Civil Rights & Black Power Dichotomy…

Stokley Carmichael

Donald John Trump’s presidential victory is a symptom of decades of political malfeasance by way of Republican Party county leadership and district leaders and structure.  From an unlikely political phenomenon based on bigotry, to the advent of President Donald Trump, a perverse political undercurrent moved in the bowels of the Republican Party, facilitating Trump’s hostile political takeover.

The former New York Republican county chairman, State Senator Roy Goodman, engineered a clandestine political relationship with Congressman Charles Rangel that resulted in the Democratic Congressman running for reelection for virtually his entire political career, beginning in 1970. During the 1960s to the 1980s Harlem New York City, and the Harlem’s of America was undergoing political convulsions across the spectrum from elective to subversive politics. Political, social and economic life for America’s black communities at large w

Rev. Powell and Rev. King

local political powers (Democrat & Republican) united against him. Consequently, the party bosses teamed up against incumbent Congressman Powell and supported insurgent candidate Charles Rangel. The insurgent had the benefit of being on both the Democrat and Republican ballot, while the incumbent Powell ran as an independent.

Following his upset victory, Congressman Rangel ran for reelection on both the Democratic and Republican ballot for more than 3 decades. Apart from apparently serving two (2) political masters (Democrats & Republicans leaders), a compelling argument can be made that the honorable Congressman Rangel may have unwittingly aided the civil rights movement’s political displacement of the ‘black power’ movement. Rangel was a ‘responsible’ Negro political leader, as compared to the ‘flamboyant’ and ‘radical’ black power advocate, Congressman Powell. Congressman Rangel was among the black ‘responsible’ Negro political leaders that were often trotted out to ‘publically denounce and condemn one of the so-called black militants/radicals or another.

Rev. King and Malcolm X

During the 1960s Congressman Powell was the only black elected leader to embrace ‘black power’ and the youthful black conscious political movement. More importantly Congressman Powell supported the youth movements and the congressman became a public spokesperson on behalf of Stokley Carmichael. During a well-publicized interview with Congressman Powell at his church, he defined ‘black power’ as similar to other ethnic political interest groups, and he named a few… The congressman refused to publically denounce Carmichael, black power, or black militants, etc. All other black leaders followed the politics of ‘responsible’ Negroes leaders. Hence, all ‘responsible’ political leaders followed instructions and publically denounced Carmichael, black power, black militants, etc. The civil rights leadership orthodoxy became the sine quo-non for black people at large to enter politics.

In addition to the civil rights movement dynamic juxtaposed to the much maligned ‘black power’ and generic community based politics; the general dynamic between the two is omitted from popular narratives of the civil rights and black power period (1960 – 1980s). Another element of the popular revisionist historical account of one of the most tumultuous generations of the 20th century are the fabulous stories about the relationship between Malcolm X and Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X, without doubt were the two most consequential political/social leaders of the profound generation. Popular accounts usually conflate the two black leaders as great black civil rights leaders. Nevertheless their individual contribution to the adherents to Martin’s and Malcolm’s legacy was that of civil rights and human rights, leaders respectively.

But the Martin and Malcolm legacies not only played-out in in a civil rights and human rights dichotomy in terms of their respective domestic and world views. There was a north and south dichotomy in the youth movement in

Congressman Charles Rangel

the Martin and Malcolm political motif. In any case both leaders remain greatly loved and there was never a serious juxtaposition. On reflection perhaps one of the most nuanced dichotomies of Martin and Malcolm may be the impact that they (Martin & Malcolm) had on their respective followers. There was a dichotomy between the two in terms of the north and south contingents of civil rights and youth political movements. The southern contingent leaned toward Rev. King, and the northern youth movement favored Malcolm X.

But the movement in general (black and white) revered both leaders equally. And students and community based youth appreciated the difference between civil rights issues and human rights issues and their respective advocates. Unfortunately, the broad masses of grassroots youth that were independent political thinkers who did not embrace the civil rights political leadership paradigm became victims of covert extra judicial special operations that proved to be lethal too often. Some argue that the Harlem’s of America were used as target practice in some quarters during this revolutionary decade.

During the tumultuous decade of the 1960s to 1980s the Republican county leadership by way of the perverse political deal with the local Democratic Party and Congressman Charles Rangel set in motion a political scenario truncating grassroots efforts to build a black GOP in Harlem. The GOP congressional ballot was relegated to perpetuating the leadership in Harlem of Congressman Rangel. The district leadership structure was compromised at the county level and political incest began and proliferated to the Bronx and other GOP counties. By the turn of the century (2000) there was virtually no black Republican Party political infrastructure and a feudal system of county organizations utilized to some extent the relative plantation political system.

Carmichael, Rap Brown and others

In New York City too often the tail wagged the dog, vis-à-vis, Republican Party county organization welding extraordinary political power on the ground causing the state and national party to yield often. Avoiding the party primary election became a popular technique and political tactic to impact elections in negative and nefarious ways. These are among the sophisticated ways in which outreach in black and minority communities to be marginalized in target communities. In the instance of Congressman Rangel who enjoyed exclusive access to the GOP’s congressional ballot status. The fact for more than 30 years the most prominent black political leader on the Democratic Party in the most popular of America’s inner cities, Harlem also doubled as a Republican Party basher.

The current demographic in Harlem is changed as the result of gentrification that is virtually completed, and the once storied of America’s black communities has an interesting international rhythm. Congressman Rangel retired a few years ago and is likely to have the distinction of being the last black American Harlem Congressman. Moreover, Harlem is no longer a distinctive black community…

In about 2014 a seriously bigoted movement was the birth child of Donald Trump that morphed into a viral race base pejorative against the President Barack Obama, the African American and Hispanic community. The election of President Barack Obama began an unprecedented white backlash instigated by Trump and some Republican Party official attacked Obama during his 2 terms. Some argue that the political backlash from the fact of the first African American President of the United States of America, unleashed the dormant feelings of hate and racial bigotry in the Republican Party and in America in general. During the presidential election of 2016 the pent-up hostility associated with the race paradigm is generating abounding emotional energy that carried POTUS 45 over the top. Everything will change…

Rev. Congressman Adam Clayton Powell Jr. On black power

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