To: Saadiq Mance
From: Amefika D. Geuka, Co-Convener
Subject: Bring Back Black Strategic Plan Draft
Date: March 31, 2007
This is in response to the telephone conversation you, Jim Clingman and I had this past Thursday, March 29, 2007 when we went over the draft strategic plan you prepared for our review and comment. You asked that Jim and I attempt to “fill-in-the-blanks” so to speak wherever you’d left “XXXXs.” Following are my suggestions:
What is “Bring Back Black?”
Bring Back Black is the name given to a movement emanating from a meeting called by Professor James Clingman of the University of Cincinnati on December 9, 2006. The meeting was attended by over one-hundred (100+) Black self-determinists from around the United States, and held at Cincinnati State University. The particular concern which prompted “Jim” Clingman to issue his call for a meeting was growing discontent expressed by subscribers to his “Whirlwind” Internet list serve about the direction being advocated by individuals broadly recognized as “leaders” of, or spokespersons for the Black community in America. Such individuals were increasingly distancing themselves from the unique needs of the Black collective, and seeking acceptance by groups and organizations external to Black America. Most such persons continually reminded the public that they did not want to be viewed as merely “black” leaders, but leaders who only “happened” to be black. All such ‘leaders’ and spokespersons see integration with and assimilation into White culture as the only way to solve the myriad problems afflicting the African-American community. To Jim Clingman and others who joined him in Cincinnati on December 9th, this implied that such persons are ashamed of being Black, and would have our race disappear if that were possible, and “melt” into the American “pot” with Whites and other acceptable “minority” groups.
The 100+ folks who traveled to Cincinnati all shared a belief in and commitment to self-reliance and self-determination as the only sensible way for Blacks to win back our “race-esteem” and command the respect of others. Such race-esteem had last been dominant during the 1960s when being Black was beautiful, and we proclaimed that all of us should “say it loud, we’re Black and we’re Proud!” During that enlightened period few Blacks doubted that “Black Power” was inevitable and not far distant.
The strategic spreading of “filthy lucre,” interspersed with “Cointelpro” machinations, distracted Black people as we entered the 1970s, and racial solidarity began to wane. A new generation of Blacks emerged who “knew not Joseph,” and did not understand or appreciate the history and struggle of our people. They inherited suit-and-tie-wearing jobs, some in offices with White co-workers and secretaries, and began to act as though they had “died-and-gone-to-heaven!” “Afro” hairstyles were abandoned, and African-style clothing was discarded in favor of bell-bottomed trousers, body shirts, and shoes with high heels for males! Black ceased to be seen as beautiful, and it became desirable to be proud of being accepted by Whites as their “fellow-Americans.”
By the time the 1980s arrived, “Black” had not only lost its “beauty,” but the idea that there could ever be such a thing as Blacks having power was reduced to the unthinkable!
When the 1990s arrived the Black-is-Beautiful chant was no longer heard anywhere.
The beauty of Blackness was revived briefly with the phenomenal success of the Million Man March called by Minister Louis Farrakhan on October 16, 1995. However, five years later that event was diluted into an integrationist gathering.
Perhaps the MATAH Network founded by Ken Bridges and Al Wellington came closest to reviving the beauty of Blackness after the Million Man March, but that movement suffered a devastating setback when Brother Ken Bridges was prematurely ripped away from us by an assassin’s bullet. The greatest prospect for a resurgence of Nationalism and self-reliance lies in the possibility of some form and measure of “operational” or “functional” unity between NBLC and the re-organized MATTAH Movement under the leadership of Brother Raymond King.
The “Cincinnati 100+” has determined to Bring Back the positive focus on being Black, and restore our people’s belief in their own Creator-given beauty! When pride in our race has been regained, the Power we need and seek will be forthcoming, and this will happen IN OUR LIFETIME!!!
Whereas Bring Back Black is not an “organization” as such, it is an organized effort which will among other things, lead to the creation of a national organization of self-determinists who will lead our people to self-reliance. That organization will be given birth in October, 2007 and will be named the NATIONALIST BLACK LEADERSHIP COUNCIL (NBLC)!
The movement to Bring Back Black and the organization to which it will give birth will provide the Black community with an organizational VEHICLE capable of solving our existing problems, and immunizing us against their reoccurrence at any time in the foreseeable future. It will unite us into a force equal to the task at hand, and greater than any opposition that may come its way. The Nationalist Black Leadership Council will have leaders and spokespersons that have no conflicting loyalties, and no desire to “lead” or speak for any group other than Africans in America and the Diaspora. The NBLC will boast leadership that prides itself on taking our people back to the heights enjoyed by our ancestors in days of yore – especially the Nile Valley civilizations, both upper and lower kingdoms; the great empires of Western Africa – Songhai, Ghana, and others; and Great Zimbabwe to the South, to name a few. And most importantly, NBLC leadership will be FEARLESS in the face of anyone or anything that threatens the well-being of people of African descent!
Men and women who aspire to leadership in the Nationalist Black Leadership Council, or to otherwise represent our organization and its constituency, MUST be of exemplary character and ability. They must be “DOERS of the word, and not HEARERS only.” They must have their priorities in order, and should have accomplished something of note on behalf, and in the interest of Black people at their local level, which can be replicated elsewhere. They must be courageous and committed to the liberation and uplift of people of African descent wherever they may reside in this world. They must be in the movement for the long haul. NBLC leaders will not be possessed of hatred for anyone, for hatred consumes the person doing the hating; but will be unabashedly and unapologetically Pro-Black!
Our movement to Bring Back Black will bring about the emergence of a new brand and caliber of Black leadership that will restore confidence to the Black Collective in their leaders’ ability and resolve to restore us to our rightful place among the constellation of races and nations on Earth, and ethnic groups in America. Accountability for desired results will be the watchword for NBLC leaders and spokespersons, and wherever the organization operates will be declared a “no excuse zone!” Failure will not be an option.
Our vision is of a transformed Black community where our people radically improve the quality of their lives and surroundings. We will accomplish this by implementing programs and ventures designed specifically for the unique needs of people of African descent – without apology! This will result in the complete elimination of the “slave-mentality” and dependence on the gratuity of others that it promotes. We will cease to be the “weakest link in the chain,” or weakest “patch” in the “quilt-like” fabric of American society and that of the world.
THREE-STEP STRATEGIC DIRECTION
ORGANIZATIONAL Phase: Laying the Foundation – 2007
Our ten (10) task forces have been working since December 9, 2006 to develop proposed structures for what will become the cabinet-level Divisions of the NBLC. These will be presented for approval at our Bring Back Black Resolutions Meeting in Atlanta on April 20 & 21, 2007. This internal process will produce the organizational structure for the Nationalist Black Leadership Council. Our objective in this phase is to create the NBLC on paper. On this occasion we will declare that Black IS Back, and that phrase will replace the current Bring Back Black, and propel our movement to our inaugural annual convention to take place in October of this year (2007).
Success in this phase will be evidenced by 1) Achievement of our objective in Atlanta; and 2) Holding the NBLC’s “Birth-Giving” Convention in October, 2007, around the anniversary of the Million Man March. At the October convention the organization will become a functioning entity, complete with the designation of those who will fill the leadership positions and roles attendant thereto. We will issue a call for, and do everything in our power to succeed in getting – ONE MILLION Black families to attend the birth of the Nationalist Black Leadership Council! We will declare that the NBLC has picked up the baton of Black self-determination which was dropped after the original Million Man March; that the Nationalist Black Leadership Council has succeeded in reviving the SPIRIT of the Million Man March, and inherited the “Blackness” legacy of that monumental event!!!
TRANSFORMATIONAL Phase: From Ideas to Execution – 2008-‘09
Our principal objective during this phase will be to elevate our ideology of BLACK NATIONALISM to the preeminent and predominant position it has not enjoyed since the glory days of the Great Honorable MARCUS MOSIAH GARVEY and the Universal Negro Improvement Association & African Communities League (UNIA-ACL) in the 1920s!
Just as White “Conservatives” wrested control of the apparatus of the Republican Party several decades ago, and have used it as a vehicle to dominate partisan electoral politics in America, and in the process put “liberalism” and its adherents to flight, Nationalists will subdue our Integrationist/Assimilationist (I/A) counterparts and force them into the role of “loyal opposition,” replacing us Nationalists in that purgatory into which they had reduced us for so long! WE will replace the Assimilationists as the “Party in (BLACK) Power,” and assign them to the “back pews” of Black activism and influence where we once languished!!
To succeed in this endeavor we will create an INTRA-RACE electoral process whereby the Black Collective will get to actually VOTE for what will thereafter be recognized as the PRESIDENT OF BLACK AMERICA! This election will take place during our NBLC Second Annual Convention in October, 2008. The official President of Black America will have a valid claim as the TRUE Leader of and spokesperson for the Black Collective because he/she will have been ELECTED to that position by his/her Black constituents. We will call ours the NATIONALIST Party, and designate theirs as the ASSIMILATIONIST Party. Our platform will be one encompassing SELF-RELIANCE planks; while theirs we will present as encompassing continued DEPENDENCY on White folks’ guilt, gratuity, and good will.
We will challenge the reigning Integrationist/Assimilationist “Paramount Chief” to represent his ideological cohorts in this election. At this writing, Rev. Al Sharpton is the reigning top-dog among I/A “leaders,” and it is he who we will “call out.” Should Rev. Sharpton be displaced at Tavis Smiley’s “State of Black America” gathering in the Spring of 2008 by another assimilationist, we will issue our challenge to that person, whoever he or she may be. If no Integrationist will accept our challenge, we will proceed with conducting the election using the “empty-chair” ploy that mainstream politicians sometimes use to embarrass an opponent who is accused of being “afraid” to engage in a debate. The election will proceed with or without an I/A opponent. We will present their failure to accept our challenge as a concession on their part, and declare that the “changing-of-the-guard” is complete, and we Nationalists are now the official leaders and spokespersons for our race in America.
If the present intolerable condition of the Black Collective is to be transformed for the better, it is Nationalists who will have to spearhead the effort, and the NBLC will be the vehicle, which brings about that transformation.
Success with this phase will be declared when we “swear-in” our candidate as the first-ever elected President of Black America!
BUILD: “It’s Nation Time!” – 2009-10
After NBLC’s Nationalist Party Candidate has won the Presidency of Black America in October, 2008 we will begin to operate as a quasi-government. This is what Marcus Garvey had in mind for the UNIA-ACL, and the Provisional Government of the Republic of New Africa (PGRNA), sought to accomplish in the 1960s. The NBLC will fulfill the aspirations of both those hallowed organizations’ initiatives, and their leaders who were bold and fearless enough to advocate and undertake a mission of such scale!
We will have our own “diplomatic service” with “ambassadors” not only to foreign countries, but to other organizations (NGOs) as well. We will become a force to be reckoned with on no less a scale than is the Israel lobby in America and other nations in the “Western” (Capitalist) world. We will create, finance, and operate our own system of African-centered education as advocated by our Ancestor Dr. Chancellor Williams, and thereby produce effectively educated and strategically trained functionaries and leaders for the future of our people.
We will build a card-carrying, dues-paying membership of 2,000,000 proud, united Black people, 1,000,000 of whom will be “responders!” By this is meant folks who will RESPOND as requested when called upon to take a specific ACTION. Mr. Garvey was able to raise money to buy ships because his organization included millions of people who would respond to his requests!
The Annual Convention of our NATIONALIST Party will be held in conjunction with the Annual Convention of our NATIONALIST BLACK LEADERSHIP COUNCIL, in proximity to the anniversary of the original Million Man March. This joint annual convening will be one of two (2) annual events of national scope put on by the NBLC; the second will be an EXPOSITION for purposes of showcasing the good works being engaged in by Nationalists around the country and throughout the Diaspora. This EXPO will be held in MAY of each year, in proximity to the birth date of Brother Malcolm X.
Those of us who attended the Million Man March on October 16, 1995 remember that Minister Farrakhan challenged us to return to our respective cities and join an organization that is working for the benefit of the Black community; and if no such organization existed in our locale, it was our responsibility to START one! In other words, NO EXCUSES!!
Untold numbers of Black men accepted the Minister’s challenge, and many positive and constructive works ensued as a result. However, we have done a terrible job of reporting on and highlighting such efforts, thus leaving the erroneous impression that nothing of substance resulted from that historic gathering of over 2.5 million Black men from throughout the African Diaspora. Nothing could be further from the Truth, but perception is reality for most human beings, and we have allowed the perception that the MMM was just a “feel-good” event to prevail. Our annual EXPO of programs and ventures that were inspired by the MMM will put such false perceptions to rest permanently. The inaugural of these annual expositions should be planned for May of 2008, and communities will be invited to vie for the privilege of hosting the event.
WHAT WOULD SUCCESS LOOK LIKE OVER THE NEXT THREE YEARS?
We will have two million dues-paying, card-carrying members of the NBLC by October, 2008, and double that number by October, 2010. In either case, fifty percent (50%) of the membership would be “Responders” as defined previously in this document.
Our Annual Convention(s) would be the largest to take place since the glory days of Mister Garvey and the UNIA-ACL, and our Annual EXPO will dwarf anything else that calls itself an exposition. With two million Responders, we will have the capacity to deliver to our friends, and withhold from our enemies, the margin of success or victory, as the situation requires. Candidates for public office will be obliged to “curry favor” from the President of Black America because he or she will be able to DELIVER or WITHHOLD our support.
We will have a “lobby” capable of influencing governments that will compare to that of the Jews! We will have representatives stationed in every African and Caribbean nation, and selectively in other countries around the globe.
We will buy stock and otherwise invest in companies that involve themselves in the economic and political affairs of Black nations, and thus influence their activities in such a way that it benefits our African and Caribbean Brothers and Sisters.
We will be able to deliver money and other needed resources to organizations serving the legitimate needs of our people, and assure that Nationalists win in any competitive situation internal to our Race.
We will be able to deliver campaign financing for candidates willing to serve our people’s best interests, and the votes to get them elected.
We will deliver effective and functional education and training for our children, assuring a better future for our people.
We will implement a process to effectuate a PowerNomics-type plan to aggregate Black resources and vertically-integrate Black Nationalist businesses in Black communities throughout America. We must purchase controlling interest in Black-owned banks.
We will advocate creating one new Black Nationalist millionaire per month starting in October, 2008! This is why we must have one million “Responders;” when called upon to do so, they must purchase the product or service offered by the entity we have chosen to make wealthy. One condition of qualifying to be made “rich” by NBLC members is that the beneficiary would commit to become a “sponsor” of programs put on by members, and a major contributor to worthy charitable causes operated by the NBLC and its members-in-good-standing. Imagine the backdrop to a Tavis Smiley-type event where instead of Exxon-Mobil and the like, the sponsors would be successful Nationalist businesses and individuals!
We will develop the capacity to “propagandize” in the interest of our own people through effective use of all communications media and emerging technologies. We must have our own versions of the “Tom Joyner Morning Show,” the “Tavis Smiley Show,” and the “Michael Baisden Show.” We must produce and provide alternatives to “Maury Povich” and “Jerry Springer” whose depictions do so much harm to the public image of Black people. We must produce films and documentaries that serve to present Black people in a favorable light.
We will re-direct the focus of our young people from destructive and counter-productive pursuits, to constructive activities that have potential for the uplift and advancement of our people. If our young people can SELL illegal and destructive drugs, they can sell MATTAH products instead! We will endorse and support entertainers and athletes who evince good character and principled conduct and behavior. We will create and promote an alternative musical genre to “gangster-rap” for our young people to engage in, i.e.; contemporary versions of the harmonizing groups from the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s when Black music was about LOVING, not killing.
We need a “chain” of privately owned youth centers in Black communities around the country where Black youth can be taught character development and self-defense. We can produce our own “martial arts,” boxing, and wrestling competitions among our youth while providing them with positive role models in the process. Track and field events and competitions is another arena which is “ripe” for the NBLC to seize a dominant role, one in which our young people excel.
We will provide a neighborhood-based system of basic health care for our people, and a “Habitat for Humanity”-type mechanism for producing decent and affordable shelter for them, especially those at the lower end of the socio-economic “ladder.” The NBLC will bring W.E.B. DuBois’ “Talented Tenth” theory to fruition.
We will propose that our people explore and investigate the Spiritual practices of our Ancestors, especially those of the early Nile Valley Civilizations. We must reclaim the Spiritual ROOTS and Practices of African people.