Black Rage: Historical Study Essay

Black Rage Historical Study Essay

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BLACK RAGE: A HISTORICAL ANALYSIS Outline Thesis Statement: Throughout the history of the United States, as seen through an analysis of African-American literature and rhetoric, black rage has not only existed, but has grown. As the momentum toward equality is clearly evident in the black race’s struggle, the question of where (or when) this rage will subside (if ever) remains unanswered. In examining black rage, four distinct periods of American history should be considered: slavery, Reconstruction and Jim Crow, the Civil Rights Era, and contemporary America. I. Introduction A. Background 1. Throughout African-American history, a presence of “black rage” is identifiable through both African-American literature and rhetoric. 2. This rage has emanated from a state of racial inequality and has gained momentum throughout history. B. The Problem 1. When dealing with the concept of racial equality, the question must be asked: Can two races live together in equality? 2. It has yet to be proved that a state of equality can be obtained in the United States for African Americans. 3. Given the momentum that exists within African-American society to gain more freedom, is a reversal in racial power inevitable? II. Slavery in America: Slavery is the source of black rage. A. Perhaps the earliest voice of black rage is that of David Walker B. Nat Turner’s insurrection solidified white America’s fear of rebellion. C. Perhaps the most militant voice of black rage during slavery is that of Henry Highland Garnett. D. Fredrick Douglass, though a more moderate voice, also demonstrates the rage of his race. III. Reconstruction and Jim Crow: With slavery abolished, equality was still not accomplished, further embittering African Americans and fueling the desire to overcome. A. T. Thomas Fortune explains the plight of the black race during Reconstruction, proclaiming that nothing has been solved ;slavery is gone, but the black man is not free. B. Marcus Garvy stands alone as one who has vehemently sought to channel the rage of his people militantly. C. Langston Hughes epitomizes the plight of the black race in America in his poetry. D. Sterling Brown’s “Strong Men” outlines the black struggle in America, illustrating a momentum of black rage. E. James Weldon Johnson and Ralph J. Bunch justify violent channeling of rage to overcome oppression. F. Claude McKay advocates violence and fighting back. G. W. E. B. Du Bois, though a more moderate black voice, prophesies the coming of an inevitable race conflict in America. IV. The Civil Rights Movement: The Civil Rights movement, perhaps the greatest demonstration of black rage in American history, produces an explosion of rage rhetoric. A. In the struggle for civil rights, the rhetoric of revolution dominates as one major theme of black rage. B. Accompanying revolutionary thought, black rhetoric or rage also strongly advocates the use of violence. C. Black Power, advocating revolution and violence, dominates the forefront of black-rage demonstration. D. One organization that aims to channel black rage militantly beyond the efforts of others is the Black Panther Party. F. The struggle for social power between white and black America was brought to a head during the Civil Rights Era. G. While many during the Civil Rights Movement supported a nationalistic movement with a separate black government, the possibility of black dominance in America, a reversal of racial power, was also voiced. H. Perhaps encapsulating the entire struggle of rage during the Civil Rights Movement are the works of Malcolm X. I. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., also sought to channel black rage to effect change. V. Black Rage in Contemporary America: In contemporary American society, African-American equality has yet to be realized, and rage still exists. A. The battle for civil rights is not over. B.. Black rage is still present. C. Can a state of equality ever be obtained between whites and blacks in America? D. Understanding what it took to gain civil ground in the past, what is it going to take in contemporary America? F. The Los Angeles riots as well as conducted research demonstrate that rage is still present and waiting to act. VI. The Conclusion A. Review of the major issues 1. Slavery is the source of black rage in America. 2. With slavery abolished equality was still not accomplished, further embittering African Americans and fueling the desire to overcome. 3. The Civil Rights movement was perhaps the greatest demonstration of black rage in American history. 4. In contemporary American society, African-American equality has yet to be realized. B. The answer, the solution, the final opinion 1. White American society is unwilling to give up control, and Black American society is unwilling to settle for anything less than total equality. 2. The momentum of rage and desire to overcome inequality will force the issue and produce a reversal of racial power in America. Black Rage: A Historical Analysis Revolution? In America? America was founded and built upon the very principle that it is acceptable for an oppressed people to rise up in rebellion to secure freedom, independence, and self-government. In the Declaration of Independence, America’s most esteemed founding patriarchs exclaimed to King George, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal . . . .” But not black men. The black race has been enslaved, dehumanized, trampled, kept down, suppressed, quieted, and stripped of human rights from the very conception of this glorious country, America. And what was expected in response from this race of oppressed people? Submission and abeyance! How long did the oppressors expect to keep an entire race of men down? Indefinitely! So they thought. The “Negro problem” has plagued white America ever since the framers refused to recognize the black race’s rightful and just claim to human rights and equality. Slavery divided the nation in the bitterest battle ever fought between the shores of the country. The Civil Rights Movement threw the nation into turmoil and riot never before experienced between her borders. No, black people would not quietly submit and accept the unjust conditions imposed upon them. They would not rest as long as they were enslaved and dehumanized. They would not quietly submit to “separate-but-equal” inequality. They would (and they will) overcome. Black rage, coined and defined in the heat of the Civil Rights Movement, has existed throughout the history of America. While rage may be defined as expressed solely in acts of physical violence and fury, rage also indicates a “violence of feeling, desire, or appetite . . . a violent desire or passion” (Webster’s 1187). And this is exactly what constitutes “black rage.” William Grier and Price Cobbs, in their 1968 revolutionary analysis Black Rage, relate the rage experienced by the black community to the intensity of their feelings about the oppression they have experienced. They write, “Observe [that] the amount of rage the oppressed turns on his tormentor is a direct function of the depth of his grief, and consider the intensity of the black man’s grief” (210). [THESIS:] Throughout the history of the United States, as seen through an analysis of African-American literature and rhetoric, black rage has not only existed, but has grown. As the momentum toward equality is clearly evident in the black race’s struggle, the question of where (or when) this rage will subside (if ever) remains unanswered. In examining black rage, four distinct periods of American history should be considered: slavery, Reconstruction and Jim Crow, the Civil Rights Era, and contemporary America. Slavery in America The oppression imposed by the white race upon black humanity in America has not been without consequence. The oppression has caused a state of rage, black rage, within the heart and soul of the black race that has not gone unnoticed nor unanswered. From the beginning of this country, rooted in the bitter guile and dehumanization of the slavery, threat -- reality, rather -- of black resistance, rebellion, and victory has been more than manifest in America. Gabriel Prosser , Denmark Vesey , David Walker, Nat Turner, and Frederick Douglass, as well as many others, have all struck fear in the hearts of whites ;America realized that she would not forever be able to keep the black race subjugated. Rage spoke out. It spoke out through the written word. It spoke out in powerful oratory and condemning proclamation. It spoke out in physical and violent uprising. The inner feeling of rage caused by the grief of oppression transformed itself into physical, violent rage. Yes, black rage, speaking out against the atrocities of oppression and enslavement of a race, would be heard ;it would be expressed. Perhaps the earliest voice of black rage is that of David Walker. According to Arthur Smith and Stephen Robb, editors of The Voices of Black Rhetoric: Selections, Walker’s “protest speeches and essays marked him as the most dangerous individual the pro-slavery forces had ever encountered. Walker spoke boldly, talking revolution and insurrection” (10). In his Appeal, Walker petitions heaven against slavery and reminds America of nations throughout history -- Egypt, Rome, Spain -- that have suffered destruction because of such inhumanity. He emphatically and undeniably implies that America will face the same destruction (27-8). For his proclamation, Walker died a mysterious, yet murderous death in 1831. But though the prophet be destroyed, the message of “rage” would endure. Since Walker’s appeal, the threat of slave insurrection intensified, leaving a growing fear in the heart of white America. Nat Turner, though not the first threat of slaves taking up arms in rebellion, solidified that fear. Threat became reality. In 1831, Turner led a slave insurrection in Tidewater, Virginia, killing over sixty whites. Benjamin Quarles, author of Black Abolitionists, explains that Turner’s insurrection and Walker’s Appeal, as well as other militant abolitionist sentiment, combined to express the realist ideal of black armed revolt abolishing slavery (17-18). Perhaps the most militant voice of black rage during slavery is that of Henry Highland Garnet. In his 1843 proclamation, “An Address to the Slaves of the United States of America,” Garnet advocates resistance to slavery at all costs, even unto death. He proclaims, “You had far better all die -- die immediately, than live slaves . . .” (36). Advocating rebellion and the shedding of blood, Garnet asserts that “there is not much hope of Redemption without the shedding of blood. If you must bleed, let it all come at once -- rather, die freemen, than live to be slaves” (36). Arguing from a historical context, Garnet illustrates a pattern of rebellion and resistance, noting Vesey, Turner, Joseph Cinque , and Madison Washington (37-8). Although Garnet warns, “We do not advise you to attempt a revolution with the sword, because it would be inexpedient,” he does proclaim, “Let your motto be RESISTANCE! RESISTANCE! RESISTANCE! No oppressed people have ever secured their liberty without resistance” (37-38). But to what extent would RESISTANCE lead? While voices of black rage have persisted throughout American history, so too have more moderate voices of nonviolence and conciliation. However, these voices have often served to channel black rage, contributing to the race’s determination to overcome. One such example is Frederick Douglass. In an 1847 address to the Anti-Slavery Society in England, Douglass, while maintaining that he was a “peace-man,” opposing violence, clearly demonstrates that “all Christian means” have failed (“The Right” 66-7). In his famous “Fourth of July Oration” of 1852, Douglass warns America of her impending crisis. He proclaims, Oh! Be warned! A horrible reptile is coiled up in your nation’s bosom ;the venomous creature is nursing at the tender breast of your youthful republic ;for the love of God tear away, and fling from you the hideous monster, and let the weight of twenty millions crush and destroy it forever. (82) But the warning would not be heeded. Douglass’s comment signifies that the rage, the fury, the impending inevitability of crisis, is a result of white America’s persistent failure to peacefully concede. And in 1861, Douglass issues this judgment against America: The American people and the Government at Washington may refuse to recognize it for a time ;but the “inexorable logic of events” will force it upon them in the end ;that the war now being waged in this land is a war for and against slavery ;and that it can never be effectually put down till one or the other of these vital forces is completely destroyed. The irrepressible conflict, long confined to words and votes, is now to be carried by bayonets and bullets, and may God defend the right! (my emphasis) (“Nemesis” 80) Once considered a “peace-man,” Douglass here advocates bloodshed and violence, harnessing rage to overthrow oppression. As would be seen throughout American history, Rage has risen indeed to the height of “irrepressible conflict.” When considering the extent to which rage will lead, one must ask, what if white America did not engage in civil war? What if white abolitionists like William Lloyd Garrison , John Brown , and many others did not adamantly stand against slavery? Would blacks have waited, continuing in bonds, until white deliverance arrived? Or, would they have risen up in rebellion likened unto the Amistad and once and for all declared themselves free and autonomous from white oppression? History will not afford us the answers to these questions. One thing is certain, however: a momentous movement towards that end can be historically traced and noted. According to Quarles, Since American institutions . . . lacked the strength or will to subdue slavery, other and more revolutionary techniques would begin to take hold of men’s minds. Thus in the two decades prior to 1860 the notion of an armed confrontation mounted in intensity, however inapparent on the surface. On the eve of the Civil War, then, the idea of physical violence to free the slave was far from new. Since the time of Nat Turner this idea of a showdown by force of arms had been a recurring theme in Negro thought. Black fire-eaters did not go out of style with David Walker. (224) Reconstruction and Jim Crow In the heat of the Civil War, the Emancipation Proclamation announced that slaves throughout the South were free, that slavery had finally come to an end. The Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution proclaimed that “equal protection of the laws” should be provided to all persons, regardless of race. Yes, the black race has finally received the freedom for which they longed. The rage would now subside, wouldn’t it? The wrong had finally been righted, hadn’t it? No. Throughout the Reconstruction period and the era of Jim Crow, black rage continued to express itself through the literature and rhetoric of an embittered, underprivileged black race, a race kept down far too long. No, equality and total freedom were not ensured nor afforded the black race. As a result, rage continued. And so did white oppression. Plessy vs. Ferguson declared that separate but equal was the new law of the land -- the new way of dealing with the “Negro problem.” The Ku Klux Klan governed the South. Ghettos contained blacks in northern cities. All was well in the mind of white America. All was peaceful in the good-ol’ U. S. of A. But was it? What about the rage of a race of people that were still oppressed and grieved? No, the rage had not been eased ;it had grown in bitterness and guile. Blacks were risen from slavery, promised equality, promised “forty acres and a mule ,” only to be denied, to be shoved back down. Yes, black rage persisted. In fact, it was louder and more profound during Jim Crow than it was during slavery. In the title poem of her 1942 book, For My People, Margaret Walker Alexander writes, Let a new earth rise. Let another world be born. Let a bloody peace be written, . . . Let the dirges disappear. Let a race of men now rise and take control! (my emphasis) (436) In fact, with white concession of emancipation arose greater black boldness to express the rage, the “violent desire or passion” that boiled in the hearts of the black race for nearly three centuries. William Monroe Trotter, in his 1902 rebuke of Booker T. Washington’s conciliatory efforts, calling him a “Benedict Arnold of the Negro race,” proclaims, O for a black Patrick Henry to save his people from this stigma of cowardness [sic] ;to rouse them from their lethargy to a sense of danger ;to score the tyrant and to inspire his people with the spirit of those immortal words: “Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death.” (202) Rage had taken new, revolutionary form. Two distinct voices of black rage during the Jim Crow era are T. Thomas Fortune and Marcus Garvey. Fortune, in his 1884 essay “The Negro and the Nation,” explains the plight of the black race during Reconstruction, proclaiming that nothing has been solved ;slavery is gone, but the black man is not free. His essay concludes that revolution to throw off the white tyrant is inevitable. He states, “The throne itself must be rooted out and demolished” (134). He, as did Douglass, also warns of an impeding crisis: I declare that the American people are fostering in their bosoms a spirit of rebellion which will yet shake the pillars of popular government as they have never before been shaken . . . . All indications point to the fulfillment of such declaration. (133-4) And like David Walker, Fortune reminds America of humanity’s history. Reiterating the threat of revolution, he states, When you ask free men that question [“What are you going to do about the oppression?] you appeal to men who, though sunk to the verge of despair, yet are capable of uprising and ripping hip and thigh those who deemed them incapable of rising above their condition. The history of mankind is fruitful of such uprisings of races and classes reduced to a condition of absolute despair. (133) The enslavement of the black race may have changed facades, but the theme of upward mobility remained strong and defiant, more resounding with rage than ever before. Marcus Garvey stands alone as one who has vehemently sought to channel the rage of his people militantly. He exclaims, Shall we not fight for the glorious opportunity of protecting and forever more establishing ourselves as a mighty race and nation, never more to be disrespected by men? Glorious shall be the battle when the time comes to fight for our people and our race. (332) Garvey, a pioneer of Black Nationalism, envisioned an autonomous African nation free from white rule and oppression. His vision included “marshaling the 400,000,000 Negroes of the world to fight for the emancipation of the race and of the redemption of the country of our fathers” (325). Dismissing the possibility of obtaining equality in America, he concludes that “so long as there is a black and white population, when the majority is on the side of the white race, you and I will never get political justice or get political equality in this country (my emphasis)” (330). Perhaps most significant about Garvey’s rhetoric is his expressed desire to dominate racially. His vision included a “government that will place [the black race] in control, even as other races are in control of their own governments” (326). Inherent throughout African-American literature and rhetoric is this dominant theme of overcoming oppression and obtaining not just equality, but obtaining autonomy and, more notably, control. Epitomizing the plight of the black race in America, Langston Hughes writes, What happens to a dream deferred? Does it dry up like a raisin in the sun or does it fester like a sore and then run or does it sag like a heavy load or does it EXPLODE? (“A Dream Deferred” 305) Will the “dream deferred” one day explode? Will rage one day boil out of control? Will the momentum to overcome the most miserable of oppressed conditions subside only after achieving racial dominance? In his poem “Dream Variation,” Hughes metaphorically implies the probability of a racial reversal of power in America. He exclaims, “Till the white day is done,” illustrating that white dominance will one day end. And when he writes “Night coming tenderly / Black like me,” Hughes boldly proclaims, “That is my dream!” (373). Though this night, this day when the black race will rule, is coming ever so “tenderly,” it is, nevertheless, coming. Does Hughes alone have this dream? Or, is he speaking for a race of men and women who also have a dream? No, Hughes is not alone. Sterling Brown, in his poem “Strong Men,” outlines the black struggle in America, recounting the many victories over foes -- from slavery through prohibition. Like Hughes, Brown questions the inevitability of a final overcoming. Concerning the strength of the black race, Brown explains that after every battle, “The strong men keep a-comin’ on / Gittin’ stronger . . .” (413). Having overcome slavery, having successfully dealt with the hypocrisy of Reconstruction “freedom,” Brown writes, Today they shout prohibition at you “Thou shalt not this” “Thou shalt not that” “Reserved for whites only” You laugh. (413) The poem concludes: The strong men . . . coming on The strong men gittin’ stronger Strong men . . . . Stronger . . . . (413) Yes, strong men are coming on. Yes, rage is growing ;rage is festering. Although a desire, a passionate rage, has always pressed upward to overcome racial oppression, many have argued the improbability of success. But like conciliatory voices of the past, these voices also define and expound upon America’s black rage. James Weldon Johnson, in his 1935 book, Negro Americans, What Now?, advocates integration as the only logical “way out.” But he also writes, Our history in the United States records a half-dozen major and a score of minor efforts at insurrection during the period of slavery. This, if they heard it, would be news to that big majority of people who believe that we have gone through three centuries of oppression without once thinking in terms of rebellion or lifting a finger in revolt. Even now there comes times when we think in terms of physical force. (149) Although he does not advocate violence, as a black literary spokesman, he admits the presence of, as well as the justification for, rage. He concludes, “We would be justified in taking up arms or anything we could lay hands on and fighting for the common rights we are entitled to and denied, if we had a chance to win” (149). Johnson claims he does not support violence as a logical solution to the race’s plight -- but the thought is there. In like manner, Ralph J. Bunch draws similar conclusions in his 1935 essay, “A Critical Analysis of the Tactics and Progress of Minority Groups.” He concludes that because of the vast outnumbering by whites, and because “the Negro masses are so lacking in radical class consciousness . . . any possibility of large scale identification of the Negro population with revolutionary groups can be projected only into the future” (167). Not now. But how long? How near in the future? Dissenting thought, capitalizing on the rage of an oppressed race, insisted on bringing “the future” closer. Claude McKay writes, “If we must die, O let us nobley [sic] die, / So that our precious blood may not be shed / In vain . . .” (344). Promoting violence as the only defense against violence and the only means to overcome oppression, McKay proclaims, Though far outnumbered let us show us brave And for their thousand blows deal one deathblow! What though before us lies the open grave? Like me we’ll face the murderous, cowardly pack, Pressed to the wall, dying, but fighting back! (334) Rage, which may have originated from grief of oppression, when pressed to the wall, will strike back. W. E. B. Du Bois, realizing that black society would not rest long in a state of inequality, explains, What, then, is this dark world thinking? It is thinking that as wild and awful as this war was , it is nothing to compare with that fight for freedom which black and brown and yellow men must and will make unless their oppression and humiliation and insult at the hands of the White World cease. The Dark World is going to submit to its present treatment just as long as it must, and not one moment longer. (The Souls of White Folk 183-4) How long? Not long. Du Bois, having a prescient understanding of race relations in America, notably explained in 1903 that “the problem of the Twentieth Century is the problem of the color line” (Souls of Black Folk xxiii). Oh how true this statement proved to be as black America continued to press upward and white American continued to dominate and oppress! The Civil Rights Movement in America By the time the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 60s was in full swing, white America wondered in awe at the demonstration of black rage they witnessed. Many were aghast, wondering where all the penned up anger came from. Race riots and violence ravaged the country. Black spokesmen rose up from various organizations -- Black Panther Party, SNCC, Nation of Islam -- and proclaimed BLACK POWER! The rage witnessed was astronomical. Rage had finally boiled over. Martin Luther King, Jr., explained that the “sweltering summer of the Negro’s legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality” (“I” 103). The Civil Rights Movement has produced an explosion of black rhetoric, specifically rhetoric of rage, more extensive and complete than at any previous time in American history. Prior to the era, blacks were never free to openly speak and criticize white institutions and government. Because of this new freedom to speak in open forum, internal black rage has finally been released, heard externally through unprecedented expression and demonstration. In the struggle for civil rights, the rhetoric of revolution dominates as one major theme of black rage. In his address to the 1966 graduating class at Howard University, Adam Clayton Powell, Congressman from Harlem, boldly proclaims, “We are the last revolutionaries in America -- the last transfusion of freedom into the bloodstream of democracy. Because we are, we must mobilize our wintry discontent to transform the cold heart and white face of this nation” (278). Rage again has evolved, this time to the height of advocating violent revolution. Maula Ron Karenga, in The Quotable Karenga, writes, “Blacks live right in the heart of America. That is why we are best able to cripple this man. And once we understand our role, we won’t talk revolution, we’ll make it” (196). Rooted in the bitterness of slavery, thought of rebellion and overcoming oppression has never subsided. Rage, a vehicle to express discontent, has never been absent from black-American history. While many have advocated revolution, some doubt whether a revolution, because of its impracticability, will ever become a reality. Robert F. Williams , in “USA: The Potential of a Minority Revolution,” writes, Is it possible for a minority revolution to succeed in powerful America? . . . Cynics [say] that to even raise such a question is insane . . . [that] violent resistance to brutal racial oppression can lead only to suicide. How do they know? . . . [Some said] that “the American Revolution can never succeed against the military might of the crown.” . . . Yes, a minority revolution has as much, or more, chance of succeeding in racist USA as any place else in the world. At the very outset, all revolutions are minority revolutions. (my emphasis) (328) At the very outset, all revolutions are minority revolutions. Yes, even a “black” minority can effect a revolution. Once dismissed as an impractical channel for black rage and means of finally overcoming, revolution is very much a part of black thought throughout the Civil Rights Movement and beyond. Black rage has become more impassioned with fury, eclipsing the earlier, more conservative mindset that disregarded the possibility of a violent revolution. Black rage has obtained a new height of demonstration and boldness. Accompanying revolutionary thought, black rhetoric of rage also strongly advocates the use of violence. The demonstration of black rage, previously confined to moderate words and philosophy, has risen to vehement protest and physical violence. H. Rap Brown, in his 1967 address entitled “Colonialism and Revolution,” denounces “white-American racist colonialism” and advocates violence and revolution. He asserts, “The question of violence has been cleared up. This country was born on violence. . . . Violence is part of the revolutionary struggle. . . . Power, indeed, must come from the barrel of a gun” (312). Echoing this thought, Williams asserts, You cannot have progress here without violence and upheaval, because it’s struggle for survival for one and a struggle for liberation for the other. Always the powers in command are ruthless and unmerciful in defending their position and their privileges. (Negroes 173) Just as the Civil War was required to end the devastating oppression of slavery, so during the ‘60s spokesmen of black rage have determined that a violent uprising is required to secure civil rights. Defying the philosophy of nonviolence as a means of obtaining a dream utopia of “equality,” Williams concedes, The most noble of mankind must surely aspire for a human level of endeavor, wherein mankind can establish a utopian society divested of brute force and violence. The irony of this great dream is that if it is at all possible, it is possible only through the medium of violence. It is possible only through Revolution. (“USA” 326) The inevitability of rage exploding is both realized and apparent as never before. Black Power, advocating -- screaming for -- revolution and violence, dominates the forefront of black-rage demonstration. It is important to understand, however, that the whole idea of Black Power and Black Pride originated, not as a venting of rage to cause people to rise up in anger, but rather to provide self worth and a realization that as humans, blacks must demand comparable treatment. Nonetheless, this seed of innocence soon produces a channel for rage. In his 1967 speech “The Meaning of Black Power,” Franklin Florence defines Black Power as an “active” attitude. He proclaims, “And I say tonight, freedom and justice are not gifts -- you must take them -- rise up, you mighty black people -- organize and take power” (165). Indeed, Black Power encompassed a wide variety of thought and rhetoric during the Civil Rights Movement. Leroi Jones, recalling the separatist philosophy of Garvey, exclaims, “Black Power cannot exist WITHIN white power.” Continuing, he proclaims, “One or the other. There can only be one or the other. They might exist side by side as separate entities, but never in the same space. Never. They are mutually exclusive” (138). The decision, according to some, has to be made as to which one will prevail. (Recall that Garvey determined that equality can never be ensured for blacks as long as a white majority exists in America.) Others recount the thought of rising to racially dominate. In “How White Power Whitewashes Black Power,” Nathan Hare explains that “Black Power means the exercise of influence over the behavior of White oppressors to the benefit of blacks -- by any means available . . .” (217). Any means available. So, nationalistic thoughts of finally prevailing in victory reappear. Rage, as is evident, has neither subsided nor been appeased. Nor has the momentum to overcome ceased from pressing upward against white social dominance. One organization that aims to channel black rage militantly beyond the efforts of others is the Black Panther Party. The Party holds that only a “true revolution” will effect the changes required to rid black society of white oppression (Straub 66). One goal of the Panthers is to organize blacks in a common effort to overcome despotism. Bobby Seale, Chairman of the Party, explains in a 1968 address that black people should not “sit down and let a spontaneous riot happen in the streets where we are corralled and a lot of us are shot up, unorganized. . . .” He exhorts, “Black people,
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