The Black mega-preacher
T.D. Jakes is perturbed, feeling let down by President
Bush, by Bush's father, the former President, and
former President Bill Clinton. Bishop Jakes and
other clergy had been promised that $20 million
in privately-raised Katrina aid would be distributed
through their faith-based institutions. George W.
Bush himself chose Jakes as a co-chairman of the
group that would distribute the money, part of $110
million raised by Bush's father and Bill Clinton.
That was right after the hurricane hit. Now, six
months later, these Black preachers haven't gotten
a dime. Bishop Jakes, who flirts endlessly with
the Republicans, says he is annoyed, frustrated,
and angry - his way of saying, "Show me the
To put this situation
in context, we must go back in history, to over
a century ago, when Booker T. Washington made his
famous compromise with white and corporate power.
Washington infuriated Blacks who were trying to
resist the growth of Jim Crow and lynch law rule.
Rather than fight for the political rights of Black
people, Booker T. promised to drop Black political
demands - that is, demands for democracy in the
South. In return, Booker T. and his minions would
become the beneficiaries of corporate philanthropy,
which they could distribute as they saw fit, to
Blacks who were willing to cease demanding their
democratic rights. Booker T. Washington's deal with
the devil promised to elevate Blacks economically,
if they would stop agitating for social and political
However, there was a problem, as Harvard
University's Dr. Martin Kilson brilliantly pointed
out in the March 2 issue of The Black Commentator.
Booker T. Washington's compromising model could
only work if the corporate millionaires he cultivated
were sincere about uplifting millions of Black people
of poverty. And they were not. The rich whites he
allied himself with were glad to fund Booker T.
Washington's Tuskegee political machine, and to
elevate him to the status of national Black political
leader. But they had no intention of freeing Black
people as a group from grinding poverty. Booker
T's rich white friends reneged on the deal, and
as a result, there arose a more militant Black activism
that demanded full citizenship. This is the model
that carried us to the 1950s and '60s Civil Rights
Movement - and which should have buried Booker T.-type
compromises once and for all.
But George Bush's crowd has attempted
to resurrect the Booker T. model, with the assistance
of preachers like T.D. Jakes. And, like his rich
white predecessors, Bush will also renege on his
commitments to those Blacks who are so happy to
kiss up to him. T.D. Jakes has not gotten his $20
million Katrina check, because the corporate rulers
have no intention of allowing Blacks from New Orleans
to regroup and return. That will only happen as
a result of the most intense political confrontation
with the powers-that-be - a struggle that T.D. Jakes
and his ilk, like Booker T. Washington, will never
undertake. For Radio BC, I'm Glen Ford.