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Est. April 5, 2002
October 29, 2015 - Issue 627

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 The Need
For a Program
Of Black Nationalism

"We must control and protect what we
create - that is we must control all
aspects of our culture. Our songs, dances,
writings, and art must be protected from
hostile and thieving aliens."

Given the conditions of Black people in America, there is an urgent need to revitalize a program of Black Nationalism.

Throughout the history of the Black Movement in America there has always been a stream of Black leadership that has advocated a strategy of self-determination as the foundation for organizing and achieving freedom, justice, liberation, independence and power.

This stream of the Black Movement in America is called Black Nationalism. Black Nationalism is a tradition that emerged in the early nineteenth-century among those African leaders who understood the need for African people in America to develop a national entity as the only solution for African people in America, Latin America or the Caribbean.

These nineteenth-century Black Nationalist leaders such as Denmark Vesey, Nat Turner, David Walker, Henry Highland Garnet, James T. Holly, Martin Delany, Pap Singleton, Edwin McCabe, and Henry McNeal Turner understood that African people in America were a “nation within a nation” and should organize to collectively struggle for the liberation of African people in this country and throughout the world.

Marcus Garvey, Elijah Muhammad, and Malcolm X best represented the continuation of the Black Nationalist tradition in the twentieth-century.

Self-Determination simply means that African people in America should determine our own destiny without the interference of others. And Black Nationalism seeks to bring about the complete independence of African people in this country with the aim of making us consciously involved in controlling our own communities.

Martin Delany exclaimed in his profound book, The Condition, Elevation Emigration and Destiny of the Colored People of the United States, written in 1852, that “We are a nation within a nation - as the Poles in Russia, the Hungarians in Austria, the Welsh, Irish, and Scottish in the British dominions.”

Speaking in this same vain, the great AME Bishop Henry McNeal Turner said in 1883 that “What we need is an outlet, a theater of manhood and [womanhood] actively established somewhere for our men and women, a place that the world will respect and whose glory and influence will tell upon the destinies of the race from pole to pole; our children's children can rest securely under its aegis, whether in Africa, Europe, Asia, America or upon the high seas.”

In a more a contemporary context, Harold Cruse explained in his controversial book, The Crisis of the Negro Intellectual (1967) that “There is, however, a broad strain of Negro social opinion in America that is strictly cogent and cuts through class lines. This social outlook cannot be and never has been encompassed by the program of an organization such as the NAACP, whose implied definition of racial integration offers no answers to the questions that agitate the collective minds of those Negroes who reject such a philosophy.”

Further, Cruse states - “In other words, there is a definite strain of thought within the Negro group that encompasses all the ingredients of nationality and strikes few sympathetic chords with the (intergration program) of the NAACP.”

What is needed today, more than ever, to aid in our quest for independence, liberation, freedom and justice is a total return in our organizing and mobilizing efforts toward a program of Black Nationalism.

A great Black Nationalist Unity is needed among those who profess to be Black Nationalists. This is urgently needed to save African people in America who appear to be doomed if we fail to wake up!

As Africans in America, we must understand that we can’t rely on the deeds of one individual, nor one organization to solve the problems we face in this country. We must rely on the collective efforts of all our organizations who understand the need to struggle for self-determination and Black Nationalism.

In other words, we need a collective Black Nationalist Program that strives toward 1) economic self-sufficiency; 2) reciprocity and mutual exchange with African people all over the world: 3) cultural unity: 4)and the building of a governance system that will protect the interests of the African World.

In terms of concrete steps to be taken, we must build linkages of cooperation and mutual exchange with African people wherever we are and move toward developing the economic independence which is so vitally needed for the attainment of a free people.

We must control and protect what we create - that is we must control all aspects of our culture. Our songs, dances, writings, and art must be protected from hostile and thieving aliens.

No longer should other races and ethnic groups define who we are and what we should do. We must raise our own questions about our own circumstances and conditions that lead to our own

Ultimately, we need a world union of African people dedicated and committed to the protection and development of the African World Order.

Again, Martin Delany explained - “But we have been, by our oppressors, despoiled of our purity, and corrupted in our native characteristics, so that we have inherited their vices, and but few of their virtues, leaving us in character, really a broken people.”

We must return to a program of self-determination and Black Nationalism if we are ever going to break the chains of white supremacy and white domination. This should be clear to all those seeking our true emancipation as a people. Columnist, Conrad W. Worrill, PhD, is the National Chairman Emeritus of the National Black United Front (NBUF).  Contact Dr. Worrill and BC.
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