(Online Participant) Speech concerning the conditions of Southern blacks as compared with 1619, October 1969

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Julian Bond - October, 1969

WHAT HAS HAPPENED IN THE UNITED STATES SINCE THE FIRST BLACK PEOPLE SET FOOT HERE IN 1619 IS THAT EVERYTHING HAS CHANGED AND NOTHING HAS CHANGED, PARTICULARLY FOR US IN THE SOUTH.

FOR ONE, WE ARE NO LONGER SLAVES. SECONDLY, WE CAN SIT AT LUNCH COUNTERS, SIT DOWNSTAIRS AT MOVIE THEATRES, RIDE IN THE FRONT OF BUSES, REGISTER AND VOTE WHERE WE ONCE COULD NOT.

BUT IN A GREAT MANY WAYS, WE ARE CONSTANTLY DISCOVERING THAT THINGS HAVE EITHER NOT CHANGED AT ALL, OR HAVE BECOME MUCH WORSE.

A QUICK LOOK AT ALL OF THE FACTS AND FIGURES THAT MEASURE HOW WELL, OR HOW POORLY, A PEOPLE ARE DOING - THE KINDS OF STATISTICS THAT MEASURE INFANT MORTALITY, UNEMPLOYMENT, MEDIAN FAMILY INCOME, LIFE EXPECTANCY - DEMONSTRATES CLEARLY THAT THE AVERAGE BLACK AMERICAN, WHILE BETTER OFF THAN HIS FATHER WAS, IS ACTUALLY WORSE OFF WHEN

Last edit 4 months ago by LB
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HIS STATISTICS ARE MEASURED AGAINST SIMILAR ONES FOR WHITE PEOPLE.

IT IS AS THOUGH BLACK AMERICANS ARE CLIMBING A MOLASSES MOUNTAIN IN SNOWSHOES, WHILE WHITE PEOPLE ARE RIDING A SKI LIFT TO THE TOP.

IT IS THESE DEPRESSING FIGURES, AND THE ACCOMPANYING PATHOLOGY WHICH RESULTS FROM THEM, THAT CAUSES SO MUCH DISCONTENT AND DEPRESSION IN BLACK COMMUNITIES TODAY.

THE REALIZATION THAT OVER THE YEARS THE DIVERSE STRATEGIES OF BOOKER T. WHATING WASHINGTON AND DR. W.E.B. DUBOIS AND MARCUS GARVEY AND MARTIN LUTHER KING AND MALCOLM X HAVE NOT SEPARATELY IMPROVED THE LOT OF THE MASSES OF BLACK FOLK, HAS UNDERSTANDABLY CONVINCED MANY WHITE PEOPLE THAT SUCH PROGRESS WILL NEVER OCCUR.

THE SEPARATE AGITATIONS THESE PHILOSOPHIES GAVE BIRTH TO - A RETURN TO AFRICA, A STRUGGLE IN THE COURTS, A NONVIOLENT THURST INTO THE STREETS, A VIOLENT ATTEMPT AT DOING REAL INJURY TO WHITE

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AMERICA - ALL THESE HAVE ACCUSTOMED MANY WHITE PEOPLE TO BELIEVE THAT BLACK PEOPLE HAVE BY NOW GOT EVERYTHING THEY WANT, AND HALF OF WHAT WHITE FOLKS NEED TOO.

BUT THE PROBLEM SO OFTEN REFERRED TO AS AMERICAN'S BLACK PROBLEM - IN REALITY A MASSIVE WHITE PROBLEM - CONTINUES. IT CONTINUES DESPITE WARS ON POVERTY AND GREAT SOCIETIES AND NEW FRONTIERS AND WILL CONTINUE DESPITE THE NEW FEDERALISM.

THE ROOTS OF THE PROBLEM ARE DEEP IN THE FABRIC OF THIS COUNTRY, AND BEGAN WITH THE RAPE OF AFRICA, THE STEALING OF CHILD FROM MOTHER, HUSBAND FROM WIFE, THE DESTRUCTION OF VAARIOUS CULTURES AND RELIGIONS, THE SEPARATION OF A WHOLE PEOPLE FROM THEIR LAND AND THEIR COUNTRY.

THEY INVOLVE THE BASEST OF PREJUDICES, AND AN ECONOMIC SYSTEM THAT HAS ALWAYS PLACED PROPERTY OVER PEOPLE - THE RESULTS OF THESE

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HAVE BEEN TO PLACE AND KEEP BLACK PEOPLE AT THE BOTTOM OF TE LADDER THAT IN THIS NATION IS SUPPOSED TO LEAD TO JOBS AND HOMES AND EDUCATION AND SECURITY.

IT HAS MADE US THE LAST TO BE HIRED AND THE FIRST TO BE FIRED. IT HAS RECENTLY, AS ANY READING OF VIETNAM CASUALTY LISTS WILL SHOW, MADE US FIRST IN WAR IF NOT FIRST IN THE HEARTS OF OUR COUNTRYMEN. IT HAS GIVEN BLACK CHILDREN AN OPPORTUNITY TO ATTEND SCHOOL FOR TWELVE YEARS WHILE RECEIVING FIVE YEARS OF EDUCATION. IT IS PLACED US ON RELIEF TO BE SCORED AS LIZY AND SHIFTLESS WHILE 6,000 WHITE AMERICAN FARMERS ARE PAID $25,000 EACH A YEAR NOT TO WORK, AND WHILE OIL MILLIONAIRES RECEIVE AN AUTOMATIC 27 1/2% TAX WRITE OFF EVERY YEAR.

IN SHORT, WE ARE IN BAD SHAPE. THE GAINS MADE YESTERDAY ARE GONE TODAY. THE VICTORIES WON IN THE WARS OF 1954 AND 1960 ARE

Last edit 4 months ago by LB
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NEGATED BY THE WINNER OF THE BATTLE OF 1968.

WE ARE NOW, NEAR THE END OF 1969, FACING A GOVERNMENT AND AN ADMINISTRATION THAT IS MORE HOSTILE TOWARD OUR ASPIRATIONS THAN ANY OTHER IN THE RECENT PAST.

THAT IS NOT TO SAY, HOWEVER, THAT THE TWO ADMINISTRATION THAT PRECEDED IT WERE MEASURABLE BETTER IN ALL RESPECTS.

THE KENNEDY YEARS, BRIGHT WITH PROMISE, GAVE US STATEMENTS ABOUT ENDING DISCRIMINATION WITH THE STROKE OF A PEN THAT COULD NOT BE FOUND WHILE THE JOHNSON ERA GAVE US FURTHER INVOLVEMENT IN A SENSELESS WAR THAT NOT ONLY RAPES THE COUNTRY OF ITS YOUND MANHOOD - AND THE BLACK COMMUNITY MORE NEARLY SO - BUT ALSO PULLED THE BEST MINDS AND ENERGIES OF THE GOVERNMENT INTO PROSECUTING A WAR AGAINST THE BEST INSTINCTS WE WERE ALL TAUGHT THE COUNTRY STOOD FOR.

Last edit 4 months ago by LB
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