In the work, Black Power, by Carmichael and Hamilton, the authors labored to make the distinction between colonial forms of politics, which Blacks had both in Africa and America, and modern forms of politics that fostered self determination. The point is clear:

"The point is obvious: black people must lead and in their own organizations. Only black people can convey the revolutionary idea -- and it is a revolutionary idea-- that black people are able to do things for themselves. Only they can help create in the community an aroused and continuing black consciousness that will provide the basis for political strength..... They must achieve self-identity and self-determination in order to have their daily needs met."17

This analysis then proceeds to use Lowndnes County Alabama as an example where civil rights activists were working and where the achievement of voting rights, with which Blacks could be elected to office, would make possible the leadership of Blacks to solve daily problems.

     If this objective might be perceived to be that of a so-called "militant" or "radical" perspective, then perhaps the view of the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. might suffice to suggest its normality. As early as May of 1957, he addressed this issue in the following terms:

"Give us the ballot and we will no longer have to worry the federal government about our basic rights.

Give us the ballot and we will no longer plead to the federal government for passage of an antilynching law; we will by the power of our vote, write the law on the statute books of the southern states and bring an end to the dastardly acts of the hooded perpetrators of violence.


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November 1999