On this date we mark the assembly in Newark of the first Black Power Conference. In the tradition of the antebellum African American convention movement and the early Pan-African congresses, the National Conference on Black Power was a gathering of more than 1,000 delegates representing 286 organizations and institutions from 126 cities in 26 states, Bermuda, and Nigeria.
They met in Newark, NJ., from July 20 to July 23, 1967, to discuss the most pressing African American issues of the day. The conference held workshops, presented papers for specific programs, and developed more than 80 resolutions calling for emphasis of Black power in political, economic, and cultural affairs. Only one resolution, a Black Power Manifesto, won official approval, but others were adopted in “in spirit.” The Manifesto condemned “neo-colonialist control” of Black populations worldwide and called for the circulation of a “philosophy of Blackness” that would unite and direct the oppressed in common cause.
Nathan Wright, Jr., was the conference chairman, and workshop coordinators included Ossie Davis, James Farmer, Hoyt Fuller, Nathan Hare, Maulana Ron Karenga, Cleveland Sellers, and Chuck Stone.
The Encyclopedia of African-American Heritage
by Susan Altman
Copyright 1997, Facts on File, Inc. New York
Inspired by the revolutionary spirit and actions of slaves during the 1791 Haitian Revolution, and furious at the closing of the African Church, Vesey began to plan a slave rebellion. His insurrection, which was to take place on Bastille Day, July 14, 1822, became known to thousands of blacks throughout Charleston and along the Carolina coast. The plot called for Vesey and his group of slaves and free blacks to execute their enslavers and temporarily liberate the city of Charleston. Vesey and his followers planned to sail to Haiti to escape retaliation. Two slaves opposed to Vesey’s scheme leaked the plot. Charleston authorities charged 131 men with conspiracy.
"Rioters dash out of the way of a nightstick wielding policeman during a riot in Harlem 7/18. One man leaps over a car as the officer advances. The riot followed a protest of the killing of a 15 year old negro boy by an off-duty officer 7/16"
Our ancestors drive through the street with a sign reading: “The New Negro Has No Fear!”
Day 3: Saturday, July 18, through early morning Sunday, July 19
The crowd began to throw bottles and debris at the police line. Soon the rioters took over rooftops which is said to have been the number one police’s enemy at the time. Easily accessible, rooftops were in bad shape and bricks, tiles and mortar were used as weapons. The policemen rapidly secured the rooftops arresting CORE members. The rioters filled with emotion could not be controlled anymore and they continued to throw bottles which hit Michael Doris in the face; the first police officer to be injured during the Harlem Riot of 1964. Subsequently, Inspector Pandergast instructed the force to clear the street after declaring that the crowd had become a disorderly gathering. By 10 P.M., a thousand people had assembled at the intersection of the Seventh Avenue and 125th Street. “Go home, go home”shouted an officer in a way to disperse the crowd, but the crowd answered: “We are home, Baby.”
Our Afrikans ancestors standing off in the streets with the NYPD.
Day 4: Sunday, July 19, through Monday, July 20
Commissioner Murphy distributed a statement to every church in Harlem after the incident of Saturday night. He stated: “In our estimation, this is a crime problem and not a social problem!” Later that day, Malcolm X, Black Nationalist Leader answered, “There are probably more armed Negroes in Harlem than in any other spot on earth” - “If the people who are armed get involved in this, you can bet they’ll really have something on their hands.”This feeling of hatred against whites and especially against the New York Police Department was present in the majority of the Black community. Blacks were actually threatening policemen as well as firemen in broad daylight throughout Sunday.
On Thursday, July 16, 1964, James Powell was shot and killed by Lieutenant Thomas Gilligan. The second bullet of three, considered lethal, killed the 15-year-old Afrikan American in front of his friends and about a dozen other witnesses. The incident immediately rallied about 300 students from a nearby school who were informed by the principal. This incident set off six consecutive nights of rioting that affected the New York City neighborhoods of Harlem and Bedford-Stuyvesant. In total, 4,000 New Yorkers participated in the riots which led to attacks on the New York City Police Department, vandalism, and looting in stores. At the end of the conflict, reports counted one dead rioter, 118 injured, and 465 arrested. It is said that the Harlem Race Riot of 1964 is the precipitating event for riots in July and August in cities such as Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Rochester, New York; Chicago, Illinois; Jersey City, New Jersey; Paterson, New Jersey; and Elizabeth, New Jersey.
When we send our children to school in this country, they learn nothing about us other than that we used to be cotton pickers. Every little child going to school thinks his grandfather was a cotton picker.
Why, your grandfather… was one of the greatest Black people who walked on this earth. It was your grandfather’s hands who forged civilization and it was your grandmother’s hands that rocked the cradle of civilization…Our history and our culture were completely destroyed when we were forcibly brought to America in chains.
And now it is important for us to know that our history did not begin with slavery. We came from Africa, a great continent, wherein lives a proud and varied people, a land which is the cradle of civilization. Our culture and our history are as old as man himself and yet we know almost nothing about it.
—Malcolm X, 1964
Carmichael became chairman of SNCC in 1966, taking over from John Lewis, who later became a US Congressman.
A few weeks after Carmichael took office, James Meredith was shot and wounded by a shotgun during his solitary “March Against Fear”. Carmichael joined Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Floyd McKissick, Cleveland Sellers and others to continue Meredith’s march.
He was arrested during the march and, upon his release, he gave his first “Black Power” speech, using the phrase to urge black pride and socio-economic independence:
“ It is a call for black people in this country to unite, to recognize their heritage, to build a sense of community. It is a call for black people to define their own goals, to lead their own organizations.”
Towards the end of both Malcolm X and Martin Luther King’s murders both civil rights leaders came to the conclusion that it would be more advantageous to work together for Human Rights rather than seek acceptance from the white supremacist US government.
Upon their new enlightenment both Martin Luther King and Malcolm X began speaking of a coalition with one another. Since both strayed away from their original path, financial support was hard to find for they’re new grassroots struggle.
Financial backing for their new grassroots struggle would be put up by Afrikan entertainer Sam Cook who supported their ideology black nationalism.
Short time following this revolutionary decision Sam Cooke’s body would be found beaten to death with baseball bats in the street, Malcolm X would be assassinated, followed by Martin Luther King would be murdered.
This is the part of the story which white America chooses to leave out to divide Afrikans by making them choose between the two. Let’s not let they’re real dreams fade away.