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OR ANYWHERE NEAR THAT FIGURE; THREE HUNDRED BLACK MEN AND WOMEN ARE
STATE LEGISLATORS; ALMOST 1,200 BLACKS ARE MEMBERS OF CITY COUNCILS
OR COUNTY GOVERNING BODIES; NEARLY 800 BLACKS, IF NOT MORE, HELP TO
DETERMINE PUBLIC EDUCATION POLICY AS MEMBERS OF LOCAL SCHOOL BOARDS.

TEN YEARS AGO IN THE SOUTH BEFORE THE CONGRESS PASSED THE
VOTING RIGHTS ACT OF 1965, TO BE BLACK AND TO ATTEMPT TO EVEN TRY
TO REGISTER TO VOTE INVITED PUNISHMENT, INCLUDING DEATH, THAT WAS
GUARANTEED TO BE SWIFT, CERTAIN AND SEVERE. MEN AND WOMEN DIED,
LITERALLY DIED IN AMERICA, FOR MERELY PETITIONING FOR BLACKS TO
ENJOY A BASIC RIGHT THAT SEEMED TO FLOW TO EVERYBODY ELSE FROM THE
CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES.

TODAY MORE THAN HALF OF ALL BLACK ELECTED OFFICIALS IN
THE UNITED STATES ARE IN THE SOUTHERN STATES...IN THE VERY AREA
WHERE FIFTEEN YEARS AGO IT WAS NOT UNCOMMON FOR BLACKS TO BE ASKED
HOW MANY BUBBLES THERE ARE IN A BAR OF SOAP AS A PREREQUISITE FOR
REGISTERING. AND NOW THERE ARE THOSE OF US WHO ARE BEGINNING TO
WONDER IF A SPECIAL LAW IS NOT NEEDED TO PROD THE NORTERN STATES
INTO THE 20TH CENTURY OF BLACK POLITICS. AFTER ALL, THERE ARE AT
LEAST SEVEN BLACK MAYORS IN ALABAMA, WHILE THERE IS ONLY ONE IN
ALL OF NEW YORK STATE; 61 BLACKS SIT ON CITY COUNCILS IN MISSISSIPPI,
BUT THERE IS NONE ON THE COUNCIL IN BOSTON, THE CRADLE OF LIBERTY.

YET FOR ALL THIS MOTION, LET US BE CAREFUL NOT TO ASSUME
THAT ALL THIS REPRESENTS SPECTACULAR PROGRESS FOR BLACK AMERICA.

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