becomes cool. It used to be strong, it becomes weak. It used to wake you up, now it puts you to sleep. This is what they did with the march on Washington. They joined it. They didn’t integrate it, they infiltrated it. They join it, became a part of it, took it over. And as they took it over, it lost its militancy. It ceased to be angry, it ceased to be hot, it ceased to be uncompromising. Why, it even ceased to be a march. It became a picnic, a circus.”
Martin Luther King's Last Testimony
“Well, I don't know what will happen now. We've got some difficult days ahead. But it doesn't matter with me now. Because I've been to the mountaintop. And I don't mind. Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I'm not concerned about that now. I just want to do God's will. And He's allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I've looked over. And I've seen the promised land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land. And I'm happy, tonight. I'm not worried about anything. I'm not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.”
The final words from Martin Luther King's last speech, given in Memphis Tennessee the night before he was assassinated on April 4, 1968
Document #2 KERNER COMMISSION
Kerner Commission - REPORT OF THE NATIONAL ADVISORY COMMISSION ON CIVIL DISORDERS SUMMARY OF REPORT INTRODUCTION
The summer of 1967 again brought racial disorders to American cities, and with them shock, fear and bewilderment to the nation.
The worst came during a two-week period in July, first in Newark and then in Detroit. Each set off a chain reaction in neighboring communities.
On July 28, 1967, the President of the United States established this Commission and directed us to answer three basic questions: (1) What happened? (2) Why did it happen?
(3) What can be done to prevent it from happening again?
To respond to these questions, we have undertaken a broad range of studies and investigations…This is our basic conclusion: Our nation is moving toward two societies, one black, one white--separate and unequal.
This deepening racial division is not inevitable. The movement apart can be reversed. Choice is still possible. Our principal task is to define that choice and to press for a national resolution.
To pursue our present course will involve the continuing polarization of the American community and, ultimately, the destruction of basic democratic values.
The alternative is not blind repression or capitulation to lawlessness. It is the realization of common opportunities for all within a single society.
Segregation and poverty have created in the racial ghetto a destructive environment totally unknown to most white Americans.
Our recommendations embrace three basic principles:
* To mount programs on a scale equal to the dimension of the problems:
* To aim these programs for high impact in the immediate future in order to close the gap between promise and performance;
* To undertake new initiatives and experiments that can change the system of failure and frustration that now dominates the ghetto and weakens our society.
In Newark…Police and National Guard responded to disturbances reported by police.
Asking a young man near by what they knew…"That's no firing. That's fireworks. If you look up to the fourth floor, you will see the people who are throwing down these cherry bombs."
By this time four truckloads of National Guardsmen had arrived and troopers and policemen were again crouched everywhere looking for a sniper. The Director of Police remained at the scene for three hours, and the only shot fired was the one by the Guardsman.
Nevertheless, at six o'clock that evening two columns of National Guardsmen and state troopers were directing mass fire at the Hayes Housing Project in response to what they believed were snipers. . . .
Riots: The "typical" riot did not take place. The disorders of 1967 were unusual, irregular, complex and unpredictable social processes. Like most human events, they did not unfold in an orderly sequence. However, an analysis of our survey information leads to some conclusions about the riot process. In general:
* The civil disorders of 1967 involved Negroes acting against local symbols of white American society, authority and property in Negro neighborhoods--rather than against white persons. * Of 164 disorders reported during the first nine months of 1967, eight (5 percent) were major in terms of violence and damage; 33 (20 percent) were serious but not major; 123 (75 percent) were minor and undoubtedly would not have received national attention as "riots" had the nation not been sensitized by the more serious outbreaks.
* In the 75 disorders studied by a Senate subcommittee, 83 deaths were reported. Eighty- two percent of the deaths and more than half the injuries occurred in Newark and Detroit. About 10 percent of the dead and 38 percent of the injured were public employees, primarily law officers and firemen. The overwhelming majority of the persons killed or injured in all the disorders were Negro civilians.
* Initial damage estimates were greatly exaggerated. In Detroit, newspaper damage estimates at first ranged from $200 million to $500 million; the highest recent estimate is $45 million. In Newark, early estimates ranged from $15 to $25 million. A month later damage was estimated at $10.2 million, over 80 percent in inventory losses.
DOCUMENT #3 BLACK PANTHERS/BLACK POWER
November 1966, one month after founding. First 6 members - Top Left to Right: Elbert "Big Man" Howard; Huey P. Newton, Sherman Forte, Chairman, Bobby Seale. Bottom: Reggie Forte and Little Bobby Hutton.
Black Panther Origins
The Black Panther Party was the vision of Huey P. Newton, the seventh son of a Louisiana family transplanted to Oakland, California. In October of 1966, in the wake of the assassination of black leader Malcolm X and on the heels of the massive black, urban uprising in Watts, California and at the height of the civil rights movement led by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Newton gathered a few of his longtime friends, including Bobby Seale and David Hilliard, and developed a skeletal outline for this organization. It was named, originally, the Black Panther Party for Self Defense. The black panther was used as the symbol because it was a powerful image, one that had been used effectively by the short-lived voting rights group the Lowndes County (Alabama) Freedom Organization. The term "self defense" was employed to distinguish the Party's philosophy from the dominant nonviolent theme of the civil rights movement, and in homage to the civil rights group the Louisiana based Deacons for Defense. These two, symbolic references were, however, the only similarity between the Black Panther Party, other black organizations of the time, the civil rights groups and black power groups.
Angry, Oakland police destruction of the second B.P.P. National Headquarters office fall 1968, the night following a "third degree voluntary man slaughter" conviction, of Huey P. Newton. The police were rooting for a first-degree conviction.
Black Power – carving out a place for Blacks
“ ‘To carve out a place for itself in the politico-social order, a new group may have to fight for reorientation of many of the values of the old order,’ wrote V.O.Key, Jr. in the book Politics, Parties and Pressure Groups. This is especially true when that group is composed of black people in the American society – a society that has for centuries deliberately and systematically excluded them from political participation. In order to create these new values we must first redefine ourselves. Our basic need is to reclaim our history and our identity from what must be called cultural terrorism, from the depredation of self-justifying white guilt…In Politics Among Nations, Morgenthau defined political power as ‘the psychological control over the minds of men.’ This control includes that attempt by the oppressor to have his definitions, his historical descriptions, accepted by the oppressed. This was true in Africa no less than in the United States.” – K. Ture & C. V. Hamilton
Bobby Seale speaking at Free Huey Rally 1968.
"FREE HUEY," Panther Vigil, 1968 at Alameda County Court House. Right: Elbert "Bigman" Howard.[right] one of the first six members.
Little Bobby Hutton and Sherman Forte outside Oakland Jail, waiting for Bobby Seale to bail Huey out of Jail, 1967.
Minister of Defense, Huey P. Newton,
Back on the Streets with The People
DOCUMENT #4 BLACK POWER/BLACK PANTHERS – Myths and Platform
Black Power – The Myths of Coalition (joint efforts)
“The coalitionists proceed on what we can identify as three myths or major fallacies. First, that in the context of present-day America, the interests of black people are identical with the interests of certain liberal, labor and other reform groups. Those groups accept the legitimacy of the basic values and institutions of the society, and fundamentally are not interested in a major reorientation of the society…The assumption – which is a myth – is this: what is good for America is automatically good for black people. The second myth is the fallacious assumption that a viable coalition can be effected (made) between the politically and economically secure and the politically and economically insecure. The third myth assumes that political coalitions are or can be sustained on a moral, friendly, sentimental basis; by appeals to conscience.”
The Black Panthers - October 1966; Black Panther Party Platform and Program
What We Want
What We Believe
We want freedom. We want power to determine the destiny of our Black Community…
We want full employment for our people…
We want an end to the robbery by the capitalists of our Black Community…
We want decent housing, fit for shelter of human beings…
We want education for our people that exposes the true nature of this decadent American society. We want education that teaches us our true history and our role in present-day society…
We want all Black men to be exempt from military service…
We want an immediate end to POLICE BRUITALITY and MURDER of Black people…
We want freedom for all Black men held in federal, state, county, and city prisons and jails…
We want all Black people when brought to trail to be tried in court by a jury of their peer group or people from their Black communities, as defined by the Constitution of the United States…
We want land, bread, housing, education, clothing, justice, and peace.
DOCUMENT #5 BLACK POWER/BLACK PANTHERS – Community Activism
Black Power – “Dynamite in the Ghetto”
“The problems of the city and of institutional racism are clearly intertwined. Nowhere are people so expendable in the forward march of corporate power as in the ghetto. At the same time, nowhere is the potential political power of black people greater. If the crisis we face in the city is to be dealt with, the problem of the ghetto must be solved first. Black people now hold the balance of electoral power in some of the nations’ largest cities, while population experts predict that, in the next ten to twenty years, black Americans will constitution the majority of a dozen or more of the largest cities…D.C., Detroit, Baltimore, St. Louis…”
What problems did black people face as they moved into these urban areas (black migration north)? Most of the blacks moving to the North were crowded into the slums of the cities. In the face of bombs and riots, they fought for a place to live…They also faced a daily fight for jobs…During periods of recession and depression blacks were the first cut from the job market while skill and craft jobs for the most part remained closed to them. Added to the problems of housing and jobs, of course was education…
A non-partisan, interracial Chicago Commission of Race Relations was appointed to investigate and to make recommendations…the Commission recommended the correction of gross inequities in protection on the part of the police and the state’s attorney; it also rebuked the courts for facetiousness in dealing with black defendants and the police for discrimination in making arrests. The Board of Education was asked to exercise special care in selecting principals and teachers in ghetto schools (schools at that time were segregated by law, or de jure, while today ghetto schools are segregated de facto), to alleviate overcrowding and double-shift schools…”
* “institutional racism”
Charles Bursey, Officer working at FREE BREAKFAST for Children Program.
Fred Hampton, Deputy Chairman Chicago, Illinois B.P.P. Chapter from 1968 thru 1969. Murdered, along with Mark Clark in a pre dawn fascist police attack by State's Attorney Hannerhand's Special Police Squad, December 4th, 1969. The FBI's "COINTELPRO" was complicit in this murder of Fred and Mark Clark and the vicious shooting of several party members while they were asleep at 5:00 a.m. After ten years the families ultimately won a suite against the state.