Morgenthau Still Rules the “Plantation in Absentia ©

  •           Usually, a Black person has no access to a high-ranking, Black politician in New York. It is unusual to have access to a white politician.  A “special invitation” from a high-ranking, white politician is unprecedented.  This was my reaction to an invitation that was delivered to me by Cong. Charles Rangel and New York Secretary of State Basil Paterson.
  •           I had been ordered to meet with Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau, the highest-ranking, law enforcement official in the United States.  This was an unsolicited invitation.  It amounted to an “order to show cause”.  I had not been in New York a decade. Therefore, I needed an escort.
  •           Attorney C. Vernon Mason and Dr. Calvin O. Butts accompanied me to his office.  This special invitation meant that Morgenthau had “eyes and ears” in the Black community.  I had seldom crossed 110th Street unless I was headed home.  I had come to Harlem to earnestly engage in the “War on Poverty”.
  •           In the presence of Butts, Mason and Special Narcotics Prosecutor Sterling Johnson and several whites, Morgenthau made it clear that I had stepped across the lines.  No other Black activist had done so including but not limited to Rev. Herbert Daughtry, Min. Louis Farrakhan, Sonny Carson and Rev. Al Sharpton.           
  •           He gave me a stern warning: stay in you place “or else”.  Since I was from Georgia, I was familiar with “my place”.  In Georgia, your place had been reserved for you.  Georgia was still governed by the “plantation” system.  Even though Malcolm X resided in New York City when he made his recorded speeches and he consistently made reference to the plantation, I had failed to connect the dots.
  •           By 1973, I had become madly in love with Blacks in Harlem.   In 1976, I was fired from Harlem Assertion of Rights on 125th Street.  The National Conference of Black Lawyers also did the “honors” in 1983.  In high school, I only saw a white person on one day a year at school.  I still remember her lecture.  You must love your enemies.  This will bring “JOY”.
  •           This “philosophy” has always bothered me.  In my hometown of Newnan, GA.  I had suffered a severe beating in the public streets by a mob of white police officers and sanitation workers for not knowing my place.  I had been thrown into a local, jail cell, with blood all over me, to die.  This earned me the distinction of being the only person charged with a crime in this one-sided donnybrook.
  •           Poverty follows plantation politics.  A condition precedent to poverty is the lack of legal and political representation.  It starts with the lack of a political voice.  A two-party, political system with white Democrats and Republicans operating as co-conspirators guarantees poverty.
  •           In Harlem, I ran smack into the middle of this political and legal juggernaut.  I was fighting both “Negro Democrats” and “white judges”.  This was a crucible and Black people were squeezed in the middle.  Before there was a United African Movement, attorney Joseph Mack was arguing for Blacks to establish their own political party.  This was a decade before UAM.
  •           I believe in divine authority.  When my family moved to New York City, we lived, by coincidence, on the same block as attorney Joseph Mack and his family.  The dean of the Business Department at Medgar Evers College also lived on the same block.  These associations steered me towards Medgar Evers College, as an adjunct professor, and independent, third-party politics.
  •           My associations with both men were strictly business.  We never shared a social hour together.  More than a decade later, Mack and I ended up together at United African Movement because of our personal missions.  UAM would rival Black United Front.  Most of the other, grassroots, Black organizations were not in existence in 1988.
  •           In 1990, Joseph Mack formed the United African Party.  To say the least, its formation caused a political stir.  The Democratic Party was wedded to a one-party system with Blacks serving as “political pawns”.  Leading Blacks and Black selected officials would endorse and sanction “plantation politics”.  Blacks go to the polls like they had gone to cotton fields.
  •           The sine qua non of “plantation politics” is the absence of bargaining rights in addition to the absence of political leverage.  Blacks are always on the sidelines, politically, while whites ride on our backs on the field to achieve their goals.  The latest example is “gay rights”.   In the meantime, the Democratic Party favors “stop and frisk”.  This includes mayoral candidate, William Thompson.
  •           The “Central Park 7″ is another example.  Twenty-four years ago, these Black and Latino youth were wrongfully arrested and prosecuted for crimes they never committed. Twenty-four years later, the Democratic Party refuses to compensate them while it has compensated whites similarly-situated.
  •           Blacks constitute the largest voting bloc in New York City but they fail to use “what’s in their hands”.  Blacks now constitute the oldest ethnic group in New York City.  Blacks built New York City but a “white minority” rules it.   White immigrants have also enjoyed compensation for the fruits of their labor.  Black labor was “free”. White immigrants and not Blacks control “Tammany Hall” today.
  •           The Freedom Train will leave Brooklyn Christian Center at 7:00 p.m. tonight for the “Promised Land”.  “Harriet Tubman”, “Fannie Lou Hamer” and “Rosa Parks” will be among the conductors.  By your failure or refusal to get on board, you will be making a statement about yourself.  The Brooklyn Christian Center is located at 1061 Atlantic Avenue (bet. Classon and Franklin) in Brooklyn.
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