It is no surprise to me that the sixties decade of the twentieth century currently blazes under CNN’s program spotlight, highly featured in a multiple part series. Many know that my book “Trouble In Black Paradise” categorizes the sixties as being a modern pivotal point in social and Civil Rights development, virtually influencing the world. CNN’s series is a great companion piece to what’s found in these pages.
In the book I outline several critical facets of this era: a Black led movement literally became salvaged and rejuvenated by Black youth taking to the streets, audaciously putting their lives on the line to achieve what seemed impossible—Civil and Voting Rights laws (which boosted the momentum for more substantial labor and women’s rights); and laws keeping interracial marriage illegal (particularly between whites and Blacks) were struck down. One key development also got a foothold riding the coattails of this movement—gays fed up with unbridled police attacks fought back at New York’s Stonewall Inn, launching the liberation movement into daylight.
The Black Church in its American birth proved a priceless sanctuary for both slaves and free folks of African lineage; in essence a haven for the persecuted and the overall underdog. My book outlines in greater depth the Church’s tumultuous trail and how it has gotten here to our times. Shown is the gradual shift from an institution that boldly preserved a celebrated Black cultural/political legacy, to that which mostly touts values enveloped by Euro social styled prestige. Such a position has made the Black Church tremendously prone to a disastrous dynamic: falling prey to the New World’s puritan religious “politics” of saving souls—ironically an apparatus designed to minimize and contain Black progress itself.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his daring colleagues were immensely frustrated by this reality’s consequence, which stifled galvanizing Black social forces, especially during the movement’s late 1950’s campaigns. Though obscured by current media mouthpieces King wrote numerous speeches decrying Black congregational inaction, which made up the culture’s majority, forcing far fewer sources to tow an unbearable brunt on behalf of all.
Readers will see that King’s faction literally battled over the nation’s major coalesced Black Baptist institution, which was long controlled by conservatives who kept their worshipers strictly sidelined. Such a shameful condition is what actually all but petrified Civil Rights advancement, and what caused Black youth to grab the reigns, stepping over their wounded elder survivors (and indifferent distancing “Negroes”) to see legislation find a fruition.
It was these same majority Church’s that also found its new Black radical youth expanding social testing grounds within their inner sanctums, challenging another age old recognition—institutional Afro self-hatred. Soon you will get a glimpse of the fireworks that ensued.