Arizona Republic from Phoenix, Arizona on September 22, 1968 · Page 10
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September 22, 1968

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Arizona Republic from Phoenix, Arizona · Page 10

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Location:
Phoenix, Arizona
Issue Date:
Sunday, September 22, 1968
Page:
Page 10
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Page 10 article text (OCR)

Black Power parley turns from revolt By LEON DASH Washington Post Service WASHINGTON - The black middle class intelligentsia that formed the bulk of delegates to the third National Conference on Black Power were more interested in radical reform of existing institutions than revolution to change the Negro's second class status in America. A few dissidents were disenchanted with the reform orientation, claiming that neither change nor revolution could elevate the black man's position in the United States. They said only political sovereignty would meet the criteria of reaping the benefits of any political and economic system. Such a situation could be achieved only by establishing a separate state, they feel. Aside from the intellectual theorizing, the most starkly evident fact at the conference was the scarcity of the black poor. > AN OVERWHELMING majority of the 4,000 delegates were youthful black college students dressed in the necessary African raiment and displaying the Afro hah* style. Negro professionals — doctors, lawyers and ministers — were the second largest group. The absence of the "little people" was a sore point with one conference official, Wal» ter Palmer, a black nationalist leader in Philadelphia. On the third day of the conference, Palmer said the black power movement would achieve little if there was no grassroots participation. During the four days of the conference, Palmer gathered residents from North Philadelphia's sprawling ghetto and brought them into the decision making sessions. PALMER'S ACTION provided some of the limited participation of the poverty stricken. The class difference was evident when the conference first opened at the Episcopal Church of the Advocate. Residents of "North Philly" stood on the fringes of the crowd that surrounded the huge church, which looked like a greystone cathedral out of medieval Europe. It was built when that part of the city was all white and the now decaying housing was brand new. The church offered a strange parody of the neighborhood's past middle class affluence and the hopes of the delegates to achieve the same. The curious onlookers realized this conference was connected to their interests but weren't quite sure what the benefits would be. Some didn't recognize the blownup portrait of Black Panther defense minister, Huey Newton, hanging from the church's entrance. (Newton recently was convicted of voluntary manslaughter in the slaying of an Oakland, Calif., white policeman.) WHEN INFORMED by a delegate who Newton was, Sunday, Sept. 22, 1968 /wAlt "' «The Arizona Republic A-5 Ji one young Philadelphian responded with awe. "Oh yeah, I've heard of him. He's a bad (obscenity)." Probably lacking the $10 registration fee, the watchers hung out the windows, sat on the stoops and leaned against the parked cars, wondering if this movement would include them finally as the civil rights movement had not. Palmer told the delegates how this class division must be bridged. "There should be no bastards in any black community," he said."All so-called illegitimate children are your responsibility. All of us are brothers and sisters. The black community should be a community that is based on love. We should be as one." Maulana Ron Karenga, the conference's theoritician, put it another way. "NONE OF US are of the middle class or of the poor," said Karenga, who gained national prominence after organizing the black militant group US in the aftermath of the 1965 Watts riot. "For we all belong to the class of the dispossessed." Angered by the systematic exclusion of the Negro from the American middle class dream, the delegates were not directing their frustration toward retribution but rather by which method they could acquire an equitable share in the horn of plenty. Undoubtedly, there were those who really believed in an armed revolutionary concept that was hysterically associated with the phrase "Black Power" several years ago. They were few in number. At this conference, Black Power had matured into a concept of control "of the space black people occupy," a concept not alien to the ethnic minorities that migrated to the United States during the last century. IRAN GETS PHANTOMS TEHRAN (AP) - Iran's air force became the third in the world, after the United States and Britain, to be equipped with Phantom Jet fighters when two squadrons bought from the United States went into service in midweek. DUTCH AUCTION! 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