function of people who are advertisers that call themselves
reporters. Oh, for my members and friends of the press, my
self-appointed white critics, I was reading Mr. Bernard Shaw two
days ago, and I came across a very important quote which I think is
most apropos for you. He says, "All criticism is a[n]
autobiography." Dig yourself. Okay.
The philosophers Camus and Sartre raise the question whether or not
a man can condemn himself. The black existentialist philosopher who
is pragmatic, Frantz Fanon, answered the question. He said that man
could not. Camus and Sartre was not. We in SNCC tend to agree with
Camus and Sartre, that a man cannot condemn himself.Ļ Were he to
condemn himself, he would then have to inflict punishment upon
himself. An example would be the Nazis. Any prisoner who -- any of
the Nazi prisoners who admitted, after he was caught and
incarcerated, that he committed crimes, that he killed all the many
people that he killed, he committed suicide. The only ones who were
able to stay alive were the ones who never admitted that they
committed a crimes [sic] against people -- that is, the ones who
rationalized that Jews were not human beings and deserved to be
killed, or that they were only following orders.
On a more immediate scene, the officials and the population -- the
white population -- in Neshoba County, Mississippi -- thatís where
Philadelphia is -- could not -- could not condemn [Sheriff] Rainey,
his deputies, and the other fourteen men that killed three human
beings. They could not because they elected Mr. Rainey to do
precisely what he did; and that for them to condemn him will be for
them to condemn themselves.
In a much larger view, SNCC says that white America cannot condemn
herself. And since we are liberal, we have done it: You stand
condemned. Now, a number of things that arises from that answer of
how do you condemn yourselves. Seems to me that the institutions
that function in this country are clearly racist, and that they're
built upon racism. And the question, then, is how can black people
inside of this country move? And then how can white people who say
theyíre not a part of those institutions begin to move? And how then
do we begin to clear away the obstacles that we have in this
society, that make us live like human beings? How can we begin to
build institutions that will allow people to relate with each other
as human beings? This country has never done that, especially around
the country of white or black.
Now, several people have been upset because weíve said that
integration was irrelevant when initiated by blacks, and that in
fact it was a subterfuge, an insidious subterfuge, for the
maintenance of white supremacy. Now we maintain that in the past six
years or so, this country has been feeding us a "thalidomide drug of
integration," and that some negroes have been walking down a dream
street talking about sitting next to white people; and that that
does not begin to solve the problem; that when we went to
Mississippi we did not go to sit next to Ross Barnett≤; we did not
go to sit next to Jim Clark≥; we went to get them out of our way;
and that people ought to understand that; that we were never
fighting for the right to integrate, we were fighting against white
Now, then, in order to understand white supremacy we must dismiss
the fallacious notion that white people can give anybody their
freedom. No man can give anybody his freedom. A man is born free.
You may enslave a man after he is born free, and that is in fact
what this country does. It enslaves black people after theyíre born,
so that the only acts that white people can do is to stop denying
black people their freedom; that is, they must stop denying freedom.
They never give it to anyone.
Now we want to take that to its logical extension, so that we could
understand, then, what its relevancy would be in terms of new civil
rights bills. I maintain that every civil rights bill in this
country was passed for white people, not for black people. For
example, I am black. I know that. I also know that while I am black
I am a human being, and therefore I have the right to go into any
public place. White people didn't know that. Every time I tried to
go into a place they stopped me. So some boys had to write a bill to
tell that white man, "Heís a human being; donít stop him." That bill
was for that white man, not for me. I knew it all the time. I knew
it all the time.
I knew that I could vote and that that wasnít a privilege; it was my
right. Every time I tried I was shot, killed or jailed, beaten or
economically deprived. So somebody had to write a bill for white
people to tell them, "When a black man comes to vote, donít bother
him." That bill, again, was for white people, not for black people;
so that when you talk about open occupancy, I know I can live
anyplace I want to live. It is white people across this country who
are incapable of allowing me to live where I want to live. You need
a civil rights bill, not me. I know I can live where I want to live.
So that the failures to pass a civil rights bill isnít because of
Black Power, isn't because of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating
Committee; it's not because of the rebellions that are occurring in
the major cities. It is incapability of whites to deal with their
own problems inside their own communities. That is the problem of
the failure of the civil rights bill.
And so in a larger sense we must then ask, How is it that black
people move? And what do we do? But the question in a greater sense
is, How can white people who are the majority -- and who are
responsible for making democracy work -- make it work? They have
miserably failed to this point. They have never made democracy work,
be it inside the United States, Vietnam, South Africa, Philippines,
South America, Puerto Rico. Wherever American has been, she has not
been able to make democracy work; so that in a larger sense, we not
only condemn the country for what it's done internally, but we must
condemn it for what it does externally. We see this country trying
to rule the world, and someone must stand up and start articulating
that this country is not God, and cannot rule the world.
Now, then, before we move on we ought to develop the white supremacy
attitudes that were either conscious or subconscious thought and how
they run rampant through the society today. For example, the
missionaries were sent to Africa. They went with the attitude that
blacks were automatically inferior. As a matter of fact, the first
act the missionaries did, you know, when they got to Africa was to
make us cover up our bodies, because they said it got them excited.
We couldnít go bare-breasted any more because they got excited.
Now when the missionaries came to civilize us because we were
uncivilized, educate us because we were uneducated, and give us some
-- some literate studies because we were illiterate, they charged a
price. The missionaries came with the Bible, and we had the land.
When they left, they had the land, and we still have the Bible. And
that has been the rationalization for Western civilization as it
moves across the world and stealing and plundering and raping
everybody in its path. Their one rationalization is that the rest of
the world is uncivilized and they are in fact civilized. And they
And that runs on today, you see, because what we have today is we
have what we call "modern-day Peace Corps missionaries," and they
come into our ghettos and they Head Start, Upward Lift, Bootstrap,
and Upward Bound us into white society, 'cause they donít want to
face the real problem which is a man is poor for one reason and one
reason only: 'cause he does not have money -- period. If you want to
get rid of poverty, you give people money -- period.
And you ought not to tell me about people who donít work, and you
canít give people money without working, 'cause if that were true,
youíd have to start stopping Rockefeller, Bobby Kennedy, Lyndon
Baines Johnson, Lady Bird Johnson, the whole of Standard Oil, the
Gulf Corp, all of them, including probably a large number of the
Board of Trustees of this university. So the question, then,
clearly, is not whether or not one can work; itís Who has power? Who
has power to make his or her acts legitimate? That is all. And that
this country, that power is invested in the hands of white people,
and they make their acts legitimate. It is now, therefore, for black
people to make our acts legitimate.
Now we are now engaged in a psychological struggle in this country,
and that is whether or not black people will have the right to use
the words they want to use without white people giving their
sanction to it; and that we maintain, whether they like it or not,
we gonna use the word "Black Power" -- and let them address
themselves to that; but that we are not going to wait for white
people to sanction Black Power. Weíre tired waiting; every time
black people move in this country, theyíre forced to defend their
position before they move. Itís time that the people who are
supposed to be defending their position do that. That's white
people. They ought to start defending themselves as to why they have
oppressed and exploited us.
Now it is clear that when this country started to move in terms of
slavery, the reason for a man being picked as a slave was one reason
-- because of the color of his skin. If one was black one was
automatically inferior, inhuman, and therefore fit for slavery; so
that the question of whether or not we are individually suppressed
is nonsensical, and itís a downright lie. We are oppressed as a
group because we are black, not because we are lazy, not because
we're apathetic, not because weíre stupid, not because we smell, not
because we eat watermelon and have good rhythm. We are oppressed
because we are black.
And in order to get out of that oppression one must wield the group
power that one has, not the individual power which this country then
sets the criteria under which a man may come into it. That is what
is called in this country as integration: "You do what I tell you to
do and then weíll let you sit at the table with us." And that we are
saying that we have to be opposed to that. We must now set up
criteria and that if there's going to be any integration, it's going
to be a two-way thing. If you believe in integration, you can come
live in Watts. You can send your children to the ghetto schools.
Letís talk about that. If you believe in integration, then weíre
going to start adopting us some white people to live in our
So it is clear that the question is not one of integration or
segregation. Integration is a man's ability to want to move in there
by himself. If someone wants to live in a white neighborhood and he
is black, that is his choice. It should be his rights. It is not
because white people will not allow him. So vice versa: If a black
man wants to live in the slums, that should be his right. Black
people will let him. That is the difference. And it's a difference
on which this country makes a number of logical mistakes when they
begin to try to criticize the program articulated by SNCC.
Now we maintain that we cannot be afford to be concerned about 6
percent of the children in this country, black children, who you
allow to come into white schools. We have 94 percent who still live
in shacks. We are going to be concerned about those 94 percent. You
ought to be concerned about them too. The question is, Are we
willing to be concerned about those 94 percent? Are we willing to be
concerned about the black people who will never get to Berkeley, who
will never get to Harvard, and cannot get an education, so youíll
never get a chance to rub shoulders with them and say, "Well, heís
almost as good as we are; heís not like the others"? The question
is, How can white society begin to move to see black people as human
beings? I am black, therefore I am; not that I am black and I must
go to college to prove myself. I am black, therefore I am. And donít
deprive me of anything and say to me that you must go to college
before you gain access to X, Y, and Z. It is only a rationalization
for one's oppression.
The -- The political parties in this country do not meet the needs
of people on a day-to-day basis. The question is, How can we build
new political institutions that will become the political
expressions of people on a day-to-day basis? The question is, How
can you build political institutions that will begin to meet the
needs of Oakland, California? And the needs of Oakland, California,
is not 1,000 policemen with submachine guns. They don't need that.
They need that least of all. The question is, How can we build
institutions where those people can begin to function on a
day-to-day basis, where they can get decent jobs, where they can get
decent houses, and where they can begin to participate in the policy
and major decisions that affect their lives? Thatís what they need,
not Gestapo troops, because this is not 1942, and if you play like
Nazis, we playing back with you this time around. Get hip to that.
The question then is, How can white people move to start making the
major institutions that they have in this country function the way
it is supposed to function? That is the real question. And can white
people move inside their own community and start tearing down racism
where in fact it does exist? Where it exists. It is you who live in
Cicero and stop us from living there. It is white people who stop us
from moving into Grenada. It is white people who make sure that we
live in the ghettos of this country. it is white institutions that
do that. They must change. In order -- In order for America to
really live on a basic principle of human relationships, a new
society must be born. Racism must die, and the economic exploitation
of this country of non-white peoples around the world must also die
-- must also die.
Now there are several programs that we have in the South, most in
poor white communities. We're trying to organize poor whites on a
base where they can begin to move around the question of economic
exploitation and political disfranchisement. We know -- we've heard
the theory several times -- but few people are willing to go into
there. The question is, Can the white activist not try to be a Pepsi
generation who comes alive in the black community, but can he be a
man whoís willing to move into the white community and start
organizing where the organization is needed? Can he do that? The
question is, Can the white society or the white activist
disassociate himself with two clowns who waste time parrying with
each other rather than talking about the problems that are facing
people in this state? Can you dissociate yourself with those clowns
and start to build new institutions that will eliminate all idiots
And the question is, If we are going to do that when and where do we
start, and how do we start? We maintain that we must start doing
that inside the white community. Our own personal position
politically is that we don't think the Democratic Party represents
the needs of black people. We know it don't. And that if, in fact,
white people really believe that, the question is, if theyíre going
to move inside that structure, how are they going to organize around
a concept of whiteness based on true brotherhood and based on
stopping exploitation, economic exploitation, so that there will be
a coalition base for black people to hook up with? You cannot form a
coalition based on national sentiment. That is not a coalition. If
you need a coalition to redress itself to real changes in this
country, white people must start building those institutions inside
the white community. And that is the real question, I think, facing
the white activists today. Can they, in fact, begin to move into and
tear down the institutions which have put us all in a trick bag that
weíve been into for the last hundred years?
I don't think that we should follow what many people say that we
should fight to be leaders of tomorrow. Frederick Douglass said that
the youth should fight to be leaders today. And God knows we need to
be leaders today, 'cause the men who run this country are sick, are
sick. So that can we on a larger sense begin now, today, to start
building those institutions and to fight to articulate our position,
to fight to be able to control our universities -- We need to be
able to do that -- and to fight to control the basic institutions
which perpetuate racism by destroying them and building new ones?
Thatís the real question that face us today, and it is a dilemma
because most of us do not know how to work, and that the excuse that
most white activists find is to run into the black community.
Now we maintain that we cannot have white people working in the
black community, and we mean it on a psychological ground. The fact
is that all black people often question whether or not they are
equal to whites, because every time they start to do something,
white people are around showing them how to do it. If we are going
to eliminate that for the generation that comes after us, then black
people must be seen in positions of power, doing and articulating
for themselves, for themselves.
That is not to say that one is a reverse racist; it is to say that
one is moving in a healthy ground; it is to say what the philosopher
Sartre says: One is becoming an "antiracist racist." And this
country canít understand that. Maybe it's because it's all caught up
in racism. But I think what you have in SNCC is an anti-racist
racism. We are against racists. Now if everybody who is white see
themself [sic] as a racist and then see us against him, they're
speaking from their own guilt position, not ours, not ours.
Now then, the question is, How can we move to begin to change what's
going on in this country. I maintain, as we have in SNCC, that the
war in Vietnam is an illegal and immoral war. And the question is,
What can we do to stop that war? What can we do to stop the people
who, in the name of our country, are killing babies, women, and
children? What can we do to stop that? And I maintain that we do not
have the power in our hands to change that institution, to begin to
recreate it, so that they learn to leave the Vietnamese people
alone, and that the only power we have is the power to say, "Hell
no!" to the draft.
We have to say -- We have to say to ourselves that there is a higher
law than the law of a racist named McNamara. There is a higher law
than the law of a fool named Rusk. And there's a higher law than the
law of a buffoon named Johnson. Itís the law of each of us. It's the
law of each of us. It is the law of each of us saying that we will
not allow them to make us hired killers. We will stand pat. We will
not kill anybody that they say kill. And if we decide to kill, we're
going to decide who we going to kill. And this country will only be
able to stop the war in Vietnam when the young men who are made to
fight it begin to say, "Hell, no, we ainít going."
Now then, there's a failure because the Peace Movement has been
unable to get off the college campuses where everybody has a 2S and
not going to get drafted anyway. And the question is, How can you
move out of that into the white ghettos of this country and begin to
articulate a position for those white students who do not want to
go. We cannot do that. It is something -- sometimes ironic that many
of the peace groups have beginning to call us violent and say they
can no longer support us, and we are in fact the most militant
organization [for] peace or civil rights or human rights against the
war in Vietnam in this country today. There isnít one organization
that has begun to meet our stance on the war in Vietnam, 'cause we
not only say we are against the war in Vietnam; we are against the
draft. We are against the draft. No man has the right to take a man
for two years and train him to be a killer. A man should decide what
he wants to do with his life.
So the question then is it becomes crystal clear for black people
because we can easily say that anyone fighting in the war in Vietnam
is nothing but a black mercenary, and that's all he is. Any time a
black man leaves the country where he canít vote to supposedly
deliver the vote for somebody else, heís a black mercenary. Any time
a -- Any time a black man leaves this country, gets shot in Vietnam
on foreign ground, and returns home and you wonít give him a burial
in his own homeland, heís a black mercenary, a black mercenary.
And that even if I were to believe the lies of Johnson, if I were to
believe his lies that we're fighting to give democracy to the people
in Vietnam, as a black man living in this country I wouldnít fight
to give this to anybody. I wouldn't give it to anybody. So that we
have to use our bodies and our minds in the only way that we see
fit. We must begin like the philosopher Camus to come alive by
saying "No!" That is the only act in which we begin to come alive,
and we have to say "No!" to many, many things in this country.
This country is a nation of thieves. It has stole everything it has,
beginning with black people, beginning with black people. And that
the question is, How can we move to start changing this country from
what it is -- a nation of thieves. This country cannot justify any
longer its existence. We have become the policeman of the world. The
marines are at our disposal to always bring democracy, and if the
Vietnamese donít want democracy, well dammit, "Weíll just wipe them
the hell out, 'cause they donít deserve to live if they wonít have
our way of life."
There is then in a larger sense, What do you do on your university
campus? Do you raise questions about the hundred black students who
were kicked off campus a couple of weeks ago? Eight hundred? Eight
hundred? And how does that question begin to move? Do you begin to
relate to people outside of the ivory tower and university wall? Do
you think youíre capable of building those human relationships, as
the country now stands? You're fooling yourself. It is impossible
for white and black people to talk about building a relationship
based on humanity when the country is the way it is, when the
institutions are clearly against us.
We have taken all the myths of this country and we've found them to
be nothing but downright lies. This country told us that if we
worked hard we would succeed, and if that were true we would own
this country lock, stock, and barrel -- lock, stock, and barrel --
lock, stock, and barrel. It is we who have picked the cotton for
nothing. It is we who are the maids in the kitchens of liberal white
people. It is we who are the janitors, the porters, the elevator
men; we who sweep up your college floors. Yes, it is we who are the
hardest workers and the lowest paid, and the lowest paid.
And that it is nonsensical for people to start talking about human
relationships until they're willing to build new institutions. Black
people are economically insecure. White liberals are economically
secure. Can you begin to build an economic coalition? Are the
liberals willing to share their salaries with the economically
insecure black people they so much love? Then if youíre not, are you
willing to start building new institutions that will provide
economic security for black people? Thatís the question we want to
deal with. That's the question we want to deal with.
We have to seriously examine the histories that we have been told.
But we have something more to do than that. American students are
perhaps the most politically unsophisticated students in the world,
in the world, in the world. Across every country in this world,
while we were growing up, students were leading the major
revolutions of their countries. We have not been able to do that.
They have been politically aware of their existence. In South
America our neighbors down below the border have one every 24 hours
just to remind us that they're politically aware.
And we have been unable to grasp it because weíve always moved in
the field of morality and love while people have been politically
jiving with our lives. And the question is, How do we now move
politically and stop trying to move morally? You can't move morally
against a man like Brown and Reagan. You've got to move politically
to put them out of business. You've got to move politically.
You canít move morally against Lyndon Baines Johnson because he is
an immoral man. He doesnít know what itís all about. So youíve got
to move politically. You've got to move politically. And that we
have to begin to develop a political sophistication -- which is not
to be a parrot: "The two-party system is the best party in the
world." There is a difference between being a parrot and being
We have to raise questions about whether or not we do need new types
of political institutions in this country, and we in SNCC maintain
that we need them now. We need new political institutions in this
country. Any time -- Any time Lyndon Baines Johnson can head a Party
which has in it Bobby Kennedy, Wayne Morse, Eastland, Wallace, and
all those other supposed-to-be-liberal cats, thereís something wrong
with that Party. Theyíre moving politically, not morally. And that
if that party refuses to seat black people from Mississippi and goes
ahead and seats racists like Eastland and his clique, it is clear to
me that theyíre moving politically, and that one cannot begin to
talk morality to people like that.
We must begin to think politically and see if we can have the power
to impose and keep the moral values that we hold high. We must
question the values of this society, and I maintain that black
people are the best people to do that because we have been excluded
from that society. And the question is, we ought to think whether or
not we want to become a part of that society. That's what we want to
And that that is precisely what it seems to me that the Student
Nonviolent Coordinating Committee is doing. We are raising questions
about this country. I do not want to be a part of the American pie.
The American pie means raping South Africa, beating Vietnam, beating
South America, raping the Philippines, raping every country youíve
been in. I donít want any of your blood money. I donít want it --
don't want to be part of that system. And the question is, How do we
raise those questions? How do we ....How do we begin to raise them?
We have grown up and we are the generation that has found this
country to be a world power, that has found this country to be the
wealthiest country in the world. We must question how she got her
wealth? That's what we're questioning, and whether or not we want
this country to continue being the wealthiest country in the world
at the price of raping every -- everybody else across the world.
That's what we must begin to question. And that because black people
are saying we do not now want to become a part of you, we are called
reverse racists. Ainít that a gas?
Now, then, we want to touch on nonviolence because we see that again
as the failure of white society to make nonviolence work. I was
always surprised at Quakers who came to Alabama and counseled me to
be nonviolent, but didnít have the guts to start talking to James
Clark to be nonviolent. That is where nonviolence needs to be
preached -- to Jim Clark, not to black people. They have already
been nonviolent too many years. The question is, Can white people
conduct their nonviolent schools in Cicero where they belong to be
conducted, not among black people in Mississippi. Can they conduct
it among the white people in Grenada?
Six-foot-two men who kick little black children -- can you conduct
nonviolent schools there? That is the question that we must raise,
not that you conduct nonviolence among black people. Can you name me
one black man today who's killed anybody white and is still alive?
Even after rebellion, when some black brothers throw some bricks and
bottles, ten thousand of them has to pay the crime, 'cause when the
white policeman comes in, anybody whoís black is arrested, "'cause
we all look alike."
So that we have to raise those questions. We, the youth of this
country, must begin to raise those questions. And we must begin to
move to build new institutions that's going to speak to the needs of
people who need it. We are going to have to speak to change the
foreign policy of this country. One of the problems with the peace
movement is that it's just too caught up in Vietnam, and that if we
pulled out the troops from Vietnam this week, next week youíd have
to get another peace movement for Santo Domingo. And the question
is, How do you begin to articulate the need to change the foreign
policy of this country -- a policy that is decided upon race, a
policy on which decisions are made upon getting economic wealth at
any price, at any price.
Now we articulate that we therefore have to hook up with black
people around the world; and that that hookup is not only
psychological, but becomes very real. If South America today were to
rebel, and black people were to shoot the hell out of all the white
people there -- as they should, as they should -- then Standard Oil
would crumble tomorrow. If South Africa were to go today, Chase
Manhattan Bank would crumble tomorrow. If Zimbabwe, which is called
Rhodesia by white people, were to go tomorrow, General Electric
would cave in on the East Coast. The question is, How do we stop
those institutions that are so willing to fight against "Communist
aggression" but closes their eyes to racist oppression? That is the
question that you raise. Can this country do that?
Now, many people talk about pulling out of Vietnam. What will
happen? If we pull out of Vietnam, there will be one less aggressor
in there -- we won't be there, we won't be there. And so the
question is, How do we articulate those positions? And we cannot
begin to articulate them from the same assumptions that the people
in the country speak, 'cause they speak from different assumptions
than I assume what the youth in this country are talking about.
That we're not talking about a policy or aid or sending Peace Corps
people in to teach people how to read and write and build houses
while we steal their raw materials from them. Is that what we're
talking about? 'Cause thatís all we do. What underdeveloped
countries needs -- information on how to become industrialized, so
they can keep their raw materials where they have it, produce them
and sell it to this country for the price itís supposed to pay; not
that we produce it and sell it back to them for a profit and keep
sending our modern day missionaries in, calling them the sons of
Kennedy. And that if the youth are going to participate in that
program, how do you raise those questions where you begin to control
that Peace Corps program? How do you begin to raise them?
How do we raise the questions of poverty? The assumptions of this
country is that if someone is poor, they are poor because of their
own individual blight, or they werenít born on the right side of
town; they had too many children; they went in the army too early;
or their father was a drunk, or they didnít care about school, or
they made a mistake. Thatís a lot of nonsense. Poverty is well
calculated in this country. It is well calculated, and the reason
why the poverty program wonít work is because the calculators of
poverty are administering it. That's why it won't work.
So how can we, as the youth in the country, move to start tearing
those things down? We must move into the white community. We are in
the black community. We have developed a movement in the black
community. The challenge is that the white activist has failed
miserably to develop the movement inside of his community. And the
question is, Can we find white people who are going to have the
courage to go into white communities and start organizing them? Can
we find them? Are they here and are they willing to do that? Those
are the questions that we must raise for the white activist.
And we're never going to get caught up in questions about power.
This country knows what power is. It knows it very well. And it
knows what Black Power is 'cause it deprived black people of it for
400 years. So it knows what Black Power is. That the question of,
Why do black people -- Why do white people in this country associate
Black Power with violence? And the question is because of their own
inability to deal with "blackness." If we had said "Negro power"
nobody would get scared. Everybody would support it. Or if we said
power for colored people, everybodyíd be for that, but it is the
word "black" -- it is the word "black" that bothers people in this
country, and thatís their problem, not mine -- they're problem,
Now there's one modern day lie that we want to attack and then move
on very quickly and that is the lie that says anything all black is
bad. Now, youíre all a college university crowd. Youíve taken your
basic logic course. You know about a major premise and minor
premise. So people have been telling me anything all black is bad.
Letís make that our major premise.
Major premise: Anything all black is bad.
Minor premise or particular premise: I am all black.
Iím never going to be put in that trick bag; I am all black and Iím
all good, dig it. Anything all black is not necessarily bad.
Anything all black is only bad when you use force to keep whites
out. Now thatís what white people have done in this country, and
theyíre projecting their same fears and guilt on us, and we wonít
have it, we won't have it. Let them handle their own fears and their
own guilt. Let them find their own psychologists. We refuse to be
the therapy for white society any longer. We have gone mad trying to
do it. We have gone stark raving mad trying to do it.
I look at Dr. King on television every single day, and I say to
myself: "Now there is a man whoís desperately needed in this
country. There is a man full of love. There is a man full of mercy.
There is a man full of compassion." But every time I see Lyndon on
television, I said, "Martin, baby, you got a long way to go."
So that the question stands as to what we are willing to do, how we
are willing to say "No" to withdraw from that system and begin
within our community to start to function and to build new
institutions that will speak to our needs. In Lowndes County, we
developed something called the Lowndes County Freedom Organization.
It is a political party. The Alabama law says that if you have a
Party you must have an emblem. We chose for the emblem a black
panther, a beautiful black animal which symbolizes the strength and
dignity of black people, an animal that never strikes back until
he's back so far into the wall, he's got nothing to do but spring
out. Yeah. And when he springs he does not stop.
Now there is a Party in Alabama called the Alabama Democratic Party.
It is all white. It has as its emblem a white rooster and the words
"white supremacy" for the write. Now the gentlemen of the Press,
because they're advertisers, and because most of them are white, and
because they're produced by that white institution, never called the
Lowndes County Freedom Organization by its name, but rather they
call it the Black Panther Party. Our question is, Why don't they
call the Alabama Democratic Party the "White Cock Party"? (It's fair
to us.....) It is clear to me that that just points out America's
problem with sex and color, not our problem, not our problem. And it
is now white America that is going to deal with those problems of
sex and color.
If we were to be real and to be honest, we would have to admit -- we
would have to admit that most people in this country see things
black and white. We have to do that. All of us do. We live in a
country thatís geared that way. White people would have to admit
that they are afraid to go into a black ghetto at night. They are
afraid. That's a fact. They're afraid because theyíd be "beat up,"
"lynched," "looted," "cut up," etcetera, etcetera. It happens to
black people inside the ghetto every day, incidentally, and white
people are afraid of that. So you get a man to do it for you -- a
policeman. And now you figure his mentality, when he's afraid of
black people. The first time a black man jumps, that white man going
to shoot him. He's going to shoot him. So police brutality is going
to exist on that level because of the incapability of that white man
to see black people come together and to live in the conditions.
This country is too hypocritical and that we cannot adjust ourselves
to its hypocrisy.
The only time I hear people talk about nonviolence is when black
people move to defend themselves against white people. Black people
cut themselves every night in the ghetto -- Don't anybody talk about
nonviolence. Lyndon Baines Johnson is busy bombing the hell of out
Vietnam -- Don't nobody talk about nonviolence. White people beat up
black people every day -- Don't nobody talk about nonviolence. But
as soon as black people start to move, the double standard comes
You canít defend yourself. That's what you're saying, 'cause you
show me a man who -- who would advocate aggressive violence that
would be able to live in this country. Show him to me. The double
standards again come into itself. Isnít it ludicrous and
hypocritical for the political chameleon who calls himself a Vice
President in this country to -- to stand up before this country and
say, "Looting never got anybody anywhere"? Isn't it hypocritical for
Lyndon to talk about looting, that you canít accomplish anything by
looting and you must accomplish it by the legal ways? What does he
know about legality? Ask Ho Chi Minh, he'll tell you.
So that in conclusion we want to say that number one, it is clear to
me that we have to wage a psychological battle on the right for
black people to define their own terms, define themselves as they
see fit, and organize themselves as they see it. Now the question
is, How is the white community going to begin to allow for that
organizing, because once they start to do that, they will also allow
for the organizing that they want to do inside their community. It
doesnít make a difference, 'cause weíre going to organize our way
anyway. We're going to do it. The question is, How are we going to
facilitate those matters, whether itís going to be done with a
thousand policemen with submachine guns, or whether or not itís
going to be done in a context where it is allowed to be done by
white people warding off those policemen. That is the question.
And the question is, How are white people who call themselves
activists ready to start move into the white communities on two
counts: on building new political institutions to destroy the old
ones that we have? And to move around the concept of white youth
refusing to go into the army? So that we can start, then, to build a
new world. It is ironic to talk about civilization in this country.
This country is uncivilized. It needs to be civilized. It needs to
And that we must begin to raise those questions of civilization:
What it is? And who do it? And so we must urge you to fight now to
be the leaders of today, not tomorrow. We've got to be the leaders
of today. This country -- This country is a nation of thieves. It
stands on the brink of becoming a nation of murderers. We must stop
it. We must stop it. We must stop it. We must stop it.
And then, therefore, in a larger sense there's the question of black
people. We are on the move for our liberation. We have been tired of
trying to prove things to white people. We are tired of trying to
explain to white people that weíre not going to hurt them. We are
concerned with getting the things we want, the things that we have
to have to be able to function. The question is, Can white people
allow for that in this country? The question is, Will white people
overcome their racism and allow for that to happen in this country?
If that does not happen, brothers and sisters, we have no choice but
to say very clearly, "Move over, or weíre going to move on over
Stokely Carmichael speech on Black Power