“In that instant there opened in me a great awareness of who I was; I was a negro. A person to be hunted, hanged, abused, discriminated against, kept in POVERTY and ignorance. It made no difference how intelligent or talented I or my brothers were; nor how virtuously we lived. A curse like that of Judas (Iscariot) was upon us.” Walter White
“This opened my eyes to what lynching really was: an excuse to get rid of negroes who were acquiring wealth and property (under segregation). And thus keep the race terrorized. And keep the niggers down.”-Ida B. Wells
If one listens to the chatter of black male you tubers, he/she is treated to vast rants about the failures of the black community. With very few exceptions, all trace the downfall of the race to integration. They spin an un-examined narrative of the explosion of a thriving black economy under segregation that was destroyed when black people integrated during the Civil Rights Movement. This narrative is as without substance as much as it is without real factual analysis.
Statistical data places this supposition in question. According to the Journal of Social Economics at Cornell University, under an Article entitled “Culture and entrepreneurship? African American and immigrant self-employment in the United States,” at its highest period, Black Businesses constituted only 6.1% in comparison to its’ population. These business networks consisted of hair salons, barbershops, funeral parlors, restaurants, insurance companies, busing services, and a few banks. Though small in number, these businesses should not be discounted as they created a network for the black dollar to turn over in the black community an estimated 15 times before it left the community. Admittedly, an unintended externality of state segregation was that it gave black businesses a monopoly over black customers.
This monopoly while effective was also temporary. What is not reflected in statistical data are those businesses that remained in business after exposure to white domestic terrorism in the form of lynch mobs, discriminatory state policies or racist wholesalers and distributors that took money from these businesses, but simply failed to deliver their goods.
Take the case of Berry Gordy Sr., the father of Motown Record Mogul Barry Gordy Jr. Gordy Sr ran a successful food distribution business in the south. His success so inflamed the white business owners in the area that they mobilized a local hit squad to murder him. As a result, he fled the south for the alleged safe haven of Detroit.
Reverend George Lee was not so lucky. Lee was a minister and entrepreneur. He owned both a successful printing company and grocery store in Belzoni, Mississippi. In 1955, after regularly receiving telephone death threats, Lee was shot and killed while returning from picking up his preaching suit at the dry cleaners. The investigating sheriff dismissed the death as merely an automobile accident and said the lead pellets lodged in what remained of his jaw were just dental fillings.
While many black businesses remained and even thrived in the south, these businesses were under constant assault from politicians in the pockets of competing white merchants. This reality caused many small black businessmen to in fact, support the Civil Rights Movement. Though there was clear tension between he and Dr. King. Black Titan A.G. Gaston, was an ardent supporter of both the Birmingham and Montgomery Civil Rights Campaigns. Black taxis supported the Bus Boycott before the city enacted punitive measures to criminalize taxi drivers transporting protesters.
Black pharmacists organized make shift dispatch centers for private drivers to pick up elderly protesters. Black businessmen paid traffic tickets, bail money, and gasoline expenses to private vehicle owners to maintain the boycott. But the question is why? Why would black businessmen support a campaign that would ultimately mean their demise? The answer to these questions remain a mystery; until now. If one applies the rationale of the market to these questions, the answer becomes obvious.
Thinking like real entrepreneurs, black businessmen reasoned that integration was going to be a boom to their businesses as it would open up an entirely new market to them. They believed that the influx of new white customers patronizing their stores, would allow them to compete with white businesses on a national scale. They were seriously mistaken. Black businessmen underestimated the power of 100 years of racial indoctrination. The cultural norms and social morays of Jim Crow had effectively shackled Adam Smith’s invisible hand. Not only did black businesses fail to capture the white dollar in mass, it lost the black dollar as a whole. Thus, their clever integration gamble was a bust.
But it would be a mistake to suggest that their motivations were purely pecuniary. They also believed that the Civil Rights Movement was most fundamentally, about equal protection under the law. For many, it was axiomatic that black economic power required black political protection.
This brings up a falsehood often uttered by pro blacks and many more similarly un-informed black people: Integration was about living and doing business with white people. This maybe true for some in the rank and file, but it was clearly not the initial objective of the movement. In an interview in 1985, the late Coretta Scott King, widow of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., stated that:
“At first, we didn’t even ask for desegregation. We asked for a more humane form of segregation on the buses. But when the opposition wouldn’t grant that, we realize that they weren’t going to grant anything. So we might as well go for complete desegregation.”
If there is any one person who drew the most scathing critique from the pro black community, it was Martin Luther King Jr. In their stream of nonsensical idiocy, they argue that Dr. King ruined the black community with integration. Despite the fact that King did not explicitly call for blacks to abandon their communities for the suburbs, or ask them to spend their money in white establishments, King is their scapegoat for all the moral, economic and political failings of a community that he gave his life to serve. Niggas!
But if they get out of the myopic malaise of their cultural masturbation, they will discover the fallacy of this myth. King himself would state that:
“We’ve got to strengthen black institutions. I call upon you to take your money out of the banks downtown and deposit your money in Tri-State Bank ( A Black Bank). We want a ‘bank in’ movement in Memphis…You have six or seven black insurance companies here in the city of Memphis. Take out your insurance there.”
Are those the words that ruined the black community? Unfortunately, our ignorance of our own history is epidemic. We have failed to engage in any serious study of the very past that has shaped our present. Any investigation of our history is carelessly dismissed as living in the past. The irony is that this ignorance is most prevalent in the very community that is suppose to teach us about our own history. Most of these people, though well meaning, are woefully misinformed. What passes for history in the conscious community is often: debunked FBI propaganda, gossip (see the former), misconstrued facts, de-contextualized events, nationalistic dogma, and outright falsehood.
To say that those who fail to learn from the past are doomed to repeat it, is cliche. To say that a people without an accurate memory of their past are tools of the status quo is counter-intuitive. The monstrous revision of the history of the Civil Rights Movement is a great calumny against black people. But what is more disgraceful is to be an accomplice in your own amnesia. It is more even disgusting that the people leading the sheep to slumber are those who claim to be “woke.” ANYWAY! TAKE ME TO THE BRIDGE!!!!
TONY MACEO is a senior blogger at the Negromanosphere and the Chief Blogger at PowerandStrategy.com. Like, share and subscribe to the website. Become a Patron at powerofstrategies on Patreon, or support by Paypal @firstname.lastname@example.org. Support the shop or the chess store.