(Shenandoah Joe) Speech for Project Media, Jackson, Mississippi, 1975 September 19 - 1

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COPYRIGHT 1975 By JULIAN BOND PROJECT MEDIA - JACKSON, MISSISSIPPI September 19, 1975

OUR HISTORY IN WHAT IS NOW CALLED THE MEDIA GOES BACK ONLY 150 YEARS IN AMERICA--BACK TO THE ESTABLISHMENT IN 1827 OF THE FIRST BLACK-OWNED NEWSPAPER, FREEDOM'S JOURNAL, PUBLISHED BY SAMUEL CORNISH AND JOHN B. RUSSWURM.

WHEN HE FORMED HIS OWN PAPER, THE NORTH STAR, 20 YEARS LATER, FREDERICK DOUGLASS WROTE IN ITS FIRST EDITORIAL WHAT OUGHT TO BECOME GUIDING PRINCIPLES FOR EVERY BLACK JOURNALIST FROM THEN UNTIL NOW. HE WROTE:

". . . . . .THE MAN WHO HAS SUFFERED THE WRONG IS THE MAN TO DEMAND REDRESS, - THE MAN STRUCK IS THE MAN TO CRY OUT - AND THAT HE WHO HAS ENDURED THE CRUEL PANGS OF SLAVERY IS THE MAN TO ADVOCATE LIBERTY. IT IS EVIDENT THAT WE MUST BE OUR OWN REPRESENTATIVE AND ADVOCATES, NOT EXCLUSIVELY, BUT PECULIARLY - NOT DISTINCT FROM, BUT IN CONNECTION WITH OUR WHITE FRIENDS. IN THE GRAND STRUGGLE FOR LIBERTY AND EQUALITY NOW WAGING, IT IS MEET, RIGHT AND ESSENTIAL THAT THERE SHOULD ARISE IN OUR RANKS AUTHORS AND EDITORS, AS WELL AS ORATORS, FOR IT IS IN THESE CAPACITIES THAT THE MOST PERMANENT GOOD CAN BE RENDERED TO OUR CAUSE."*

*THE NORTH STAR, DECEMBER 3, 1847

Last edit 10 months ago by Ellen
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THE VERY NAMES OF THESE EARLY PAPERS--FREEDOM'S JOURNAL AND NORTH STAR--MADE THE READER KNOW THAT THEY INTENDED TO OUTLINE THE BATTLEFIELD AND RECORD THE WAR THAT WAS SURE TO FOLLOW. AND THAT THEY DID.

THROUGH CIVIL WAR AND WORLD WARS, THROUGH DEPRESSIONS AND STAGLATION, THE BLACK PRESS HAS SERVED TO GUIDE AND ILLUSTRATE OUR PATH.

TODAY "THE PRESS" MEANS MORE THAN NEWSPAPERS. IT MEANS RADIO AND TELEVISION, AND BLACKS INCREASINGLY ARE A LARGER AND LARGER PART OF IT.

IN OWNERSHIP WE ARE REPRESENTED ONLY

Last edit 9 months ago by Ellen
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BUT DESPITE A 10-YEAR INCREASE OF 150% IN THE NUMBER OF BLACKS HOLDING OFFICE, DESPITE THE ABILITY TO SIT OR EAT OR RIDE OR VOTE IN PLACES THAT FORMERLY LACKED BLACK FACES, IN A REAL WAY WE FIND OUR CONDITION UNCHANGED.

A QUICK LOOK AT EVERY STATISTIC THAT MEASURES HOW WELL OR POORLY A GROUP OF PEOPLE IS DOING--INFANT MORTALITY RATES, MEDIAN FAMILY INCOME, LIFE EXPECTANCY--SHOWS THAT WHILE OUR GENERAL CONDITION HAS IMPROVED, OUR RELATIVE CONDITION HAS ACTUALLY WORSENED.

IS IT ALMOST AS THOUGH WE WERE CLIMBING A MOLASSES MOUNTAIN DRESSED IN SNOWSHOES, WHILE EVERYONE ELSE RIDES A RATHER LEISURELY SKI-LIFE TO THE TOP. HOW THE SKI SLOPES ARE MORE TREACHEROUS AND THE MOLASSES MELTING INTO MUD, A SARGASSO SEA OF CRIME IN HIGH PLACES, OF JOBLESSNESS FOR MANY AND HOPELESSNESS FOR MORE.

YESTERDAY'S GAINS BECOME SUSPECT. THE BUS FRONT SEAT LOSES MEANING FOR A PEOPLE WHOSE LONGEST TRIP IS LIKELY TO BE FROM THE FEUDAL SYSTEM OF THE RURAL SOUTH TO THE MECHANIZED, HIGH-RISE POVERTY OF THE NORTH.

THE RIGHT TO VOTE LOSES MEANING FOR A PEOPLE FORCED TO CHOOSE BETWEEN TWEEDLEDUM AND TWEEDLEDEE.

THE STRUGGLES OF THE SIXTIES WERE CARRIED FORWARD AGAINST DISCRIMINATION IN HOUSING, EMPLOYMENT, EDUCATION AND GOVERNMENT, BOTH BECAUSE THE VICTIMS BECAME THEIR OWN VEST CHAMPIONS AND BECAUSE THEY FOUND A SYMPATHETIC EAR IN THE BODY POLITIC.

Last edit 9 months ago by reganellis
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WAR DRAINED OUR TREASURY AND MANHOOD, AS THE BEST AND BRIGHTEST WERE BEATEN DOWN BY BULLETS, A SHIFT OCCURRED IN THE NATIONAL CONSCIOUSNESS.

WE STAND NOW NEAR OUR 200TH BIRTHDAY AS A NATION--AFRAID OF WHAT THE FUTURE WILL BRING AND AFRAID TO LOOK TOO CRITICALLY AT OUR PAST, AFRAID TO ASSIGN GUILT AND RESPONSIBILITY FOR OUR COMMON CONDITION.

A LOOK BACKWARD SHOWS DECADES OF MOVEMENT, AGITATION AND PROTEST WHOSE RESULTS ARE SUSPECT TODAY.

SO MUCH HAS HAPPENED IN THE UNITED STATES SINCE TEH BEGINNING OF THIS DECADE.

A MONSTROUS WAR SLAUGHTERED ONE YOUNG. THOSE WHO SURVIVED THE BOMBS AND BULLETS CAME HOME TO A COUNTRY THAT YAWNED IN THEIR FACES. NO JOBS! NO SYMPATHY! NOT EVEN A PARADE! WHAT JOHNNY CAME MARCHING HOME TO THIS TIME... FROM DETROIT TO DUBUQUE... WAS A ROARING RECESSION AND AN OVERHEATED, INFLATIONARY ECONOMY. AND GUESS WHO WAS GETTING BURNED?

WATERGATE BECAME MORE THAN AN APARTMENT BUILDING TO LIVE IN. RICHARD NIXON TURNED IT INTO A SHAMEFUL NIGHT MARE WE WERE FORCED TO LIVE WITH. MORE THAN JUST A RESIDENTIAL-COMMERCIAL COMPLEX CROWDED AGAINST THE BANKS OF THE POTOMAC, WATERGATE CAME TO SYMBOLIZE FOR MILLIONS OF AMERICANS THE LENGTHS TO WHICH MORONIC MORAL MIDGETS WILL GO TO COOL THEIR POTOMAC FEVER.

Last edit 9 months ago by reganellis
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OUR MONEY IS BECOMING COUNTERFIT IN WORLD MONEY MARKETS. OUR FOREIGN POLICY BEARS THE STAMP OF GIVE-AWAY KISSINGER'S KISS OF DEATH. DOMESTIC POLICY SUFFERS FOR THE BLACK OF ANY ATTENTION AT ALL. SCHOOLS NO LONGER EDUCATE OUR YOUNG, AND OUR YOUNG, KNOWING NOTHING, ARE NODDING IN THE DOORWAYS OF ABANDONED CITIES WHILE HOPING THINGS WILL GO BETTER WITH "COKE". FOR BLACK AMERICA, THE TENTATIVE ECONOMIC GAINS OF THE SIXTIES ARE SLOWLY BUT SURELY SLIPPING FROM OUR GRASP. FOR BLACK AMERICA, IT IS SADLY TRUE, DESPITE THE WAR ON POVERTY WHICH WE APPARENTLY LOST, ONE-THIRD OF ALL BLACK CHILDREN STILL LIVE IN POVERTY.. A FACT THAT BODES ILL FOR FUTURE BLACK GENERATIONS. IT IS STILL TRUE THAT A BLACK COLLEGE GRADUATE STANDS A GREAT CHANCE OF EARNING LESS MONEY OVER A LIFETIME OF EMPLOYMENT THAN WILL A WHITE HIGH SCHOOL DROPOUT.

AFTER SUCH A HOPEFUL START ON DOMESTIC PROBLEMS IN AMERICA IN THE SIXTIES, IT HAS SEEMED OVER THE PAST FIVE YEARS AS IF A PLAGUE HAS BEEN VISITED UPON US. IT IS PAINFUL I KNOW TO PLUNGE HEADLONG BACK THROUGH MODERN HISTORY TO VIEW THE STARK MISERY OF A PEOPLE ABOUT TO ENTER THIS DECADE. BUT THINK BACK WITH ME TO THE YEAR 1970. THINK BACK TO WHERE BLACK AMERICA WAS THEN SO WE CAN GAIN SOME SENSE OF WHERE WE ARE LIKELY TO BE HEADED.

"BLACK AMERICA IN 1970 WAS WEARY AND FRUSTRATED. OLD TARGETS OF ITS ASSUALTS ON RACIAL INJUSTICE WERE BECOMING MORE ELUSIVE AND WERE CHANGING THEIR SHAPES THROUGH CLEVER DISGUISES. DEMONSTRATIONS FOR PURE CIVIL RIGHTS CAUSES RESULTED IN FEWER

Last edit 9 months ago by KaylaMassenburg
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