Box 16, Folder 9, Document 31

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Che Sunday Star


The Week in Perspective

Obituaries, Weather

Dead End Awaits the Black Power Road


The arrest of Stokely Carmichael
and two of his SNCC lieutenants on
charges of inciting last week’s riot in
Atlanta may mark a turning point in
what appears to be a struggle for su-
premacy between the moderate and the
extremist elements in the civil rights

The importance of the decision by
Atlanta’s Mayor Allen, who has taken a
strong lead in behalf of Negro rights,
lies in one simple fact. Public officials,
assuming that the requisite proof is in
hand, must be willing to prosecute a
Carmichael or anyone else where a seri-
ous offense is involved. If for a political
reason or some other reason they will
not take firm action against a leader,
how can they expect those in the lower
echelons to respect and obey the law?
And, of at least equal importance, why
should anyone suppose that the moder-
ate civil rights leaders will speak out
and act against violence if the civil au-
thorities are unwilling to do so?

This is a testing year, a year in

which events may determine whether .

good sense or “black power” in its ex-
treme manifestations will carry the day.
It will be tragic if, because of weak
knees in city hall, it should be made to
appear that the rock-thrower and the
Molotov cocktail are the wave of the

There is risk of oversimplification in
discussing the moderate as opposed to
the extremist wings. There is good rea-
son to believe that a very large major-
ity of Negroes do not support and are
even opposed to the extremist tactics.
This does not necessarily mean, how-
ever, that all moderates will condemn
the extremists out of hand. Some of
them may even derive a certain vicari-
ous satisfaction from the excesses of a
Carmichael or an Adam Clayton Powell,
even though they know in their hearts
that an appeal to black power, for ex-
ample, can eventually lead only to a
dead-end street as far as any perma-

Trouble | got, man—what | want is progress!’

nent advancement of civil rights is

In this connection, it is interesting
to note the results of a recent survey
conducted by a respected polling agency
in Watts, Harlem, Chicago and Balti-
more. The questions were asked by
trained Negro pollsters. And the re-
sponses revealed that most Negroes,
even in the ghettos, want pretty much

the same things that most white people
want. They want better housing. Not

surprisingly, since they ate the principal
victims, they are worried ut crime,
and they are more in ade-

quate police protection than im talk
about police brutality. They want their

children to have a sound, disciplined ed

ucation. In Harlem only 2 percent of

those interviewed said that school inte-

eration was their greatest problem. The

real educational problem, in the majori-

ty opinion, is the pressing need for bet-
__ter neighborhood schools.

Again, a cautionary note is in order.
It does not necessarily follow from the
survey findings that most of the people
in the ghettos are against violence in
pursuit of their reasonable objectives.
In Watts, for example, 48.4 percent of
those interviewed think the rioting
there helped their chances for equality
in jobs, schools and housing. Only 23.8
percent believe the rioting was harmful
to attainment of this objective.

The obvious inference from this is
that the demagogue, the racist-in-re-
verse, will find his best opportunity in
the ghettos and that this is why he
makes his major pitch there. It should
be borne in mind, however, that the
ghetto is not synonymous with the Negro
community in the United States. Many
Negroes do not live in ghettos. The mod-
erate Negro leader, however, has a re-
sponsibility to help alleviate the condi-
tions in the ghetto. And he also has a
responsibility to stand up and be counted
in oppositiion to those who seek to ex-
ploit the distress in the ghettos for pur-
poses of their own—from motives which
are at best dubious and which in the
long run can only retard the drive of
the Negro for his equal and rightful
place in the American society.

Here in Washington, the investi-

gation of last month’s trouble in the
Anacostia area is a case in point.

That affair, involving a clash be-
tween Negroes and police, has been
under study by a group of prominent
citizens appointed by Commissioner
Tobriner. Its co-chairman is Sterling
Tucker, a respected Negro leader.

The study group has reached no
conclusions. In fact, it is just beginning
the job of drafting its report. Yet Adam
Clayton Powell, whose position in Con-
gress entitles one to expect something
better from him, has charged into print
with the accusation that the investiga-
tion is a “whitewash” and that the com-
mittee has too many “mild-mannered
Negroes.” Following this lead, Julius
Hobson, who heads the group known as
ACT, paid his respects to “pasteurized
Negroes” on the committee who, he said,
would sell other Negroes short “for a
few pieces of silver.” To the extent that
anyone in Washington takes Powell and
Hobson seriously, this sort of demagogic
prejudgment is as harmful as it is out-
rageous. And it should not be allowed
to go unchallenged.

Although not aimed specifically at
the Powell-Hobson combination, the
executive board of the District chapter
of the NAACP has just approved a res-
olution which is a reflection of respon-
sible thinking by moderate leadership.

The resolution, offered by H. Carl
Moultrie, president of the local branch,
said that the NAACP “must condemn
with equal vigor the gathering of crowds
to protest the arrest of an individual,
or individuals, as it does any form of
police brutality.” If witnesses think the
police are guilty of brutality in making
an arrest, the resolution continued,
there are appropriate avenues, includ-
ing the NAACP, through which correc-
tive action can be sought. But “violence
on the part of a person, or persons, or
groups of persons, must be unequivocally
condemned.” The resolution ended with
an expression of hope that “all other
organizations do the same as we in call-
ing for law and order.”

‘So far the call from other organ-
izations has been considerably less than
deafening. The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther
King, however, has just denounced
“black power” in any context of vio-
lence. As the struggle within the civil
rights movement shapes up, and if
public authorities follow Atlanta’s ex-
ample in cracking down on violence
and incitement to violence, the country
should hear before long from other mod-
erate voices.

For if one thing is clear, it is that
future progress in civil rights depends
upon co-operation within the framework
of law by whites and Negroes whose
dedication to equal treatment and equal
opportunity is genuine rather than op-
portunistic. If anyone doubts this, let
him look at what is happening to the
1966 civil rights bill in the Senate.

There certainly is nothing to be
gained in the future by following those
who think or who pretend to think of
progress in terms of black power, and
who talk nonsense about burning down
the city to get what they want. _

An important thing for everyone to
remember is that gains can be lost. And
one way to reverse the national mood
which has produced so many very sub-
stantial civil rights gains is to enlist an
army under the racist banner of hot-
heads who want the Negro to go it alone,

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