Box 13, Folder 21, Document 13

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Box 13, Folder 21, Document 13

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/ ! . Reprinted with sion. ight
/ The S O cial Power by James P. Comer eprinted with permission. Copyright (

1967 by Scientific American, Inc. All right

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The concept of “black power” is an
inflammatory one. It was introduced
in an atmosphere of militancy (during
James Meredith’s march through Mis-
sissippi last June) and in many quar-
ters it has been equated with violence
and riots. As a result the term distresses
white friends of the Negro, frightens
and angers others and causes many
Negroes who are fearful of white dis-
approval to reject the concept without
considering its rationale and its merits.
The fact is that a form of black power
may be absolutely essential. The expe-
rience of Negro Americans, supported
by numerous historical and psycholog-
ical studies, suggests that the profound
needs of the poorest and most alienated
Negroes cannot be met—and that there
can therefore be no end to racial un-
rest—except through the influence of a
unified, organized Negro community
with genuine political and economic

Why aré Negro efforts to achieve
greater unity and power considered un-
necessary and even dangerous by so
many people, Negro as well as white,
friends as well as enemies? I believe it
is because the functions of group power
—and hence the consequences of po-
litical and economic impotence—are
not understood by most Americans.
The “melting pot” myth has obscured
the critical role of group power in the
adjustment of white immigrant groups
in this country.

When immigrants were faced with
discrimination, exploitation and abuse,
they turned in on themselves. Sustained
psychologically by the bonds of their
cultural heritage, they maintained fam-
ily, religious, and social institutions
that had great stabilizing force. The
institutions in turn fostered group unity.
Family stability and group unity—plus
access to political machinery, jobs in

industry and opportunities on the fron-
tier-—led to group power: immigrants
voted, gained political influence, held
public office, owned land and operated
businesses. Group power and influence
expanded individual opportunities and
facilitated individual achievement, and
within one or two generations most im-
migrants enjoyed the benefits of first-
class American citizenship,

The Negro experience has been very
different. The traumatic effects of sep-
aration from Africa, slavery, and the
denial of political and economic oppor-
tunities after the abolition of slavery
created divisive psychological and so-
cial forces in the Negro community.
Coordinated group action, which was
certainly appropriate for a despised
minority, has been too little evident;
Negroes have seldom moved cohesively
and effectively against discrimination
and exploitation, These abuses led to
the creation of an impoverished, under-
educated, and alienated group—a siz-
able minority among Negroes, dispro-
portionately large compared with other
ethnic groups. This troubled minority
has a self-defeating “style” of life that
leads to repeated failure, and its plight
and its reaction to that plight are at the
core of the continuing racial conflict
in the U.S. Only a meaningful and
powerful Negro community can help
members of this group realize their po-
tential, and thus alleviate racial unrest.
The importance of “black power” be-
comes comprehensible in the light of
the interrelation of disunity, impo-
tence, and alienation.

The roots of Negro division are of
African origin. It is important to real-
ize that the slave contingents brought
out of Africa were not from a single
ethnic group. They were from a num-
ber of groups and from many different
tribes with different languages, cus-
toms, traditions, and ways of life. Some
were farmers, some hunters and gath-
erers, some traders. There were old
animosities, and these were exacerbated
by the dynamics of the slave trade it-
self. (Today these same tribal animosi-
ties are evident, as in Nigeria, where
centuries-old conflict among the Ibo,
Hausa, and Yoruba tribes threatens
to disrupt the nation. A_ significant
number of slaves came from these very
tribes. )

The cohesive potential of the cap-
tives was low to begin with, and the
breakup of kinship groupings, which in
Africa had defined people’s roles and
relations, decreased it further. Presum-
ably if the Africans had been settled in
a free land, they would in time have
organized to build a new society meet-
ing their own needs. Instead they were
organized to meet the needs of their
masters. The slaves were scattered in
small groups (the average holding was
only between two and five slaves)
that were isolated from one another.
The small number and mixed origins
of each plantation’s slaves made the
maintenance of any oral tradition, and
thus of any tribal or racial identity and
pride, impossible. Moreover, any
grouping that was potentially cohesive
because of family, kinship, or tribal
connections was deliberately divided or
tightly controlled to prevent rebellion,
Having absolute power, the master
could buy and sell, could decree co-
habitation, punishment or death, could
provide food, shelter, and clothing as
he saw fit, The system was engraved

in law and maintained by the religious
and political authorities and the armed
forces; the high visibility of the slaves
and the lack of places to hide made
escape almost inconceivable.

The powerless position of the slave
was traumatic, as Stanley M. Elkins
showed in his study of Negro slavery.
The male was not the respected pro-
vider, the protector and head of his
household. The female was not rearing
her child to take his place in a reward-
ing society, nor could she count on
protection from her spouse or any re-
sponsible male. The reward for hard
work was not material goods and the
recognition of one’s fellow men but
only recognition from the master as a
faithful but inferior being. The master
—‘‘the man’”—became the necessary
object of the slave’s emotional invest-
ment, the person whose approval he
needed. The slave could love or hate
or have ambivalent feelings about the
relationship, but it was the most impor-
tant relationship of his life.

In this situation self-esteem de-
pended on closeness or similarity to
the master, not on personal or group
power and achievement, and it was
gained in ways that tended to divide
the Negro population. House slaves
looked down on field hands, ‘“mixed-
bloods” on “pure blacks,” slaves with
rich and important masters on slaves
whose masters had less prestige. There
was cleavage between the “troublemak-
ers” who promoted revolt and sabotage
and the “good slaves” who betrayed
them, and between slave Negroes and
iree ones. The development of positive
identity as a Negro was scarcely pos-


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It is often assumed that with the end
of the Civil War the situation of the
free Negroes was about the same as that
of immigrants landing in America. In
reality it was quite different. Negroes
emerging from slavery entered a so-
ciety at a peak of racial antagonism.
They had long since been stripped of
their African heritage; in their years
in America they had been unable to
create much of a record of their own;
they were deeply marked by the de-
grading experience of slavery. Most
significant, they were denied the weap-
ons they needed to become part of
American life: economic and political
opportunities. No longer of any value
to their former masters, they were now
direct competitors of the poor whites.
The conditions of life imposed by the
“Black codes” of the immediate post-
war period were in many ways as harsh
as slavery had been. In the first two
years after the end of the war many
Negroes suffered violence and death at
the hands of unrestrained whites; there
was starvation and extreme dislocation.

In 1867 the Reconstruction Acts put
the South under military occupation
and gave freedmen in the 11 Southern
states the right to vote. (In the North,
on the other hand, Negroes continued
to be barred from the polls in all but
nine states, either by specific racial
qualifications or by prohibitive taxa-
tion. Until the Fifteenth Amendment
was ratified in 1870, only some 5 per
cent of the Northern Negroes could
vote.) The Reconstruction Acts also
provided some military and legal pro-
tection, educational opporiunities, and
health care. Reconstruction did not,
however, make enough land available
to Negroes to create an adequate power
base. The plantation system meant that
large numbers of Negroes remained
under tight control and were vulnerable

to economic reprisals. Although Ne.
groes could outvote whites in some
states and did in fact control the Loui-
siana and South Carolina legislatures,
the franchise did not lead to real power,
‘This lack of power was largely duc
to the Negro’s economic vulnerability,
but the group divisions that had de-
veloped during slavery also played a
part. It was the “mixed-bloods” and
the house slaves of middle- and upper-
class whites who had acquired some
education and skills under slavery; now
many of these people became Negro
leaders. They often had emotional ties
to whites and a need to please them,
and they advanced the cause of the
Negroes as a group most gingerly.
Moreover, not understanding the causes
of the apathy, lack of achievement,
and asocial behavior of some of theii
fellows, many of them found their Ne-
gro identity a source of shame rathei
than psychological support, and they
were ready to subordinate the need:
of the group to personal gains tha
would give them as much social anc
psychological distance from their peo.
ple as possible. The result was tha
Negro leaders, with some notable excep:
tions, often became the tools of whit
leaders. Throughout the Reconstructior
period meaningful Negro power wa:
being destroyed, and long before thi
last Negro disappeared from Souther
legislatures Negroes were powerless.
Under such circumstances Negri
economic and educational progress wa
severely inhibited. Negro-owned busi
nesses were largely dependent on thi
impoverished Negro community an
were operaied by people who had littl
education or experience and who foun
it difficult to secure financing; the
could not compete with white busi
nesses. Negroes were largely untrainei
for anything but farm labor or domesti

work, and a white social structure main-
taining itself through physical force
and economic exploitation was not
likely to provide the necessary educa-
tional opportunities. Minimal facilities,
personnel and funds were provided for
the “Negro schools” that were estab-
lished, and only the most talented Ne-
groes were able—if they were lucky—
to obtain an education comparable to
that available to whites.

As John Hope Franklin describes it
in Reconstruction after the Civil War,
the Reconstruction was ineffective for
the vast majority of Negroes, and it
lasted only a short time: Federal troops
had left most Southern states by 1870.
While Negroes were still struggling for
a first foothold, national political de-
velopments made it advisable to pla-
cate Southern leaders, and the Federal
troops were recalled from the last three
Southern states in 1877. There was a
brief period of restraint, but it soon
gave way to violence and terror on a
large scale. Threats and violence drove
Negroes away from the polls. Racist
sherifis, legislators, and judges came
into office. Segregation laws were
passed, buttressed by court decisions
and law enforcement practices, and
erected into an institution that rivaled
slavery in its effectiveness in excluding
Negroes from public affairs—business,
the labor movement, government, and
public education.

‘At the time—and in later years—white
people often pointed to the most de-
pressed and unstable Negro and in ef-
fect made his improvement in educa-
tion and behavior a condition for the
granting of equal opportunities to ail
Negroes. What kind of people made up
this most disadvantaged segment of the
Negro community? I believe it can be
shown that these were the Negroes who
had lived under the most traumatic and
disorganized conditions as slaves. Fam-
ily life had been prohibited, discour-
aged or allowed to exist only under
precarious conditions, with no recourse
from sale, separation, or sexual viola-
tion, Some of these people had been
treated as breeding stock or work ani-
mals; many had experienced brutal and
sadistic physical and sexual assaults.
In many cases the practice of religion
was forbidden, so that even self-respect
as “a child of God” was denied them.

Except for running away (and more
tried to escape than has generally been
realized) there was nothing these slaves
could do but adopt various defense
mechanisms. They responded in vari-
ous ways, as is poignantly recorded in
a collection of firsthand accounts ob-
tained by Benjamin A. Botkin. Many
did as little work as they could without
being punished, thus developing work
habits that were not conducive to suc-
cess after slavery. Many sabotaged the
master’s tools and other property, thus
evolving a disrespect for property in

general. Some resorted to a massive

denial of the reality of their lives and
took refuge in apathy, thus creating the
slow-moving, slow-thinking stereotype
of the Southern Negro. Others resorted
instead to boisterous “acting out” be-
havior and limited their interests to
the fulfillment of such basic needs as
food and sex.

After slavery these patterns of be-

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havior persisted. The members of this
severely traumatized group did not
value family life. Moreover, for eco-
nomic reasons and by force of custom
the family often lacked a male head,
or at least a legal husband and father,
Among these people irresponsibility,
poor work habits, disregard for con-
ventional standards, and anger toward
whites expressed in violence toward
one another combined to form a way
of life—a style—that caused them to
be rejected and despised by whites and
other Negroes alike. They were bound
to fail in the larger world.

When they did fail, they turned in on
their own subculture, which accord-
ingly became self-reinforcing. Children
born into it learned its way of life. Iso-
lated and also insulated from outside
influences, they had little opportunity
to change. The values, behavior pat-
terns and sense of alienation transmit-
ted within this segment of the popula-
tion from generation to generation ac-
count for the bulk of the illegitimacy,
crime, and other types of asocial be-
havior that are present in dispropor-

tionate amounts in the Negro commu-

nity today, This troubled subgroup has
always been a minority, but its behavior
constitutes many white people’s con-
cept of “typical” Negro behavior and
even tarnishes the image many other
Negroes have of themselves. Over the
years defensive Negro leaders have
regularly blamed the depressed sub-
group for creating a bad image; the
members of the subgroup have blamed
the leaders for “selling out.” There has
been just enough truth in both accu-
sations to keep them alive, accentuat-
ing division and perpetuating conflicts,
and impeding the development of group
consciousness, cooperation, power, and
mutual gains.

It is surprising, considering the harsh


conditions of slavery, that there were
any Negroes who made a reasonable
adjustment to freedom. Many had
come from Africa with a set of values
that included hard work and stability
of family and tribal life. (I suspect, but
I have not been able to demonstrate,
that in Africa many of these had been
farmers rather than hunters and gath-
erers.) As slaves many of them found
the support and rewards required to
maintain such values through their in-
tense involvement in religion, From this
group, after slavery, came the God-
fearing, hardworking, law-abiding do-
mestics and laborers who prepared their
children for responsible living, in many
cases making extreme personal sacri-
fices to send them to trade school or
college. (The significance of this
church-oriented background in motivat-
ing educational effort and success even
today is indicated by some preliminary
findings of a compensatory education
program for which J am a consultant.
Of 125 Negro students picked for the
program from 10 southeastern states
solely on the basis of academic prom-
ise, 95 per cent have parents who are
regular churchgoers, deeply involved
as organizers and leaders in church af-
fairs. )

For a less religious group of Negroes
the discovery of meaning, fulfillment,
and a sense of worth lay in a different
direction. Their creative talents brought
recognition in the arts, created the blues
and jazz, and opened the entertain-
ment industry to Negroes. Athletic ex-
cellence provided another kind of
achievement. Slowly, from among the
religious, the creative, and the athletic,
a new, educated, and talented middle
class began to emerge that had less
need of white approval than the Ne-
groes who had managed to get ahead
in earlier days. Large numbers of Ne-

groes should have risen into the middle
class by way of these relatively stable
groups, but because of the lack of Ne-
gro political and economic power and
the barriers of racial prejudice many
could not. Those whose aspirations
were frustrated often reacted destruc-
tively by turning to the depressed Ne-
gro subgroup and its way of life; the
subculture of failure shaped by slavery
gained new recruits and was perpetu-
ated by a white society’s obstacles to
acceptance and achievement.

In the past 10 years or so the “Negro
revolt”—the intensified legal actions,
nonviolent demonstrations, court deci-
sions, and legislation—and changing
economic conditions have brought
rapid and significant gains for middle-
class Negroes. The mass of low-income
Negroes have made little progress. how-
ever; many have been aroused by civil
rights talk but few have benefited. Of
all Negro families, 40 per cent are clas-
sified as “poor” according to Social Se-
curity Administration criteria. (The
figure for white families is 11 per cent.)
Low-income Negroes have menial jobs
or are unemployed; they live in segre-
gated neighborhoods and are exploited
by landlords and storekeepers; they are
often the victims of crime and of the
violent, displaced frustrations of their
friends and neighbors. The urban riots
of the past few years have been the
reaction of a small segment of this
population to the frustrations of its,
daily existence.

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Why is it that so many Negroes have
been unable to take advantage of the
Negro revolt as the immigrants did of
opportunities offered them? The ma-
jor reason is that the requirements for
economic success have been raised.
The virtually free land on the frontier
is gone. The unskilled and semiskilled
jobs that were available to white im-
migrants are scarce today, and many
unions controlled by lower-middie-class
whites bar Negroes to keep the jobs
for their present members. The law
does not help here because Negroes
are underrepresented in municipal and
state legislative bodies as well as in
Congress. Negroes hold few policy-
making positions in industry and Ne-
gro small businesses are a negligible
source of employment.

Employment opportunities exist, of
course—for highly skilled workers and
technicians. These jobs require educa-
tion and training that many Negroes,
along with many white workers, lack.
The training takes time and requires
motivation, and it must be based on
satisfactory education through high
school. Most poor Negroes lack that ed-
ucation, and many young Negroes are
not getting it today. There are Negro
children who are performing adequately
in elementary school but who will fail
by the time they reach high school,
either because their schools are inade-
quate or because their homes and sub-
culture will simply not sustain their
efforts in later years.

It is not enough to provide a “head
start”; studies have shown that gains
made as the result of the new preschool
enrichment programs are lost, in most
cases, by the third grade. Retraining
programs for workers and programs for
high school dropouts are palliative
measures that have limited value. Some
of the jobs for which people are being

trained will not exist in a few years.
Many students drop out of the dropout
programs. Other students have such
self-defeating values and behavior that
they will not be employable even if
they complete the programs.

A number of investigators (Daniel
P. Moynihan is one) have pointed to
the structure of the poorer Negro fam-
ily as the key to Negro problems. They
point to an important area but miss the
crux of the problem. Certainly the lack
of a stable family deprives many Ne-
gro children of psychological security
and of the values and behavior patterns
they need in order to achieve success.
Certainly many low-income Negro fam-
ilies lack a father. Even if it were pos-
sible to legislate the father back into
the home, however, the grim picture is
unchanged if his own values and con-
duct are not compatible with achieve-
ment. A father frustrated by society
often reacts by mistreating his chil-
dren. Even adequate parents despair
and are helpless in a subculture that
leads their children astray. The point
of intervention must be the subculture
that impinges on the family and influ-
ences its values and style of behavior
and even its structure,

How, then, does one break the cir-
cle? Many white children who found
their immigrant family and subculture
out of step with the dominant American
culture and with their own desires were
able to break away and establish a
sense of belonging to a group outside
their own—if the pull was strong
enough. Some children in the depressed
Negro group do this too. A specific
pull is often needed: some individual
or institution that sets a goal or acts as
a model.

The trouble is that racial prejudice
and alienation from the white and Ne-
gro middle class often mean that there

is little pull from the dominant culture
on lower-class Negro children. In my
work in schools in disadvantaged areas
as a consultant from the Child Study
Center at Yale I have found that many
Negro children perceive the outside
culture as a separate white man’s
world. Once they are 12 or 14 years
old—the age at which a firm sense of
racial identity is established—many
Negroes have a need to shut out the
white man’s world and its values and
institutions and also to reject “white
Negroes,” or the Negro middle class.
Since these children see their problems
as being racial ones, they are more
likely to learn how to cope with these
problems from a middle-class Negro
who extends himself than from a white
person, no matter how honest and free
of hostility and guilt the white person
may be.

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Unfortunately the Negro community is
not now set up to offer its disadvan-
taged members a set of standards and
a psychological refuge in the way the
white immigrant subcultures did. There
is no Negro institution beyond the fam-
ily that is enough in harmony with the
total American culture to transmit its
behavioral principles and is meaningful
enough to Negroes to effect adherence
to those principles and sufficiently ac-
cepted by divergent elements of the
Negro community to act as a cohesive
force. The church comes closest to per-
forming this function, but Negroes be-
long to an exceptional number of dif-
ferent denominations, and in many
cases the denominations are divided
and antagonistic. The same degree of
division is found in the major fraternal
and civic organizations and even in civil
rights groups.

There is a special reason for some
of the sharp divisions in Negro organ-
izations. With Negroes largely barred
from business, politics and certain la-
bor unions, the quest for power and
leadership in Negro organizations has
been and continues to be particularly
intense, and there is a great deal of
conflict. Only a few Negroes have a
broad enough view of the total society
to be able to identify the real sources
of their difficulties. And the wide di-
vergence of their interests often makes
it difficult for them to agree on a course
of action. All these factors make Negro
groups vulnerable to divide-and-con-
quer tactics, either inadvertent or de-

Viewing such disarray, altruistic
white people and public and private
agencies have moved into the apparent
vacuum—often failing to recognize
that, in spite of conflict, existing Ne-
gro institutions were meeting important
psychological needs and were in close
contact with their people. Using these
meaningiul institutions as vehicles for
delivering new social services would
have strengthened the only forces ca-
pable of supporting and organizing the
Negro community. Instead, the new
agencies, public and private, have ig-
nored the existing institutions and have
tried to do the job themselves. The
agencies often have storefront loca-
tions and hire some “indigenous”
workers, but the class and racial gap
is difficult to cross. The thong-sandaled,
long-haired white girl doing employ-
ment counseling may be friendly and
sympathetic to Negroes, but she cannot
possibly tell a Negro youngster (in-
deed, she does not know that she
should tell him): “You’ve got to look
better than the white applicant to get
the job.” Moreover, a disadvantaged
Negro—or any Negro—repeatedly
helped by powerful white people while
his own group appears powerless or
unconcerned is unlikely to develop sat-
isfactory feelings about his group or
himself. The effects of an undesirable
racial self-concept among many Ne-
groes have been documented repeat-
edly, yet many current programs tend
to perpetuate this basic problem rather
than to relieve it.

A solution is suggested by the fact that
many successful Negroes no longer feel
the need to maintain psychological and
social distance from their own people.
Many of them want to help. Their pres-
ence and tangible involvement in the
Negro community would tend to bal-
ance the pull—the comforts and the
immediate pleasures—of the subcul-
ture. Because the functions of Negro
organizations have been largely pre-
empted by white agencies, however,
no Negro institution is available through
which such people can work to over-
come a century of intra-Negro class

Recently a few Negroes have begun
to consider a plan that could meet some
of the practical needs, as well as the
spiritual and psychological needs, of
the Negro community. In Cleveland,
New York, Los Angeles, and some
smaller cities new leaders are emerg-
ing who propose to increase Negro co-
hesiveness and self-respect through seli-
help enterprises: cooperatives that
would reconstruct slums or operate
apartment buildings and businesses
providing goods and services at fair
prices. Ideally these enterprises would
be owned by people who mean some-
thing to the Negro community—Ne-
ero athletes, entertainers, artists, pro-
fessionals, and government workers—
and by Negro churches, fraternal
groups, and civil rights organizations.
The owners would share control of
the enterprises with the people of the

Such undertakings would be far more
than investment opportunities for well-
to-do Negroes. With the proper struc-
iure they would become permanent and
tangible institutions on which the Ne-
gro community could focus without
requiring a “white enemy” and intol-
erable conditions to unify it. Through

this mechanism Negroes who had
achieved success could come in contact
with the larger Negro group. Instead
of the policy king, pimp, and prostitute
being the models of success in the sub-
culture, the Negro athlete, business-
man, professional, and _ entertainer
might become the models once they
could be respected because they were
obviously working for the Negro com-
munity. These leaders would then be
in a position to encourage and promote
high-level performance in school and
on the job, At the same time broad
measures to “institutionalize” the total
Negro experience would increase ra-
cial pride, a powerful motivating force.
The entire program would provide the
foundation for unified political action
to give the Negro community repre-
sentatives who speak in its best inter-

That, after all, has been the pattern
in white America, There was, and still
is, Irish power, German, Polish, Italian,
and, Jewish power—and indeed white
Anglo-Saxon Protestant power—but
color obviously makes these groups
less clearly identifiable than Negroes,
Churches and synagogues, cultural and
fraternal societies, unions, business as-
sociations, and networks of allied fam-
ilies and “clans” have served as centers
of power that maintain group con-
sciousness, provide jobs and develop
new opportunities, and join to form
pressure and voting blocs. The “na-
tionality divisions” of the major par-
ties and the balanced ticket are two
reminders that immigrant loyalties are
still not completely melted.

The idea of creating Negro enter-
prises and institutions is not intended
as a rejection of genuinely concerned
white peopie or as an indictment of
all existing organizations. White peo-
ple of good will with interest, skills,

and funds are needed and—contrary
to the provocative assertions of a few
Negroes—are still welcome in the Ne-
gro community. The kind of “black
power” that is proposed would not
promote riots; rather, by providing con-
structive channels for the energies re-
leased by the civil rights movement, it
should diminish the violent outbursts
directed against the two symbols of
white power and oppression: the police
and the white merchants.

To call for Negro institutions, more-
over, is not to argue for segregation or
discrimination. Whether we like it or
not, a number of large cities are going
to become predominantly Negro in a
short time. The aim is to make these
cities places where people can live de-
cently and reach their highest potential
with or without integration. An inte-
grated society is the ultimate goal, but
it may be a second stage in some areas.
Where immediate integration is pos-
sible it should be effected, but integra-
tion takes place most easily among
educated and secure people. And in
the case of immediate integration an
organized and supportive Negro com-
munity would help its members to
maintain a sense of adequacy in a sit-
uation in which repeated reminders of
the white head start often make Ne-
groes feel all the more inferior.

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The power structure of white society—
industry, banks, the press, government
—can continue, either inadvertently or
deliberately, to maintain the divisions
in the Negro community and keep it
powerless. Social and economic statis-
tics and psychological studies indicate
that this would be a mistake. For many
reasons the ranks of the alienated are
growing. No existing program seems
able to meet the needs of the most
troubled and troublesome group. It is
generally agreed that massive, immedi-
ate action is required. The form of that
action should be attuned, however, to
the historically determined need for
Negro political and economic power
that will facilitate Negro progress and
give Negroes a reasonable degree of
control over their own destiny.

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James P. Comer is a fellow in psychi
atry at the Yale School of Medicine
He received a bachelor’s degree fron
Indiana University in 1956 and wa
graduated from the Howard Univer
sity College of Medicine in 1960. Fol
lowing two years as a fellow in publi
health at Howard, he took a master’
degree in public health at the Univer
sity of Michigan in 1964. He joine,
the psychiatric residency program a
Yale the same year.

“My interest in race relations,” hh
says, “developed at an early age, in par
from beth troublesome and satisfyin,
experiences as a Negro youngster in
low-income family in a racially inte
grated community.”

He adds that work as a voluntee
in an agency concerned with social re
habilitation of families with problem
influenced his decision “to train in psy
chiatry and to focus on preventive an
social aspects.”

This article first appeared in th
April 1967 Scientific American.

The photegraphs accompanying thi
article are by Joel Katz. The picture
were taken in Mississippi and Connect
icut in the summers of 1964 and 1966
The Mississippi photographs are from
Scholar of the House project which war
the Strong Prize in American Liter
ture in 1965.


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