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PUT IT INTO SOME KIND OF PERSPECTIVE. THE MORE THAN 3,200 BLACK
ELECTED OFFICIALS IN AMERICA REPRESENT LESS THAN ONE PERCENT OF THE
MORE THAN 500,000 ELECTED OFFICIALS IN THE COUNTRY.

AND WHILE ALL COMPARISONS TEND TO BE ODIOUS, A LOOK AT
BLACKS DURING THE RECONSTRUCTION ERA IS INSTRUCTIVE. THERE WERE
30 BLACKS IN THE MISSISSIPPI STATE LEGISLATURE IN 1870; FOR THE
MOMENT THERE IS ONLY ONE. WHEN 20 BLACK MEN AND WOMEN WERE ELECTED
LAST NOVEMBER TO THE GEORGIA HOSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, WE WERE
ELATED--UNTIL WE CHECKED THE RECORD AND DISCOVERED THAT THERE WERE
26 BLACKS IN THE GEORGIA HOUES IN THE 1870'S. THIRTEEN BLACKS IN
THE SOUTH CAROLINA HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES TODAY ARE A VAST
IMPROVEMENT OVER NONE IN 1969. BUT DURING RECONSTRUCTION, BLACKS
HELD 84 SEATS IN TEH SOUTH CAROLINA LEGISLATURE--A CLEAR MAJORITY--
NOT TO MENTION THE POSITIONS BLACKS HELD AS LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR,
SECRETARY OF STATE, STATE TREASURER, ASSOCIATE JUSTICE OF THE STATE
SUPREME COURT, AND OTHERS. SOUTH CAROLINA ALSO SPENT EIGHT BLACKS
TO CONGRESS DURING THAT PERIOD. SO, YOU SEE, IN MANY RESPECTS WE
ARE STRUGGLING TODAY TO CATCH UP WITH OUR POLITICAL PAST.

THROUGH ALL THIS STRUGGLE, IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO OVER-
EMPHASIZE THE POWER OF MEDIA. IT IS THE CENTRAL NERVE OF THE
NATION. IT INFLUENCES THE WAY WE LOOK AT THE WORLD. MORE IMPORTANTLY,
IT INFLUENCES THE WAY WE LOOK AT OURSELVES. ITS IMPACT IS FELT ON
VIRTUALLY EVERY ASPECT OF AMERICAN LIFE--THE WAY WE RELATE TO EACH
OTHER, THE WAY WE EDUCATE OUR CHILDREN, OUR RELATIONSHIP TO OUR

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