When the cry of “black power” burst upon the American landscape, some observers ran for the hills or their shotguns, fearing it signaled the beginning of a racial war. Others, like the new leaders of CORE, hailed it as the solution for black Americans. A few people kept their heads and concluded that the slogan, while full of sound and fury, was only another symptom of America’s failure to face the huge economic and social problems underlying its racial crisis.
This might have been an occasion for some cool reflection and meaningful action by the nation’s leaders; but, by and large, their response was panic, or an opportunistic simulation of panic. No wonder that those who raised the slogan might have concl...
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