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A Common Destiny: Blacks and American Society (1989)

Chapter: Identity and Institutions in the Black Community

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Suggested Citation:"Identity and Institutions in the Black Community." National Research Council. 1989. A Common Destiny: Blacks and American Society. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/1210.
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4 I DENTITY AN D I NSTITUTIONS IN THE BLACK COMMUNITY 161

Jacob Lawrence Rooffops (No. 1, This Is Harlem) (1943) Gouache with pencil underdrawing on paper sheet Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution, Gift of Joseph H. Hirshhorn, 1966

The world of black Americans has al- ways been a part of American society, but the black and white worlds have also always been mostly separate. The inevitable consequences have been distinctive features of black culture and social organization. In this chapter we sketch this society within a society, in which the social participation of most black Americans has been experienced. We focus on change over time in overall social structure, in black institutions, and in concepts of identity. The communities and organizations created by blacks prior to the 1960s, as well as changing concepts of black identity during and afterward, were two crucial bases for the achievement of sweeping improvements in blacks' legal and political status during that decade. The activism facilitated by those black infrastructures led to improvements in the education, health, and economic position of many blacks and altered the social structure of black . . communities. SOCIAL STRUCTURE Major changes in black social structure have resulted from the rising incomes, better occupations, and increased educations of many blacks. But as higher status blacks have left inner-city areas, there has been increased racial stratification among blacks. The service needs of poorer blacks have placed strains on many black institutions, including schools, churches, and voluntary service organizations. These strains can be seen by the proliferation 163

A COMMON DESTINY: BLACKS AND AMERICAN SOCIETY of activities devoted to the material needs of poor blacks by black organiza- tions. Further strains on black institutions and organizations resulted from the civil rights movement: improved access of higher status blacks to majority white institutions has led to alterations in black leadership structure, prob- lems of recruitment and retention of black talent by black organizations, and reduced participation of higher status blacks in many spheres of black com- munity life. In the process, the well-knit, if poor and underserviced, black communities of decades past have lost some of their cultural cohesion and distinct identity. Although there is some evidence that higher status blacks have somewhat less attachment to a need to preserve group identity, most blacks retain a high degree of racial pride and a conscious need to retain aspects of black culture as a significant component of their American iden- tity. Because of these desires and needs, predominantly black institutions continue to play important roles in the lives of most blacks. BEFORE THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT A Se,gre,gated Soc?ety Five decades ago, black and white Americans inhabited parallel but con- nected societies. The common pattern was one of separate black and white communities that were socially and culturally distinctive. For example, partly because of ghettoization, social classes within black communities were fre- quently not spatially isolated from one another as was often the case in white communities (Drake and Cayton, 1945:659; Osofsky, 1971; Spear, 1967~. This structure resulted partly from the residential restrictions imposed on blacks by segregation and discrimination and partly from the minute size of the black middle and upper classes. Throughout the pre-1960 period, the black class structure was often de- scribed as being pyramid shaped, with a large lower class, a small middle class, and a tiny upper class. In contrast, the white class structure was described as being diamond shaped, with a small lower class, a huge middle class, and a small upper class-but the lower class being smaller than the black lower class and the other two classes being much larger (Drake, 1965:785; DuBois, 1903; Myrdal, 1944~. In 1940 the status of the vast majority of black Americans was well below middle class. More than 1 of every 2 black adults had no more than 8 years of education, and 62 percent of working black men and women were em- ployed either in agriculture or in menial personal service jobs. In 1960, 31 percent of black workers were still employed in those industries. Throughout the 1950s, well over one-half of blacks lived in households with incomes below the poverty threshold (see Chapter 6~. In 1953, for example, 1 of every 3 black families had incomes below $3,000 (in 1974 constant dollars), while just 1 of 50 had incomes above $15,000. Comparative figures for white families were slightly more than 1 of 8 and 1 of 10, respectively. As 164

IDENTITY AND INSTITUTIONS IN THE BLACK COMMUNITY FIGURE t1 Blacks in selected occupations, 1940-1980. 50 In - ~ 40 Cal oh 3 ° 30 Cal 111 20 of 10 - Mail~ - Firefighters - o 1940 1950 1960 Law Enforcement Personnel is/ - 1970 1 980 YEAR Source: Data Tom decennial censuses. late as 1960, 13 percent of all black workers were in white-collar occupations, compared with 44 percent of whites. The small black middle and upper classes prior to 1960 were primarily composed of small business owners and professionals, such as teachers, min- isters, doctors, and lawyers. Between 1912 and 1938, 73 percent of all black college graduates became ministers or teachers (Halsey, 1938, cited in Bates, 1986:23~. These professionals almost exclusively serviced the segregated black community. Most blacks were excluded from managerial, sales, and clerical positions in the wider society. Similar barriers to black employment as public servants led to small numbers of black police officers, firefighters, and postal workers (see Figure 4-1~. Minimal employment in these occupations hin- dered the development of a potentially important non-college-educated black middle class. Networks of churches and voluntary associations provided a major means of communication and support as well as lines of social division (Drake and Cayton, 1945:659; Frazier, 1963~. Although voluntary associations and church memberships tended to be somewhat divided along class lines, there was also a general sense of community. The Chicago Commission on Race Relations's observation on community identity in 1922 held as true in the 1930s and through the 1950s as it had when published (Bracey et al., 1971:176~: Living and associating for the most part together, meeting in the same centers for face-to-face relations, trusting to their own physicians, lawyers, and ministers, a compact community with its own fairly definite interests and sentiments has grown up. 165

A COMMON DESTINY: BLACKS AND AMERICAN SOCIETY Black parallel organizations were not imitations of white society as some have suggested (see Myrdal, 1944:43~. While many black groups, such as the Prince Hall Masons and the National Medical Association, had organi- zational structures similar to those of white counterpart groups, they also imbued their activities with a distinctive world view. For example, the Afri- can Methodist Episcopal Church is a Methodist organization, but it also has its own mode of religious emphasis and a history of antislavery and civil rights activity that give it an identity of its own. Similarly, black newspapers provided, and still provide, a different perspective on the news: coverage by the black press of post-World War II Third World nations' struggles for independence, for example, frequently offered perspectives not generally available in the white American press. Black parallel society was not autonomous: lack of black control over local governments and other important institutions made that impossible. The subordinate social status of the black community was apparent in the weak position of blacks in government and the small size of the black business community. For example, in 1941, there were 33 black elected officials in the entire United States. In 1965 the number was still less than 300 (see Chapter 5~. Bank Cultural Life From the 194ds through the 1960s, urban and rural black communities were in a constant state of flux, but they were connected by their racial identity and the continuing flow of rural to urban migrants. Such commu- nities were transforming the cultural context of black and white America. Cultural expression in black communities was distinctive, imaginative, and often indicative of future trends in American popular culture. The arts as practiced by blacks were often linked with social activism and seen through the frame of reference with which blacks viewed American society. For example, key black visual artists-such as Richmond Barthe, Romare Bear- den, Hale Woodruff, and Charles Johnson-frequently used realistic and naturalistic depictions of the world that gave their work social significance (Powell, 1986~. The quest for full participation and civil rights gave black writers an energy seldom rivaled in contemporary American literature. As in the other arts, the main emphasis in literature was on naturalism-"the literary depiction of environmental forces which shape and determine human behavior" (Gates, 1986:5~. During the war years, black authors published works of fiction, drama, and poetry that spoke to social conditions of black Americans: Wil- liam Attaway's Blood on the Forge (1941), Sterling Brown's Negro Caravan (1941), Saunders Redding's No Day of Triumph (1941), Margaret Walker's book of poetry My People (1942), Binga Desmond's He Who Would Die (1943), Frank Yerby's Health Card (1944), Melvin Tolson's book of poems Rendezvous with Africa (1944), and Gwendolyn Brooks's poetry A Street in Brooklyn (1945) were important examples. 166

IDENTITY AND INSTITUTIONS IN THE BLACK COMMUNITY Richard Wright's works of the 1940s and 1950s, including Native Son (1941), Blink Boy (1945), and The Outsider (1953), were influential for other writers. Wright's emphasis had been the dulling impact of racism on blacks: "I sensed that Negro life was a sprawling land of unconscious suffering, and that there were but a few Negroes who knew the meaning of their lives, who could tell their [own] story" (cited in Gates, 1986:13~. \ , In contrast, Ralph Ellison believed this approach gave an undue emphasis on the disintegrating effects of racism. Both Ellison and James Baldwin contested Wright's bleak view by concentrating on conscious and active black people, rather than blacks' actions as mere responses to racism. Blacks' experience of the rural to urban migration were depicted in Arna Wendell Bontemps and Jack Conroy's They Seek a City (1945) and James Baldwin's (go TellIton the Mountain (1953~. The complex connection of the black movement's relationship to white radicals and liberals was one theme de- picted in Ralph Ellison's critically acclaimed In~silole Man (1952~. Other works reflected on the racism that had permeated the military during the war, for example, Chester Hime's If He Hollers Let Him Go (1945~. The dire realities of inner-city life for black youth were illustrated in Ann Petry's The Street (1946) and Claude Brown's Manchild in the promised Land (1965~. A number of important works by black playwrights dramatizing black life, rebellion, and resilience under racial injustice appeared in the 1950s and 1960s. Few appeared on Broadway, and those that did seldom ran for very long. In general, the emphasis on social commitment and naturalistic depic- tions of reality "as it is" drama by black playwrights paralleled the works of many black novelists. Lorraine Hansberry, author of A Raisin' in the Sun (1959), now a classic of the American stage, called for a politically relevant black art. During the 1920s and 1930s, important musical developments had oc- curred in many cities, particularly Chicago, Kansas City, and New York. In the blues clubs of Chicago's Maxwell Street, musicians Muddy Waters, John Lee Williamson, Joe Williams, and Robert Nighthawk (among others) were developing a new urban blues; they also recorded in the white-owned studios of Victor Records and other companies. The World War II Chicago blues was a dynamic blend of country and developing city styles. By the end of World War II, this new urban music was becoming known as jump blues or rhythm and blues, R8cB. It would soon have enormous impact on American popular music and then music worldwide. It was a musical manifesto of the urbanizing black population, most of whom, including the musicians, were from the South but who increasingly saw themselves as city people. As Robert Palmer (1981:146) notes: \ , The new R&1B or jump blues, appealed to black listeners who no longer wished to identify themselves with life down home, and the field offered attractive financial opportunity for skilled jazzmen willing to "play for the people. " . . . By 1945 a number of Chicago clubs . . . were switching over to city R&B. 167

A COMMON DESTINY: BLACKS AND AMERICAN SOCIETY Meanwhile Duke Ellington, Coleman Hawkins, Count Basie, and Louis Armstrong had reached what Ralph Ellison calls "high artistic achievement" in the bluesjazz tradition (Ellison, 1964~. In New York during the 1940s, the revolutionary music known as hop or bebop was being pioneered by Charlie Parker, John Birks Gillispie, Thelonious Monk, Bud Powell, Max Roach, and Kenny Clarke, among others. In the 1950s and 1960s, modern jazz became transformed into even more innovative forms under the tutelage of such musician-composers as Bud Powell, Miles Davis, and John Coltrane. The development of bebop and rhythm and blues were testimonies to the ways in which urbanization was contributing to artistic expression. The city undoubtedly generated alienation and anomie, but black people transformed their urban experience in ways that drew from rural roots. And for many blacks, the revolution in music was just that, a revolution. As Marable (1984:52) wrote: [It was] on the "cultural front" what the Montgomery boycott, demon- strations and the new militant mood were in politics. It shattered estab- lished conventions; it mocked traditions; in form and grace, it transcended old boundaries to life and thought. It became the appropriate cultural background for their activities to destroy km Crow. AFTER THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT The civil rights movement and the consequent changes in laws and social attitudes opened new opportunities for blacks. As many schools desegregated and as more resources were devoted to schools with black pupils, more young blacks completed high school and continued on to higher education. Many professions and businesses, anxious to overcome histories and reputa- tions of white exclusiveness, recruited qualified black graduates. Racial dis- crimination, although far from being eradicated, became illegal and contrary to the nationally accepted ethos. Educated and economically successful black families could live in better neighborhoods of cities and in suburbs (although most were still segregated neighborhoods). As many did so, inner-city black neighborhoods lost many of their most affluent and skilled residents. Re- maining are many blacks who have not "made it" and whose children will rarely do so either-hundreds of thousands of blacks in demoralized neigh- borhoods. Thus, a monumental black poverty problem coexists with the growth of a substantial black middle class. Some of the more important consequences of the enlarged opportunities for black Americans and the increasing socioeco- nomic diversity within the black population have been a significant alteration in black leadership structure; problems in the recruitment and retention of talented blacks by black organizations and institutions; and the creation of new forms of black organizations. 168

IDENTITY AND INSTITUTIONS IN THE BLACK COMMUNITY The Black Middle Class In terms of both occupations and incomes, the 1960s were a watershed decade for the growth of the black middle class. The proportion of black white-collar workers doubled from 13 to 26 percent, and unlike earlier decades, some of this growth occurred outside traditional black occupations, most notably in government employment. The proportion of black families with incomes above the white median family income also grew, from 13 to 21 percent. Due to the structural barriers facing blacks in many occupations prior to World War II, the distribution of black white-collar workers was heavily skewed toward a handful of occupations. In 1940, teachers accounted for 36 percent of all blacks in white-collar occupations, self-employed business- men for 27 percent, and the clergy for 10 percent. By 1980, teachers ac- counted for 27 percent of blacks in white-collar occupations, while self- employed managers had declined to just over 1 percent and the clergy to 1 percent. Meanwhile, the share of salaried managers in the private sector increased from 6 to 18 percent, public sector managers from less than 1 to 12 percent, and social workers from slightly more than 1 to nearly 6 percent (see Table 4-1~. The prewar black middle class was drawn heavily from the salaried and managerial private sector; the post-1960s black middle class is much more rooted in the public sector. In 1940, 2 percent of black managers were employed by government; this percentage had risen to 27 percent by 1970 and to 37 percent by 1980. A majority of black professionals are government employees compared with less than 40 percent of white professionals. Over- all, 27 percent of blacks were employed in government in 1980, compared with 17 percent of the total work force. The growth of the new black middle class, contrary to some expectations, has created a black bourgeoisie that is more predisposed to align itself politi- cally with the black lower class than was the case earlier. This pattern may be due to a "structural liberalism" stemming from a shared interest, rein- forcing considerations of ideology or race solidarity, in seeing the public sector expand (Smith, 1982:36-38~. It may be significant that a large pro- portion of lower status blacks receive public assistance and community ser- vices from programs that are disproportionately staffed by black profession- als. Thus, the lack of a pronounced class differential in black attitudes toward the public sector can be partly attributed to the fact that the class structure and vested interest in the expansion of the public sector intersect in a very different way among blacks than among whites. The Changing Black Elite The trends of the black middle class in the occupational structure have had important implications for black leadership. For example, the occupa 169

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IDENTITY AND INSTITUTIONS IN THE BLACK COMMUNITY tional distribution of the black elite, as measured by Who's Who Among Black Americans and its earlier equivalent, shows significant changes. Educators now constitute 32 percent of the black elite, up from 14 percent before World War II. The representation of medical doctors has dropped from 26 to 13 percent, and the clergy has dropped from 14 to 5 percent. The categories of government officials and business executives, apparently too scarce to merit tabulation before World War II, comprised 12 and 11 per- cent, respectively, of the black elite as of 1978 (Sites and Mullins, 1985 :279) . Another way to analyze the composition of the black elite is to examine the institutional affiliations of the people represented on the list of the 100 most influential black persons compiled annually by Ebony magazine since 1963 (Smith, 1982:43-47~. Black elected officials increased from 9 to 25 percent of Ebony's black leaders between 1963 and 1980, while civil rights leaders dropped from 18 to 7 percent, and "glamour" personalities such as entertainers and athletes declined from 10 to 2 percent. Including black lt:~L£;~1 i111~1 appom~ea omclals aria olacK lunges, tne proportion of public officials among black leaders rose from 24 to 55 percent during this period. As suggested bv these changes in the composition of the black elite. new . ~ 1 · ~ ~ · my_ types of leaders in the black community are supplementing and to some extent supplanting; the older leadership of the clerav. self-emoloved men and ~7 1 . . . . . . ~ ~ ~ 1 ~J ~ 1 J women in business, professionals, and people in the traditional black volun- tary associations. The new leadership is composed of black elected officials, black managers of public and nonprofit institutions (such as foundations and colleges), black corporate executives and entrepreneurs, and black veterans of community organizing activities (see Broder, 1980:305-306, citing Ver- non Jordan). The broader range of occupations and positions available to potential black leaders has had important ramifications for black organiza- tions and for the ability of leaders to effect change. INSTITUTIONS: INSTRUMENTS OF CHANGE important changes in both black institutions and organizations with black members have occurred since the 1960s. The two most important influences on black organizational life have been changes in blacks' socioeconomic status-education, incomes, occupations, and urban residence-and increases in black participation throughout American society. Some of the resulting alterations have been quite dramatic. Desegregation of baseball led to a complete disappearance of the professional black baseball leagues. Similarly, black theaters and cinemas such as the Apollo Theatre in Harlem and the Howard in Washington, D.C., which once drew top black performers to a segregated industry, have nearly vanished. The largest black newspapers, The Chicano Defender, The Amsterdam News (New York), The National Afi~o-Amer- ican (Baltimore), and The Pittsburgh Comber, have experienced declines in . . . arculat~on. With the notable exception of the black baseball leagues, many such 171

A COMMON DESTINY: BLACKS AND AMERICAN SOCIETY changes were partly due to general demographic change throughout the nation. For example, music halls and other places for live, large-scale enter- tainment declined everywhere during the age of television. Similarly, there has been a decline and disappearance of many large city newspapers, white and black. Meanwhile, largely due to rising living standards and literacy, the black newspaper tradition has continued in the increasing number of weekly newspapers, and the publication of periodicals and magazines aimed princi- pally at black readers has grown (Childs, 1987~. Black voluntary and professional organizations such as the Elks, the Prince Hall Masons, the Knights of Peter Claver, the National Bar Association, the National Medical Association, and the National Dental Association continue to flourish. Similarly, the Greek letter fraternities and sororities, located mostly at black colleges, still hold national and regional conventions, and in many localities they contribute to black activity, both socially and in com- munity building (Childs, 1987~. In this section we discuss some of the changes and adaptations made by black institutions and organizations during the past few decades. We also review briefly some important new developments in black organizational life. Throughout the discussion, the focus is on institutional structure and its relationship to changes in black status. THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT AND ITS LOCAL ROOTS The civil rights movement emerged, to a large degree, from local commu- nities and organizations that drew support from a wide range of people (Carson, 1986; Morris, 1984~. National organizations such as the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) played major roles; but, as Aldon Morris points out, for much of the organizing in the South, existing institutions, leaders, and organizations were critically involved in all phases of the move- ment, and they were especially important in the beginning stages, when the action was planned and resources mobilized. Even the new organizations that were formed (e.g., the Montgomery Improvement Association, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference [SCLC], the Albany Movement) grew out of a configuration of existing organizations (Morris, 1984:277- 278~. The problem was not the need to create organizations, but rather how to tie existing organizations into the civil rights movement. The existing structure of black organizations, much of it in the parallel society already described, was the base from which the civil rights movement grew to maturity. Community efforts against discrimination involved a broad coalition of black organizations: churches, newspapers, the NAACP, the Urban League, and local black groups. They often worked in concert with the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO), the American Civil Liberties Union, the American Jewish Congress, and the National Lawyers Guild, among others. Such exclusively or predominantly white organizations provided money, 172

IDENTITY AND INSTITUTIONS IN THE BLACK COMMUNITY people power, physical facilities, and their own organizing skills in efforts aimed at obtaining equal opportunity for blacks. One example of the importance of the black social structure is found in the complementary activities of politically engaged churches and of students at the predominantly black colleges. In the late 1950s and early 1960s, the Nashville Christian Leadership Conference, a branch of the SCLC, was based both in the black churches and among students at Fisk University, Tennessee State College, American Baptist Theological Seminary, and Meharry Medical School. Black students, including many who were future civil rights leaders- including John Lewis, later chair of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and later a member of Congress from Georgia-were activists at these schools. The civil rights movement drew people and re- sources from black churches and black colleges throughout the South (Childs, 1987; Morris, 1984:183~. As a base for the civil rights movement, there was a long-established tradition of activism among people from many domains of community life. For example, when blacks arrived at the Highlander Center in Tennessee for training as civil rights organizers, there were beauticians in the groups. As Myles Horton, founder of the Highlander Folk School, recalled (quoted in Morris, 1984: 145~: A black beautician, unlike a white beautician, was at that time a person of status in the community. They were entrepreneurs, they were small busi- nesswomen, you know, respected, they were usually better educated than other people, and most of all they were independent. They were indepen- dent of white control.... I noticed that some of the people that came to Highlander were beauticians, and I followed up that lead and used to run beauticians (community activism) workshops at Highlander, just for beau . . tlclans. People learned community organizing skills in a movement dedicated to nonviolent struggle even in the face of violent white resistance. During the sit-ins, the freedom rides, and the marches and demonstrations, black stu- dents and church members mingled with people from indigenous commu- nity organizations. Those organizations were instrumental to the civil rights movement and improvements in blacks' status (see Chapter 5~. And the movement and the changes it brought reverberated on the structure of those . . Organlzatlons. RELIGIOUS INSTITUTIONS Probably no other single institution has played such an important role in maintaining the cohesion of black society as the black church. As E. Franklin Frazier (1963:30) concluded: "An organized religious life became the chief means by which a structured or organized social life came into existence among the Negro masses." The church was an agency of moral guidance and social control. It was also an organizational network that laid the foun 173

A COMMON DESTINY: BLACKS AND AMERICAN SOCIETY TABLE ~2 Membership in Major Black Religious Denominations Membership Denomination (Year of Founding) National Baptist Convention, U.S.A., Inc. (1895) Church of God in Christ (1895) National Baptist Convention of America (1917) African Methodist Episcopal Church (1816) African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church (1822) Christian Methodist Episcopal Church (1870) National Primitive Baptist Convention Progressive National Baptist Convention (1961) Early 1940s 4,022,000 300,000 2,352,000 869,000 489,000 382,000 44,000 Early 1980s 6,300,000 3,710,000 2,500,000 2,210,000 1,202,000 719,000 250,000 200,000 Sources: Data for early 1940s Dom Murray (1947:153-155); data for early 1980s Tom Jacquct (1987:Table 1-A) and Lincoln (1984:88). cation for mutual aid societies, developed much of the black community's political leadership, and provided an impetus for educational advancement. The local church was often the center of black community life (Frazier, 1963 :44; Lincoln, 1984:72~. The three largest black religious bodies are Methodist, Baptist, and Pente- costal. While independent black Baptist and Methodist churches can be traced back to eighteenth century South Carolina and Philadelphia (Lincoln, 1984), the first black American religious denominations, the African Meth- odist Episcopal (AME) Church and the African Methodist Episcopal Zion (AME Zion) Church, were founded in 1816 and 1822, respectively. The third major black Methodist denomination, the Colored Methodist Episco- pal Church, was founded in 1870 and changed its name to the Christian Methodist Episcopal (CME) Church in 1954. These churches remain the three major black Methodist denominations to this day. The three major Baptist denominations are of more recent vintage. The National Baptist Convention, U.S.A., Inc., known popularly as the "incor- porated" convention, has probably been the largest single black denomina- tion since its founding in 1895. The National Baptist Convention of Amer- ica, the "unincorporated" convention, split from the first body in 1917. A second splinter church from the incorporated convention, the Progressive National Baptist Convention, Inc., was formed in 1961 (Childs, 1980; Simpson and Yinger, 1985: 324) . The final major black denomination, the Church of God in Christ, is Pentecostal. Founded in 1895, it has shown the greatest growth of any black denomination since World War II, and it is now believed to be the second largest black church group in the United States. Self-reported estimates of the size of these churches are shown in Table t2. With the beginning of the urbanization of the black population in the first decades of the twentieth century, many black churches began to deempha- size the "other-worldly outlook" characteristic of rural and lower status churches (Frazier, 1963:51~. Urban black churches became primary links 174

IDENTITY AND INSTITUTIONS IN THE BLACK COMMUNITY between thousands of black migrants from rural areas and their new and stressful urban environments. As black churches responded to urban prob- lems with community aid and welfare work, many of them cooperated with organizations such as the NAACP and the National Urban League in the more secular affairs of the community. The increasing secularism in the role of the church did involve some ambivalence and even resistance within individual church organizations. Es- pecially in rural southern areas, where the emphasis of many black churches on the values of the afterlife pushed aside concerns with contemporary social affairs, the black church had gained a reputation as a conservative influence that helped to maintain black subordination in race relations (Johnson, 1941:135-136; see also Myrdal, 1944; Reed, 1986:Ch. 4~. This resistance to involvement in civil affairs became increasingly unsuccessful as the 1950s progressed. The split among black Baptists in 1961 illustrates the changing political role of the black church. The conservative leadership of the Reverend Joseph Jackson of the National Baptist Convention became increasingly controver- sial as activists sought to involve the church more directly in the civil rights movement. Jackson reflected an older tradition of leadership, that the major function of the black clergy is to minister to the religious needs of their flock, rather than to engage in political controversies (Nelson, 1987~. Since its founding in Atlanta in 1957, the SCLC has been the most important institutional framework for black church involvement in civil rights activity. The SCLC was established as a coalition of coalitions, that is, chapters consisting of church and other groups that were active at the local level in the South. Although it sometimes has been seen as little more than a paper organization dominated by the charisma of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Ir., it was in fact the most important institutional device for uniting the many diverse community-based civil rights organizations that emerged in the 1950s and early 1960s. Its leadership, both nationally and at the local level, was heavily dominated by the black clergy, but it also incor- porated black lodges, labor unions, and women's groups as affiliates (Morris, 1984:Chs. 4-5~. The National Committee of Black Churchmen (NCBC), founded in 1967, has been described as the northern counterpart of SCLC, with one significant difference: most of its leadership was drawn from black clergy in the predom- inantly white denominations rather than those in the black denominations. It quickly established black caucuses in virtually all of the predominantly white denominations and emerged as a bridge between the religious estab- lishment in the broader community and the black clergy (Lincoln, 1984:110- 113~. Since its founding in 1978, the Congress of National Black Churches (CNBC) has played an increasingly important role in the direction of the affairs of the black church. The CNBC is a coalition of seven major black denominations: three major Baptist conventions (incorporated, unincorpor- ated, and Progressive; see Table 4-2~; the three major Methodist churches 175

A COMMON DESTINY: BLACKS AND AMERICAN SOCIETY (AME, AME Zion, and CME); and the Church of God in Christ. Under the leadership of its first chairman, Bishop John Hurst Adams of the AME Church, the CNBC established a Washington headquarters in 1982 and expanded its mission from an ecumenical focus to a pursuit of six broad priorities: theological education, employment, economic development, the media, evangelism, and human services (Lincoln, 1984:118-121~. The CNBC has been particularly active in the field of economic develop- ment. Black churchgoers contribute over $1 billion a year to their parishes, and the assets of black churches across the country are believed to exceed $10 billion. The CNBC has used some of these funds to benefit the black community through the establishment of credit unions, insurance programs, central purchasing plans, and the allocation of church funds to black-owned banks and small businesses. At the local level, black churches have been increasingly active in providing day care, health care, low-income housing, and other social services to their clientele (Lincoln, 1984:121-122; Nelson, 1987~. Despite the finding of a Gallup survey (1987) that 74 percent of the black population rated religion as "very important" in their lives compared with 55 percent of whites, formal black involvement in church affairs appears to be following a pattern similar to that of the rest of American society. A1- though religion is important to them, 40 percent of the surveyed blacks said they do not regularly attend a church or synagogue; among the whites surveyed, 44 percent gave this response. American religious institutions, including black churches, are thus facing difficult times expanding the growth of their memberships. Increased social stratification within the black community, suburbanization of the middle class, and losses of worshippers as well as many talented ministers and other church officials to predominantly white organizations (see Chapter 2) make this trend especially difficult for black churches. Yet, for many blacks, partic- ularly the poor, black religious organizations still supply a significant network of support services and spiritual sustenance. COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES History The traditionally black colleges and universities have historically kept alive a tradition of scholarship about black concerns and also provided a means for improving the social and economic status of black Americans. The ma- jority of black lawyers, dentists, and teachers in the United States today received their degrees from black institutions of higher learning (Hill, 1984:ix; Wilkinson, 1987:i). The first three black institutions were founded in the North: Cheyney University (1837) and Lincoln University (1854), both in Pennsylvania, and Wilberforce University (1856) in Ohio. The majority of others, however, emerged in the South during and after Reconstruction. Given the refusal of 176

IDENTITY AND INSTITUTIONS IN THE BLACK COMMUNITY local governments in many parts of the South to provide adequate public schooling for blacks, private charities, churches, and freedmen's societies performed much of this role. Many of today's black colleges began as private schools offering secondary-level instruction to blacks in the rural South and gradually added college-level courses to their curricula (Hill, 1984:1-3~. By 1936, a total of 121 black institutions had an enrollment of 33,743 regular- term and 22,510 summer students at the college level. Most of these schools had by then phased out their secondary-level instruction, due in part to a rapid expansion of public schools in the South following World War I (Hill, 1984:Ch. 1). The period between the two world wars witnessed the peak influence of black private colleges. Between 1936 and 1954, the number of private black institutions declined from 86 to 65, and they have continued to decline slowly, although their enrollments have grown gradually since 1954. The public black institutions have grown much more, doubling their enrollments since 1954. In the 1960s, "traditionally black institutions enrolled about one third of the approximately 434,000 black students in higher education" (Morris, 1981:8~. It was not until the 1970s that black students in large numbers began attending predominantly white public and private colleges and universities in the South. In the 19 states (and the District of Columbia) that have black institutions, the proportion of black students attending them declined from 62 percent in 1970 to 38 percent in 1980. Their total enrollment peaked at 222,220 in 1980 and has declined thereafter (Hill, 1984:xiv, xvi, 23, 45~. While the absolute number of degrees awarded by predominantly black educational institutions increased between the mid-1960s and mid-1970s, by the 1980s there was a decline in the proportion of blacks who graduated from the historically black institutions. Furthermore, in the 8-year period between 1976 and 1984, 5 of the 105 traditionally black colleges and uni- versities closed. The political and demographic changes that have affected shifts in the student composition and educational missions of predominantly black colleges appear to have been inevitable (Blackwell, 1984:176-186; Egerton, 1971; U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, 1981:6-8~. And recent decreases in financial aid and in enrollments of minority college students nationally have increased the difficulties of black institutions of higher edu- cation (Coleman, 1983; Cross and Astin, 1981; Newby, 1982; Toilet, 1981; Wilkinson, 1987~. The development of graduate programs at black educational institutions is a relatively recent phenomenon. In 1954, there were 16 institutions that conferred master's degrees in 10 disciplines. By 1982, master's degree pro- grams had been established at 34 institutions in all 22 major disciplinary categories recognized by HEGIS (Higher Education General Information Survey). Howard University became the first historically black school to offer a doctoral degree in 1957, followed by Atlanta University in 1982. In addition, 3 other historically black universities granted a total of 12 doctoral degrees in 1982 (Hill, 1984:xv). 177

A COMMON DESTINY: BLACKS AND AMERICAN SOCIETY Current Patterns As of 1984, there were exactly 100 predominantly black colleges and universities, including 11 2-year institutions. The 43 public black colleges supported by state governments accounted for more than two-thirds of the total enrollment. The other 57 black colleges are private institutions, 45 of which are affiliated with a religious denomination. The 100 colleges and universities, which are located in 19 states and the District of Columbia, still award more than one-half of all the bachelor's degrees earned by black students and employ two-thirds of the black college faculty. Although these institutions have been most important as teachers' schools, by 1981 business and management had replaced education as the most popular academic major among graduating seniors (Hill, 1984:ix-xiv). Like most predominantly white universities, the traditionally black insti- tutions continue to have primarily single-race enrollment as well as adminis- tration, staff, and faculty (Hill, 1984~. In 1981, some 11 percent of the students at the black institutions were American whites, and 6 percent were nonresident aliens. There is a view that white student enrollments should not be increased in these institutions until enrollments of blacks increase at the predominantly white institutions, but some educators and public officials believe that this position contradicts the concept of integration in higher education as outlined in a 1981 report entitled The Black/White Colle,ges (U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, 1981~. However, that same document notes that the goal of enabling black youths to attain higher education might be diminished if white students enroll at black institutions without an increase in black enrollment at predominantly white schools. Thus, the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights (1981:34) has argued for a deferment of integration within predominantly black institu- tions until there is a substantial increase in black enrollment at traditionally white schools (see Wilkinson, 1987:2-3~. Four of the historically black colleges and universities now have majority white enrollments: Bluefield State in West Virginia, West Virginia State, Lincoln University in Pennsylvania, and Kentucky State Wilkinson, 1987~. Since the 1960s, the traditionally black institutions have been facing in- creased competition from predominantly white enrollment colleges and uni- versities in trying to attract the most gifted black faculty and students, who in years past would have naturally gravitated to the black institutions, due to lack of opportunity elsewhere in the educational structure. Enrollment declines and attrition have been recorded recently for blacks in predominantly white colleges and universities. Obstacles to successful com- pletion of undergraduate training, however, are not merely characteristic of black students in predominantly white colleges and universities; those in the historically black institutions are affected as well (Wilkinson, 1987~. Histori- cally, black undergraduates in black institutions have had an attrition rate at least as high as that experienced by black undergraduates in predominantly white institutions between their second and fourth years of college. In . 178

IDENTITY AND INSTITUTIONS IN THE BLACK COMMUNITY addition, the attrition rate for black fourth-year students in black institutions has gone up considerably since 1976 (Office of Civil Rights, 1981~. Concern over declining enrollment and rising attrition continued into the 1980s as the number of black students attending colleges and universities decreased (Wilkinson, 1987; see Chapter 7~. More recently, some public concern has been expressed about the aca- demic missions, instructional functions, and research output of the nation's black colleges and universities. In Congress and in the media, considerable attention has been devoted to such issues as administrative leadership, salary structures, and program expenditure as they affect academic objectives (Jas- chik, 1986:19-20), institutional productivity, and the nature of training of students (see Coleman, 1983; Frinberg, 1984, cited in Wilkinson, 1987; Hall, 1984; Muscatine, 1985~. Furthermore, while black colleges are primar- ily teaching schools, many have either initiated or enhanced professional development and faculty research productivity (Billingsley, 1982), but ad- ministrative structures have remained virtually unchanged (see Blackwell, 1984: 177; Griswold, 1983). Financial problems have regularly plagued the traditionally black institu- tions. Many of them have only nominal endowments or none at all, making them dependent on students' ability to pay tuition and fees and on state appropriations, federal aid, and philanthropy. The low income levels prevail- ing among black students have exerted strong pressure to keep tuitions low, and the relatively low incomes of many graduates compared with those of their white peers has limited the institutions' fund-raising abilities, despite the activities of such groups as the United Negro College Fund. In recent years, the election of black state legislators in the South has generated some political influence to increase appropriations. But the major outside assistance has come from the federal government. There are two sources of direct federal aid to these institutions. The Second Morrill Act in 1890 resulted in the establishment of 16 black land-grant colleges. Title III of the Higher Education Amendments of 1965 targeted federal funds to underfinanced colleges historically considered to be out of the mainstream of the higher education establishment (Hill, 1984:xviii; Wilkinson, 1987~. In addition, the reliance of many black students on federal financial aid makes these programs vital to the financial stability of many black institutions (see Chapter 7~. BUSI N ESSES Frown the Nineteenth Century to the Civil Rights Movement Joseph Pierce (1944, cited in Bates, 1986) undertook the first large-scale quantitative study of the black business community. His survey of 3,866 black firms in 12 cities revealed an industry concentration reminiscent of black entrepreneurship in the antebellum South. Six lines of personal services and retailing dominated the sample of black firms: beauty parlors and barber 179

A COMMON DESTINY: BLACKS AND AMERICAN SOCIETY shops, 26 percent; eating establishments, 19 percent; food stores, 8 percent; cleaning and pressing shops, 7 percent; shoeshine and repair shops, 5 per- cent; and funeral parlors, 3 percent. During the following 25 years, a number of less comprehensive studies reported similar findings: black businesses were primarily small-scale enterprises concentrated in a narrow range of low-reve- nue activities (Bates, 1986~. These businesses were heavily, almost exclu- sively, dependent on the segregated black community for patronage. The poverty and small resources of that community necessarily meant that black firms were at a great commercial disadvantage. Black-operated firms had little growth potential and poor access to credit (Harris, 1936~. Despite these conditions, the segregated economy was able to support a small number of successful enterprises in industries in which white-owned firms had not been motivated to compete for black business. Among these were the banking and life insurance industries, hair-care products, and the mass media. A few black entrepreneurs were able to amass personal fortunes in these industries. A number of the most successful black businesses of the 1940-1985 period were started in these industries during the 1940s and 1950s: These examples are Johnson Publishing, founded by John Johnson in 1942; Johnson Products (hair care), founded by George E. Johnson in 1954; and Motown Industries, founded by Berry Gordy in 1958. Each of these companies continues to thrive today. A number of black life insurance companies, many of which began as mutual aid burial societies in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centu- ries when many blacks found it difficult to obtain insurance from white companies, also continue actively today. Some of the oldest appear on Black Entertnse magazine's top 16 black-owned insurance firms, ranked by total assets in 1986 (Black En - rise, June 1987:228-229~: Southern Aid Life Insurance Company (ranked 16), founded in 1893 and located in Richmond, Virginia; North Carolina Mutual Life (ranked 1), founded in 1898 and located in Durham, North Carolina; Atlanta Life (ranked 2), founded in 1905 and located in Atlanta, Georgia; Mammoth Life and Accident (ranked 8), founded in 1915 and located in Louisville, Kentucky; and Chicago Metropolitan Mutual (ranked 5), founded in 1927. Despite these exceptions, as late as 1969, 94 percent of black-owned firms were sole proprietorships; 84 percent had no paid employees; and average annual revenues per firm were a mere $27,000. At that time, one-half of black firms were located in the South (Bureau of the Census, 1979: Table 58~. The total of 163,000 black-owned businesses in 1969 were 2.2 percent of all U.S. businesses. Most were concentrated in personal services and retail trade. Receipts from all black enterprises were $4.5 billion, less than 1 percent of all national business receipts. Bk~ck-Owned Businesses Since 1970 In 1977 there were 231,203 black-owned firms, 70 percent of which were personal services and retail trade. The average receipts per black retail firm 180

IDENTITY AND INSTITUTIONS IN THE BLACK COMMUNITY FIGURE 4-2 Top 100 black-owned companies, by industry, 1987. Automobile Dealer (53)* $1,343.482t 41% Metal Industry (1) $44.880 1 .4% Petroleum/Energy (4) $1 34.477 4.1% Computer/lnformation (4) \ it\ $1 45.527 4.~% - / / \ \ /Food/Beverage (104\ $337.924 1 0.3% Construction (8) / $31 0.481 / / / \ \ 9.5% / / Media (5) \ / $264.965 \ 1~ / / 8.1% mu/ , / Entertainment (2) $1 91.288 5.8% A/ 1 Hair Care/ Beauty Aids (5) $21 0.492 6.4% ~.~ Notes: * = Number of companies. t = In millions of dollars, to nearest thousand. Source: Reprinted with permission Tom Blink Enterprise (1987:114). Miscellaneous (8) $289.81 4 8.9% were just 13.1 percent of average per-firm receipts of all U.S. retail firms, which was comparable for the service industries. In 1982, 339,239 black businesses in the nation had $12.4 billion in sales receipts, which represented about one-third of 1 percent of the total U.S. sales receipts of $4.12 trillion. Five years later, the share of black sales revenue was unchanged while the total was $18.1 billion. Thus, although blacks are 12 percent of the U.S. population, their businesses in the late 1980s still accounted for only one- third of 1 percent of the nation's total sales receipts. In recent years, however, black businesses have grown faster than the nation's business sector as a whole-7 percent compared with 5 percent. They have also become less dependent on black consumers by expanding outside traditional black consumer markets. This modest diversification in the 1980s is illustrated by the changing industry distribution of Black Ent~r- pr~se magazine's list of top 100 black firms, ranked by sales revenue. Black Enthuse published the first 100 list for the year 1972. Total sales for the 100 firms were $473 million, and the list was dominated by manufactur- ers, auto dealerships, entertainment companies, and publishing and other consumer-service firms, each of which accounted for about 20 percent of all sales on the list. The 1987 list redected the increased strength of black auto dealers: they accounted for 53 of the firms, a majority of the top 100 for the first time, and were responsible for 41 percent of sales. The distribution of sales revenues by industry for the Black Enthuse list of 100 is shown in Figure ~2. 181

A COMMON DESTINY: BLACKS AND AMERICAN SOCIETY There has been an increasing number of financially skilled black entrepre- neurs. Examples include C. Everett Wallace, who in 1985 acquired City & Suburban Distributors, Inc., a Chicago-based beer distributorship, with $41 million in sales; T. Bruce Llewellyn, who (with his partner former basketball star Julius Erving) owns the Philadelphia Coca-Cola Bottling Company (4 on the Black Ent~nse list) with sales of $110 million; and Reginald F. Lewis, who in 1987 completed the largest financial transaction ever negotiated by a black American by the purchase of the International Foods Division of Beatrice, Inc., which has sales of $1.8 billion. There are a number of reasons for the changes that are occurring among black-owned enterprises. Perhaps the most important are the general changes in black education and income (thus expanding black consumer markets), social attitudes toward race relations, and government policies aimed at aiding black business development. The civil rights movement created a new emphasis by the government and private sector to promote the advancement of black businesses. During the presidential primaries in 1968, Richard Nixon addressed the question of black participation in ownership of businesses. During the 1960s and 1970s, the Nixon administration created a number of subsidy and assistance programs, including those of the Office of Minority Business Enterprise, the Manpower Development and Training Program, and the Minority Enterprise Small Business Investment Company. These programs, although beleaguered by charges of inefficiency and re- verse discrimination, have enabled many successful black firms to get their start. However, they would probably have had little impact were it not for the increasing pool of black professional business men and women, many initially trained in major corporations, who have taken advantage of in- creased opportunities in American markets. At the same time, mergers and acquisitions have also reduced the number of black-owned businesses. These firms often become part of a larger white firm, and this reduces the number of black firms. Smaller black firms are also being taken over by larger black firms: the insurance industry is an example of this kind of reduction. Blink Enthuse (June 1987:223) reported that in the 1940s there were 69 black-owned insurance companies; that number was 42 in 1972 and 35 in 1987. Industry analysts project that if mergers continue at this rate, only a few large black insurers will be in operation in the next decade. Many black businesses have engaged in joint ventures with larger white corporations by becoming franchises or subsidiaries of large firms: for exam- ole the acquisition of a Michigan Pepsi-Cola bottling; distribution center by 1 ) 1 ~ ~ _ ~_ -'I- TO ~ · 1 . ~ TO ~ t1~ ~ AL ~ ~ I _:~: Or. W Il am Harvey, the president ot Hampton university, and one acqulsl- tion of a Coors beer distributorship by Willie Davis, a former Green Bay Packer. Another development in the 1980s is illustrated by the example of the Barfield Companies (43 on the Black Enterprise list), which became the second black-owned business to attract a major investment from a Fortune 500 company (Masco Industries, a metal-products company). The lack of success of some black firms has been due to competition from 182

IDENTITY AND INSTITUTIONS IN THE BLACK COMMUNITY larger, white enterprises. For example, over the years, black businesses have diversified into the communications industry. Notable acquisitions, such as the $65 million purchase of WKBW in Buffalo from Capital Cities Commu- nications (CCC), have occurred. However, white-owned radio and television stations, noting the success of the urban-contemporary format of black radio stations, have begun to feature black artists who at one time could be heard only on black stations, enticing some listeners away from those stations. Another area that has been penetrated by white-owned companies, with big advertising budgets and the use of celebrity spokespersons, is the hair-care industry. Growth in sales of black hair-care products has prompted firms such as Revlon and Alberto Culver to introduce a number of products for black consumers. Black companies are attempting to compete by developing new products or opening up new markets. The degree of penetration of black markets and businesses by white-owned firms can be seen in the fact that black firms' share of black consumer income has declined over the past 20 years. In 1969, the receipts of all black enter- prises represented 11.7 percent of the $38.1 billion income of black consum- ers. The total fell to 10.8 percent in 1972; to 8.9 percent in 1977; and to 8.1 percent in 1986, when total black money income was $206 billion. It fell below 8.0 percent in 1987. Increased competition from nonblack firms is a consequence of the same factors that are altering the composition of black firms, an expanding black consumer market and improved race relations. Overall, changes in the com- position and viability of black-owned firms reflect the same basic social forces that have been transforming black institutions throughout the period since 1940: increased competition from white organizations for talented blacks and competition for black clients in the post-civil rights era. THE NAACP AND THE NATIONAL URBAN LEAGUE Since before World War II, virtually all observers have considered the two most prominent national black organizations to be the NAACP and the National Urban League (see, e.g., Myrdal, 1944:819; Smith, 1982:57; Wil- son, 1973:171~. The primacy of attaining basic civil rights as a black political objective was responsible for the long preeminence of the NAACP. The NAACP, founded in 1909 as an interracial organization, grew out of the earlier Niagara movement (1905) of black intellectuals and social activists. As a mass membership organization concentrated in the larger urban centers, it was led for the most part by black professionals: W. E. B. DuBois and William Monroe Trotter in the early years, and Walter White and Roy Wilkins during the 1940s through the civil rights movement. The southern branches of the NAACP played a key role in organizing local voters leagues in the wake of the 1944 Smith v. Allwr~ht decision (321 U.S. 649), which overturned white primary elections. But during the late 1950s, repression from local governments and the White Citizens' Councils depressed NAACP membership in the South and wreaked havoc with its organizational activi 183

A COMMON DESTINY: BLACKS AND AMERICAN SOCIETY FIGURE 4-3 NAACP Legal Defense Fund litigation, 1940-1983. 150 Oh IJJ C/) 1 00 o a: m 5 50 o YEAR Source: Unpublished data Tom NAACP Legal Defense Fund. 1940 1 950 1960 1970 1980 ties. Much of the direct action associated with the civil rights movement in the South was channeled through new organizations (McAdam, 1982; Mor- ris, 1984), leaving the NAACP southern chapters in older, more conservative hands. In the North, however, the NAACP faced less competition from the protest-oriented groups and came to be headed by insurgent leaders in many . . atles. At the national level, the NAACP reached its peak influence during the years bracketed by the Brown school desegregation decision of 1954 and the passage of the Voting Rights Act in 1965. It had the reputation during that period of being the black organization with the greatest influence in Con- gress and in national politics generally. The NAACP still remains the premier black organization in terms of membership (450,000 in the late 1970s) and reputation, although there now exist a variety of specialized organizations devoted to social and economic development in the black community. The NAACP Legal Defense Fund, Inc., known popularly as LDF, was organized as a separate entity in 1939 to handle litigation. It became fully independent of the parent organization in 1955 and had 25 full-time attor- neys by the early 1960s. Although the LDF's activity has been reduced from the peak of 1970 (see Figure ~3), it remains an important source of civil rights litigation in the American courts. The LDF's priorities can be seen 184

IDENTITY AND INSTITUTIONS IN THE BLACK COMMUNITY TABLE ~3 Federal and State Litigation by NAACP Legal Defense Fund, by Category of Case, 1940-1983 Years Category of Case 1940-1959 1960-1969 1970-1983Total All eases a 198 569 8401,607 School desegregation 67 203 248518 Employment discrimination 8 43 265316 Prisons 3 12 7287 Public accommodations 16 52 472 Housing and real estate 15 20 3469 Demonstration rights 1 53 862 Voting rights 10 21 2859 Habeas corpus 5 23 2250 Jury procedures 7 21 1644 Capital punishment 4 15 2342 Social services 1 19 1232 Police brutality 3 10 1528 a Totals include cases not covered below. Source: Unpublished data Mom the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. from the cases it has filed during the past four decades: school desegregation and employment discrimination issues have dominated LDF litigation activ- ities during the entire period, accounting for just over one-half of all litiga- tion from 1940 to 1983 (see Table 4-3~. Following schools (32 percent) and jobs (20 percent), cases dealing with criminal justice (16 percent), public accommodations (4 percent), and housing and real estate (4 percent) are distant third, fourth, and fifth place issues. This ranking is quite consonant with hypothesized rankings of major issues of importance to the black pop- ulation in general (discussed in Chapter 3~. The National Urban League, founded in 1910, is the lineal descendant of a succession of social service agencies, dating back to 1906, that specialized in the problems of urban blacks. It has always been active in job training and placement activity, which has brought it into extensive contact with local businesses, social workers, and philanthropies. Thus, it has been regarded as the black organization with the closest ties to the white "power structure" in the private and nonprofit sectors (Parris and Brooks, 1971~. Unlike the NAACP, the Urban League has never been a mass membership organization, although it is organized into local affiliates (about 100 branches) that conduct the bulk of its programmatic activities. Having very nearly died of financial starvation in the 1950s, it achieved a renaissance under the leadership of executive directors Whitney Young, Ir., and Vernon Jordan from 1961 through 1980. Young's skill in pursuing a black agenda without alienating white support enabled the Urban League to raise greater resources than other black civil rights and social service groups amid the ferment of the 1960s. Due to its history of social work and cooperative ventures with 185

A COMMON DESTINY: BLACKS AND AMERICAN SOCIETY business enterprise, the Urban League was well positioned to benefit from the funding made available at that time to deal with the problems of blacks . . in ur tan settings. This combination of circumstances enabled the National Urban League to attain first rank among black organizations in terms of financial resources and program activities by 1970. The funds raised by the Urban League, which totaled only $265,000 in 1960, had increased almost 7 times in 1965 to $1,824,000, and another 8 times in 1970 to $14,542,000. During the same period, the comparable figures for the NAACP were $104,000 in 1960, $388,000 in 1965, and $2,665,000 in 1970 (Haines, 1984:Table 1~. As of 1985, the National Urban League far surpassed all other black organizations in terms oidonations and program expenditures; its outside revenues totaled $23,573,000, compared with $7,686,000 for the NAACP.: POST-1 960s O ROAN IZATIO NS The very success of the NAACP in pursuit of ending de lure segregation stimulated new and more varied organizations in the black community, thereby lessening its once almost unique position as an exponent of the black condition in American life. With heightened interest in social and economic issues, many new organizations have arisen to play a major role in the organizational life of black Americans. Many of these organizations have a community-oriented agenda aimed at improving conditions at the local level. We identified more than 1,100 such organizations created since 1965 (Childs, 1987). These new organizations reflect each of the post-1960s developments in black communities: the growth of the black professional class and changes in the black elite; increased black-white interaction; a growing concern with economic issues and the problems of the poor; and the proliferation of opportunities for educated blacks. In this section we do not attempt a thorough cataloging ot these organizations, but only describe examples of a few kinds. The Urban Coalition was the outgrowth of a 1967 meeting of large-city mayors trying to address the urban problems that were giving rise to ghetto riots. It attempts to enlist the public and private sectors in comprehensive communitywide efforts, with a special emphasis on the problem of minori- ties. Its major activities at present are in education, minority business devel- opment, and health care. Although not defined as a black organization, the Children's Defense Fund (CDF) is prominent in black leadership circles (see Ebony, August 1988:128,130~. Founded in 1968, it specializes in research and educational activity on the problems of children in poverty, a large proportion of whom are black. CDF stands at the center of a large cluster of loosely coordinated . 1. The figures for the NAACP do not include the budget of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. 186

IDENTITY AND INSTITUTIONS IN THE BLACK COMMUNITY groups that are active in domestic social policy that focuses on the problems of blacks and the poor. Jesse Jackson has presided over a conglomerate of interlocking organiza- tions. His first major program was the Chicago-based Operation Breadbas- ket, which originated as an SCLC enterprise and became independent after Martin Luther King's death. Operation Breadbasket concentrated on feeding the black poor and winning jobs through boycotts. It evolved into Opera- tion PUSH (People United to Save Humanity), a nationwide organization with local chapters, devoted to black economic advancement. PUSH in turn gave rise to PUSH-Excel, a mass membership group that tries to motivate black parents, children, and school personnel to achieve excellence in edu- cation. In the wake of his 1984 presidential campaign, Jackson organized the Rainbow Coalition, Inc., a multiracial lobbying group, and the Citizen- ship Education Fund (CEF), a nonpartisan voter registration and candidate . . . . trammg organization. There are several summit coalitions of black leaders that play special roles in the black community. Among the most important are the National Black Leadership Roundtable, a coalition of about 125 national black organizations that convey local community sentiment from their chapters to the black congressional leadership and also assist in mobilizing the grass roots for lobbying campaigns on national issues; the National Black Leadership Fo- rum, a coalition of the executives of 16 major black political, fraternal, and civic groups (Smith, 1982:64~; and the "black leadership family," a more select and secretive group that played a key role in the strategy sessions over a black presidential candidacy in 1983 (Collins, 1986:94-98~. Another example of links among black organizations is TransAfrica, founded in 1977 as the result of discussions initiated at the 1976 black leadership conference of the Congressional Black Caucus. Its mission is to seek greater influence for black Americans in the foreign policy arena and to advocate greater attention to the views of African and Caribbean peoples in the conduct of American foreign policy. Today, it is most closely identified with the movement to protest apartheid by imposing sanctions on South Africa and reducing American investments in that country. Multiracial coalition groups also have engaged in civil rights lobbying and litigation, and most of them predate the civil rights movement. A significant example is the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, which is distinctive for the highly visible participation of representatives from many white and black religious denominations. The conference, founded in 1950, was active in the lobbying for various federal civil rights bills from 1957 to 1968. There are also local coalition groups in virtually every major city in the country. These local coalitions have frequently dominated the multiracial human relations committees (usually appointed by mayors) that have provided a forum for research, hearings, and public education on civil rights in many cities since the 1940s. Three other multiracial groups have been particularly active in dealing with civil rights issues in the South. The Southern Regional Council helped to lay 187

A COMMON DESTINY: BLACKS AND AMERICAN SOCIETY the groundwork for the Voting Rights Act through its long-continued inves- tigations and statistical analyses of black registration patterns. The Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and the Southern Poverty Law Center have helped to make lawyers available at reasonable cost to blacks and their allies engaged in class-action suits and other forms of litigation or facing legal harassment from local authorities. The Community Action Program (CAP) mandated by the "maximum feasible participation" clause of the 1964 Economic Opportunity Act has been an important source of black leadership. The CAP trained an entire generation of grass roots political activists in the black community (Peterson and Greenstone, 1977~. Many of the black elected officials and community organizers of the 1980s gained their initial experience in this program in the 1960s. Current areas of concern for local black activism include rent control, opposition to urban gentrification, bank services and loans, jobs in public works construction, and citizen action in crime prevention. Also, attorneys for the Legal Services Corporation (a federal agency started under the Eco- nomic Opportunity Act but now independent) have frequently participated in community activism, although they have been increasingly circumscribed by federal regulations restricting their involvement in class-action litigation. The bulk of their current activity is devoted to defending poor people who cannot afford an attorney on their own. Caucus Organizations Of the new organizations, caucus groups are prominent. By caucus group we mean an organization of black people within a predominantly white institution. A caucus seeks to protect and enhance black interests within an organization. Black caucus groups are found in nearly every organization with black and white members, including such diverse organizations as the Roman Catholic Church, the American Anthropological Association, the U.S. Department of State, the museum profession, and among advocacy groups concerned with the welfare of the aging. Caucus organization indicates an important degree of black institutional participation. If there are enough blacks to form a caucus within an organi- zation or a profession, then obviously more than token desegregation has occurred. Simultaneously, the self-identified need to establish such groups is indicative of a sense of black group identity within the larger group. A sense of racial identity is used by caucus groups as a base for transforming the . . . . . . W1C her 1nstltutlona . clomam. The Afro-American Museums Association (AAMA) is an independent body, but within the national museum profession, it is a good example of a black caucus. It seeks to increase professional black participation in muse- ums, to serve the black community, and to make museums more responsive to the needs of that constituency. 188

IDENTITY AND INSTITUTIONS IN THE BLACK COMMUNITY Some museum professionals who belong to the AAMA also hold member- ship in the American Museum Association (AMA). The AAMA thus plays a dual role as both a parallel and a caucus organization. Many of the black museums and historical and cultural societies created since the 1960s have goals similar to those of the AAMA. The goals of such organizations usually include an emphasis on presenting a distinctive black American identity, showing its place in America, and educating the black population about its history while also emphasizing, to the wider public, black contributions in American history. The Concerned Black Foreign Service Officers is a caucus group of black professionals within the U.S. Department of State. The objectives and mode of organization are typical of caucus formation. The group came to the attention of the media in January 1986 when it issued a report on racial discrimination in the Foreign Service. In December 1985, the group met to discuss the grade distribution, promotion, hiring, and attrition of black foreign service officers (FSOs). At this meeting the group discussed "statis- tical evidence of systematic discrimination against Black Foreign Service Of- ficers" (private communication, January 3, 1986~. By organizing to address issues of apparent discrimination in the State Department, the black FSOs were acting as a caucus group. They soon decided to designate themselves as such. Their announced objectives were to fight for a completely open hiring and promotion system in the State De- partment and to protect the interests of black FSOs. Consequently, in Oc- tober 1986, the organization filed a class-action suit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. The suit argued that the plaintiffs and members of the class of black FSOs "have been and continue to be discrim- inated against on the basis of race by means of an arbitrary and subjective performance evaluation and assignment system" (Complaint for Relief from Discrimination in Employment and Reprisal, Case No. 86-2850, October 17, 1986:2-3). As with many other caucus groups the black FSOs did not proceed without difficulties. The issues of allegiance to the group, the wider community, and to the home institution, which are important in any caucus formation, are especially salient in government employment. From the point of view of the Foreign Service managers, caucus efforts could be construed as disloyal to the institution. From the perspective of black FSOs, their efforts were good for the service. The caucus argued that full integration of the black FSOs into the State Department would eliminate some ethnic and cultural biases in the foreign policy decision-making process and influence policy in ways that reflect broader Afro-American perspectives on world affairs. The two caucus groups just noted are not unique; their basic features are characteristic of black caucuses. Organization-specific caucuses are subject to questions about their loyalty and allegiance: Is the caucus an instrument of the black community and thus suspect to the organization? Conversely, as a part of the organization, does the caucus really reflect black community 189

A COMMON DESTINY: BLACKS AND AMERICAN SOCIETY concerns' Caucuses of black police, politicians, civil servants, and church officials face the same questions (Childs, 1987~. Organizations of Pablo Cowls One of the more significant black caucuses is that of black members of Congress, the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC), founded in 1971. The CBC receives information and opinion on policy issues from three major sources: committees of black academic experts that hold regional and na- tional hearings to present their recommendations; the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, which provides an in-house research capacity (although in its early years it suffered from financing problems and staff turnover); and an association with the National Black Leadership Roundtable (described above). The Roundtable's apparent capability to aggregate interests among its diverse membership is partly responsible for the wide acceptance the CBC has gained in speaking for black Americans (Smith, 1982:65~. (This caucus group is discussed further in Chapter 5.) The groups of black elected and appointed officials formed since 1970 are one of the most visible manifestations of black political participation. As the number of black officials increased during the late 1960s and early 1970s, they commonly found themselves shut out of existing networks of influence. Observers also saw an increasing need to assist newly elected black officials. Accordingly, the Ford Foundation helped to create the Joint Center for Political Studies in 1970. The Joint Center was established to determine where blacks were being elected to office, to help them organize into cau- cuses and more informal information-sharing networks, and to provide them with technical assistance and other forms of research support. By the early 1980s, the Joint Center had evolved into a major research organization specializing in issues concerning black Americans. While political research remains its major strength, it has recently expanded its coverage of economic and military policy. The Joint Center has given birth to a cluster of related organizations, the most important of which is the National Coalition on Black Voter Partici- pation (NCBVP), which was created in 1976. The NCBVP, more commonly known by the name of its ongoing voter registration and education project, Operation Big Vote (OBV), is a nonpartisan, nonprofit group. It operates by forming OBV units at the city and county level; these units are coalitions of NAACP and Urban League chapters, local black civic groups, churches, and fraternities and sororities that are devoted solely to spurring black voter . . . part~apat~on. For many years, the most important black voter registration group was the Voter Education Project (VEP), a spinoff from the Southern Regional Coun- cil. The VEP had emerged as the result of negotiations between the Kennedy administration and the Taconic Foundation in 1961, when federal officials were seeking to channel black activism away from sit-ins, boycotts, and other 190

IDENTITY AND INSTITUTIONS IN THE BLACK COMMUNITY disruptive activities toward voting. Taconic took the lead in assembling a consortium of foundations to fund the project. VEP was extremely success- ful in its early years, accounting for the bulk of the massive increase in black registration in the South from 1962 to 1968. Thereafter, its funding became erratic, and it was forced to reorganize in 1985 because of financial difficulties and accusations of mismanagement (Hanks, 1986~. The future of VEP re- mains tenuous in light of the expansion of OBV in the South since 1984. BLACK IDENTITY The black collective movements of protest and political action during the 1940-1970 period brought about important legal and political changes in America. For blacks, the social, cultural, and psychological processes that activated and maintained these movements reinforced collective and personal identities-"black" instead of"Negro" or "colored," black pride in addi- tion to equality of rights or integration. Older techniques of avoidance, insulation, diversion, and individual adaptations were increasingly rejected in favor of direct social mobilization and political action (Simpson and Yinger, 1985:Ch. 7~. To some extent the changes in social and institutional structure described in this chapter have altered individual concepts of identity and group cohesion. As some blacks participated more fully in a desegregated society, what happened to their black identity' Black identity has never been a monolithic concept among the black population, but some systematic evidence suggests that variation in concepts of self-identity among blacks is related somewhat to socioeconomic status. These significant and widespread changes in social and institutional structure are described in this chapter as we discuss individ- ual concepts of black identity and group cohesion. DIVERGENT DEFI N ITIONS Cultural Traditions Tensions between desires to emphasize a unique self-identity and desires to participate fully in wider American society have always existed among black Americans (Hugging, 1971:Ch. 4~. These tensions are clearly visible in the development of black cultural and artistic life during the period from 1940 to 1985. For example, the dramatic shifts of concern and emphasis within the Afro-American literary tradition since 1940 may be seen by com- paring two diametrically opposed definitions of black American literature. The first, published in 1941 by Sterling A. Brown, Arthur P. Davis, and Ulysses Lee, is taken from the "Introduction" to their monumental anthol- ogy, The Ne,grro Caravan (quoted in Gates, 1986: 1~: 191

A COMMON DESTINY: BLACKS AND AMERICAN SOCIETY The editors . . do not believe that the expression "Negro literature" is an accurate one, and in spite of its convenient brevity, they have avoided using it. "Negro literature" has no application if it means structural peculianty, or a Negro school of wnting. The Negro writes in the forms evolved in English and American literature. "A Negro novel," "a Negro play" are ambiguous terms.... [T]he editors consider Negro writers to be American wnters, and literature by American Negroes to be a segment of Arnencan literature. Three decades later, Larry Neal, a poet and literary critic and one of the cofounders, with Amiri Baraka, of the black arts movement, wrote (quoted in Gates, 1986:2~: Black Art is the aesthetic and spiritual sister of the Black Power concept. As such, it envisions an arc that speaks directly to the needs and aspirations of Black Arnenca. In order to perform this task, the Black Arts Movement proposes a radical reordering of the western cultural aesthetic. It proposes a separate symbolism, mythology, antique, and iconology. Between 1940 and 1985, conceptions of what constitutes Afro-American literature have undergone major changes among black writers and critics. Today, the works of black authors are frequently viewed as part of a literary tradition with its own rules, history, themes, and structures. This transfor- mation of definitions was a product of the black arts movement of the 1960s, whose agitation opened up traditional English departments to scholars of the black tradition (Gates, 1986:2~. Black writers were not alone in their efforts to exert an independent cultural voice in the nation. During the 1940s, there was an overall accep- tance, within certain areas of the art world, of "Negro art." Two major schools of thought, one emphasizing the unique "Negroness" of the art and the other emphasizing its universality and race-blind nature, contended for primacy in cultural circles. As an example of the former, in 1941, the white art critic James Lane held that black artists used color with more resonance than did white artists. The black artist, he said, was apt to use wilder, more exotic colors that were also purer, deeper, and more unconven- tional. Similarly, the black philosopher Alain Locke (1925, 1969), one of the architects of the Harlem renaissance, agreed that there was a commonal- ity in the works by black artists as a result of shared racial life (Childs, 198~. In contrast, black artists such as Hale Woodruff, Richmond Barthe, Ro- mare Bearden, and others emphasized universal aesthetic issues and dismissed racial ones. They argued that the works of black artists should be viewed as part of art in general and not racially distinct. In the immediate postwar years, a circle of black artists, including Woodruff, Barthe, Bearden, and lames Herring, issued a manifesto enunciating the importance of viewing works by black artists through race-blind rather than race-conscious prisms. Yet, all the black proponents of this race-blind, universalistic approach em- phasized black American themes in their work (Powell, 1986:14~. 192

IDENTITY AND INSTITUTIONS IN THE BLACK COMMUNITY Self-Det~rminat~n and the Nation of Islam Even during the height of desegregation struggles, in many urban northern black communities the Nation of Islam presented an alternative to some of the underlying aims of the civil rights movement. Although the Nation's approach was not central in black American society, it became an important symbol of distinctively black cultural developments in the late 1960s. The Nation of Islam had its origins among black Americans in Detroit curing the 1930s. In 1945, Muslim mosques were establishedin Milwaukee and Washington, D.C. In 1946, Elijah Muhammed, the head of the Nation, organized a mosque in Chicago. From that time the Chicago Muslim com- munity expanded. By 1959, the organization had grown to 50 temples in 22 states and the District of Columbia. All of the temples were in cities; only 7 were in the South. The urban, and mostly nonsouthern, character of the Nation of Islam is important for understanding its social and cultural significance. Unlike the accelerating civil rights movement, the Nation was located in precisely the urban areas to which so many black people had moved during and after World War II. The Nation's message was best received by the urban poor of the black ghettoes, those who were most vulnerable to economic cycles and chronic unemployment and underemployment. The Nation appealed most to and drew from blacks who were cut off from, or dissatisfied with, existing black organizations, those who were alienated from any sense of participation in mainstream society-in short, those people who were least likely to benefit from an increase in black participation in the wider society. It is within this context that the emphasis on black consciousness and the establishment of a separate autonomous black society was developed. The objectives of the Nation of Islam were quite different from those of the civil rights movement. Although the flag of the Nation proclaimed freedom, equality, and justice, these ideal goals were to be attained through establish- ment of an independent black nation within the United States. The Nation of Islam did not advocate increased black participation in the wider society, and it did not strive for a breaking down of barriers to that society. Its followers saw such efforts as diversions from the real necessity of community control, power, and autonomy. The United States would consist of many peoples, as it always had, but black people would control their own com- munities. Economic self-sufficiency and internal community power were viewed as necessary to racial advancement. From this perspective, the strug- gle to desegregate buses, other public accommodations, and white schools was unimportant. Linked to the emphasis on autonomy was a focus on internal problems and solutions for black America. While the civil rights organizations ad- dressed structural barriers of racism, the Nation of Islam emphasized the problems of ghetto life, crime, drugs, loss of family, and social alienation. To overcome these problems, the Nation offered strategies for the inner development of black communities under the umbrella of Islam. The Nation 193

A COMMON DESTINY: BLACKS AND AMERICAN SOCIETY also demanded from its followers a rejection of what were seen as self- defeating behaviors. The Nation was very successful in reorienting many individuals with a history of involvement with drugs and other criminal activities, and in reaching those who were out of work and who were seeking a way to make life meaningfid and rewarding (Childs, 1987~. AFRICAN-AMERICAN CULTURAL DUALITY Social historian Clayborne Carson (1986:3) wrote: "Since the 1930s, an underlying assumption of scholarly studies of American race relations has been that black aspirations were mainly confined within the ideological boundaries of American progressivism and liberalism." Carson points out that this mainstream perspective does not attend to the full range of relevant aspirations and values held by blacks. For example, he argues (1986:3~: Scholarly investigation of Afro-American political life was largely limited to those aspects of black politics that were concerned with participation in the white-dominated mainstream. To the extent that black institutions were studied at all, they were seen as declining in significance rather than as serving important political functions. The small number of social scientists of the period before 1966 who paid much attention to Afro-American traditions of racial separatism and nationalism generally saw them as apolit- ical or at least marginal to the dominant currents of black politics (see C. Eric Lincoln, 1961; John A. Morsell, 1961~. Thus, it was hardly surprising that social scientists who observed the upsurge in black protest activity in the 1960s often interpreted it as an outgrowth of the process of assimilation rather than as a sign of increasing racial conciousness (see Ruth Searles and I. Allen Williams, 1962~. Carson's commentary represents an important criticism that many black Americans direct toward mainstream white American perspectives on black America. In addition to the currents of emphasis on black cultural uniqueness and separateness, there is evidence that most blacks do not advocate separatism in their everyday lives. For example, black preferences, as reflected in surveys and other sources, clearly reveal a desire to live in neighborhoods with appreciable proportions of whites and to send their children to schools with white children, and a large majority of blacks respond that they have no objections to interracial marriage (see Chapter 3~. These various observations exemplify the famous, and still relevant, characterization of the duality or "double-consciousness" contained in black American culture (W. E. B. DuBois, 1903:215~: One ever feels his two-ness,-an American, a Negro; two souls, two thoughts, two unreconciled strivings; two warring ideals in one dark body, . . . The history of the American Negro is the history of this strife,-this longing to attain self-conscious manhood, to merge his double self into a better and truer self.... He would not Africanize America, for America 194

IDENTITY AND INSTITUTIONS IN THE BLACK COMMUNITY has too much to teach the world and Afnca. He would not bleach his Negro soul in a flood of white Amencanism, for he knows that Negro blood has a message for the world. He simply wishes to make it possible for a man to be both a Negro and an Amencan, without being cursed and spit upon. DuBois' conception of two-ness and of the conditions required for integrat- ing blacks and whites in the United States represents an early and influential formulation of black pluralism. Recognition of Afro-American cultural dual- ity is essential to the study of black Americans and black-white relations. Failure to use this concept has often created flaws in analyses of Afro- American culture and society (see, for example, Ellison's [1964] famous criticism of Myrdal's unguarded assimilationist approach in An American Dilemma [19441~. As Carson points out, much research on black Americans has been con- cerned primarily with black-white relations and the mainstream half of Afro- American duality. It is also true that black nationalist thought has often been seen as an extremist and marginal element among black values, equating black nationalism with the extreme separatism and deprecation of whites found in some religious sects. But among blacks, varieties of "nationalism" hold many positions in the continuum of ideologies between extreme sepa- ratism and extreme cultural and biological assimilation (see, for example, Emerson and Kilson, 1965:1069; for textbook examples, see Simpson and Yinger, 1985 140-141, 319-325~. The intensity of these convictions varies among individuals and for given individuals over time. Thus, cultural nation- alism's popular strength depends on such factors as economic conditions and perceptions of changes in the degree of discrimination against blacks. Yet the preservation of black culture and group identity, and above all the realization of a society in which all groups interact in terms of social, political, and cultural equality, are important conditions that many blacks' definition of "integration" requires (see Farmer, 1966: 126; Turner and Young, 1965:1156~. The importance of double consciousness and self-identity in the practical lives of black Americans may be illustrated by identity tensions created for many blacks who successfully seek the American dream. The pursuit of better housing and schools, higher incomes, and more prestigious occupa- tions leads many blacks into unfamiliar environments and life-styles. In such situations social isolation at work, school, and home can lead to difficult adjustment problems (Iones, 1986, 1988; Schofield, 1986; see Chapter 7~. The recollections of a 22-year-old black female college student highlights the social stress (Anderson, 1986~: When I was 15, my dad was transferred from Baltimore to New Jersey. It was a big change for my family, including my mom, dad, and 8-year-ol~l sister. We moved to this all-white suburban community. It was upper middle class Jewish and Italian, mainly. We were the only blacks around. A few people were friendly, but it wasn't Baltimore. One white woman, a 195

A COMMON DESTINY: BLACKS AND AMERICAN SOCIETY wnter, was very friendly. At school, the students were very cold. It took a long time for me to make friends, but I managed it and graduated fi om the high school; it was a good school. My dad seemed not to mind so much being the only blacks there, but my mom really resented it. My parents didn't socialize or have a dinner party for two years. My mom began to meet black people on the commuter train, and so things got better. We used to get so excited when we saw another black person. It was lonely. My sister seemed to do all right. She had many white Fiends, and she goes to the bar mitzvahs and parties. Now my dad has been transferred back to Baltimore. My mom is happy. My sister misses her Fiends, and in Baltimore most of her friends are white. Empirical validation of many of these points is somewhat problematical in view of a lack of direct data. However, it is possible to develop measures of black cultural pride and identity from survey data that are closely related to those topics. We must caution, however, that the survey data available do not fully reflect the depth and complexity of the views expressed in black literature, oratory, political commentary, or in ordinary discourse in the black community. In the next section we report the findings of a survey of recent analyses of black attitudes as they pertain to these issues (Bobo, 1987~. GROU P I DENTITY AN D CONSCIOUSN ESS Black attitudes toward aspects of race relations other than issues of integra- tion and equality fall into three interrelated groups: (1) black cultural and political consciousness, (2) black alienation from white society, and (3) atti- tudes related to black militancy. Studies of each group provide important and systematic data on the meanings blacks attach to race and race relations in the United States. In addition to drawing on this body of research, we have conducted secondary analyses of two national sample surveys of blacks. We use data from the 1979-1980 National Survey of Black Americans (NSBA), collected by researchers at the University of Michigan's Institute for Social Research (Jackson and Gurin, 1987), and from the 1982 General Social Survey. How any group sees itself involves the use of labels and associated mean- ings (Hymen, 1968; Rosenberg, 1979, 1981~. What do black people call themselves and what sorts of traits, qualities, and accomplishments do they believe to be attributes of group members? The labels used to designate black Americans have changed considerably over the past several decades, with popular usage of terms such as "colored" and "Negro" having all but vanished. Table 44 displays the responses of two national samples of blacks to questions on the group name they prefer. Depending on how the ques- tion is worded, these data show that between 52 and 72 percent of black Americans prefer the label "black." No other category, even one combining 196

A COMMON DESTINY: BLACKS AND AMERICAN SOCIETY TABLE 4-5 Reasons for Feeling a Sense of Black Group Pride Question and Responses What are the things about black people that make you feel the most prow? Socioeconomic or scholastic achievements Group pride, identity, togetherness, and mutual support Endurance, striving, progress made Impact on mass culture or athletics Black cultural heritage Morality and religiosity Nothing or no difference Miscellaneous Not ascertained or inapplicable (N = 2,107) Source: Data from the 1970-1980 National Survey of Black Americans. Percent 28 24 22 5 4 4 3 6 3 TABLE 4-6 Black Parents' Attitudes Toward Socialization of Their Children - Percentage As Percentag~ Question and Response Saying "Yes" of Total Sample In raising your children have you dune or told them things to help them know what it is to be black? (If "Yes") What are the most important things you've done or tokl them? ,. . . Necessity to excel and survive 23 12 Racial pride and heritage 26 12 Problem of racism and prejudice 9 4 Values of tolerance and equality 8 4 Social distance from whites 3 1 Religion and conventional values 9 4 Acceptance of self and blackness 13 6 Defer to or fear whites 1 Miscellaneous 3 1 Not ascertained or inapplicable 3 54 (N = 1,003) (N = 2,107) Source: Data from the 1979-1980 National Survey of Black Americans. 198

IDENTITY AND INSTITUTIONS IN THE BLACK COMMUNITY TABLE ~ Blacks' Preferred Group Name Surveys, Qutsnons' and Responses People use different words to rear to people of our race. What word do you use? Black (or black Amencan) Negro Colored Afro -Am e n can Other positive Other negative None, don't know, don't care, doesn't matter (Data from 1979-1980 National Survey of Black Amencans: N = 2,069) Percent Which wo?'l~you mom like to be called, "black, " "Negro, " "colored, " or "Afi~o- American, " or doesn't it make any difference? Black Negro Colored Afro-Amencan Makes no difference (Data from 1982 General Social Survey: N = 503) 72 9 12 2 52 6 5 6 31 "Negro" and "colored," approaches "black" in level of preference.2 The principal difference between the two questions involves a much higher use of the "makes no difference" response by those interviewed in the 1982 General Social Survey. The questions are sufficiently different that these results should not be treated as indicating change over time. The labels themselves tell little about what people believe to be the traits and qualities that characterize group members. The 1979-1980 NSBA ap- proached this issue in several ways. One was an open-ended question con- cerning "the things about black people that make you feel the most proud." A large and diverse set of responses were obtained; one coding of these responses is presented in Table TV. Very few black people responded by saying "nothing" or that there were no distinctive qualities about which blacks should be proud (3 percent). The bulk of responses fall into three categories: those concerned with the socioeconomic and scholastic achieve- ments of group members (28 percent); those concerned with the degree of group pride and mutual support shown by blacks (24 percent); and com- ments concerning the general qualities of endurance, striving, and ultimate group progress (22 percent). How do black parents socialize their children with regard to race' Sixty- three percent of blacks who have had children reported that they had spoken with their children about "what it is to be black." Table t6 displays responses to an open-ended question concerning the specific types of things 2. An interesting development in the late 1980s has been an announced preference for the label African-American by a number of prominent blacks. This illustrates the dynamic nature of black identity. 197

IDENTITY AND INSTITUTIONS IN THE BLACK COMMUNITY TABLE ~7 Black's Attitudes Toward Group Bonds and Dating Exclusivity (percent) Strongly Strongly Don't Question Agree Agree Disagree Disagree Care Black parents should give their children African names. 3 17 56 10 14 Black children should study an Ahican language. 14 42 29 6 9 Black people should shop in black-owned stores whenever possible. 16 47 30 4 3 Blacks should always vote for black cancli dates when they run. 13 26 51 7 3 Black women should not date white men. 13 26 51 7 3 Black men should not date white women. 13 18 48 8 13 Source: Data from the 1979-1980 diagonal Survey of Black Amencans; the number of respon- dents ranged Tom 2,058 to 2,073. parents discussed with their children. Twenty-three percent of black parents indicated that they stressed the need to excel and work hard to survive, and another 26 percent indicated that they emphasized racial pride and black heritage to their children; only 9 percent emphasized the need to cope with racism and prejudice, although this issue may underlie many of the more frequently offered responses. Several analysts of riot-related attitudes in the 1960s were struck by evidences of positive group identity among blacks. This finding appeared to some analysts as an "unexpected" and important discovery because it contradicted theories of reactions to prejudice that pre- dicted a low and deprecatory self-image for minority group members. This finding was important for at least two other reasons. First, it showed positive evidence that group identity coexisted with support for integration and intergroup harmony and with skepticism toward militant separatism. Sec- ond, this positive identity was an important factor in black support for political actions-including the ghetto uprisings of the 1960s-that had promise of drawing attention to black concerns and improving the status of blacks (Campbell and Schuman, 1968; Sears and McConahay, 1973:189~. In many ways, the 1979-1980 data tell a similar story about feelings of group bonds and separatism among blacks. Table ~7 presents data on six questions, four of which concern symbolic and behavioral acts indicative of a sense of collective pride and identity and two of which speak to a desire for social distance from whites. Among the symbolic ways of expressing positive group bonds, 56 percent of blacks agreed with the statement that "black children should study an African language," and 20 percent agreed that "black parents should give their children African names." These re- sponses probably index a general disposition to approve of emphasizing an African heritage rather than actual behavior patterns. The questions about behavior asked whether "blacks should always vote for black candidates when they run" (39 percent agreed) and whether "black people should shop at black-owned stores whenever possible" (63 percent agreedj. 199 -

A COMMON DESTINY: BLACKS AND AMERICAN SOCIETY The two questions on separatism ask, first, whether "black women should not date white men" (39 percent agreed) and, second, whether "black men should not date white women" (31 percent agreed). Thus, between 3 and 4 of 10 blacks approved of group exclusivity in dating relationships. A small percentage of blacks strongly disagreed with either statement (7 percent for the question on black women and 8 percent for the question on black men). These results, when viewed in the light of stable and nearly unanimous black support for school integration and no race-based restrictions on housing choice as well as a majority preference for integrated neighborhoods (see Chapter 3), suggest that many blacks view integration in neighborhoods and public institutions as compatible with a continued sense of group affiliation and identity. The two dating questions are highly intercorrelated (Bobo, 1987~. An index composed of the dating questions and one composed of the remaining four symbolic and behavioral questions are modestly correlated, indicating that those blacks who oppose interracial dating are also more likely to favor other ways of affirming the group boundary. Still, the relatively low correla- tions of the indices indicate that many blacks who support various symbolic ways of expressing group ties do so while not endorsing racially exclusive dating. Older blacks are more likely than younger blacks to oppose interracial dating and to support the several symbolic ways of affirming group bounda- ries. Better educated blacks and those with higher family incomes are less likely than other blacks to oppose interracial dating and the other group symbolic acts. These data have implications for debates about the extent to which blacks have been effectively assimilated into an American cultural "melting pot" and about the effects of increasing class stratification within the black com- munity. In particular, the age and education effects suggest some younger and better educated blacks do not feel as strong a sense of group boundaries as do older and less well educated blacks. Whether these differences reflect important cohort differences that might involve substantial change within the black population, or differences more properly attributed to aging per se, is not clear. Overall, these findings suggest two main implications. First, most black Americans experience and attach importance to a group cultural identity. Second, an interwoven set of qualities-such as group cohesion, striving, and endurance-and a perceived need to continue to instill such qualities in future generations appear to be key elements of this cultural identity. To the extent that these orientations treat race as an important social characteristic, involve a sense of obligation to blacks, and indicate a commitment to overcoming group disadvantages, these patterns of cultural identity indicate a high degree of race consciousness among black Americans. 200

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A COMMON DESTINY: BLACKS AND AMERICAN SOCIETY Peterson, Paul E., and David J. Greenstone 1977 Racial change and citizen participation: the mobilization of low-income commu- nities through community action. Ch. 6 in Robert H. Haveman, ea., A Decade of FederalAntipovertyPPograms: Achievements, Failures, and Lessons. New York: Aca- demic Press. Powell, Richard 1986 The Visual Arts and Afro-America: 1940-1980. Paper prepared for the Commit- tee on the Status of Black Americans, National Research Council, Washington, D.C. loud, Adolph L., Jr. 1986 The Jesse Jackson Phenomenon: The Crisis of Purpose in Afro-American Politics. New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press. Rosenberg, Morris 1979 Conceiving the Self New York: Basic Books. 1981 The self-concept: social product and social force. Pp. 593-624 in Morris Rosen- berg and Ralph M. Turner, eds., Social Psychology: Sociological Perspectives. New York: Basic Books. Schofield, Janet Ward 1986 School Desegregation and Black Americans. Paper prepared for the Committee on the Status of Black Americans, National Research Council, Washington, D.C. Sears, David O., and John B. McConahay 1973 The Politics of Violence: The New Urban Blacks and the Watts Bat. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. Simpson, George E., and J. Milton Yinger 1985 Racial and Cultural Minorities. 5th ed. New York: Plenum. Sites, Paul, and Elizabeth I. Mullins 1985 The American black elite, 1930-1978. Phylon 46(September3:269-280. Smith, Robert C. 1982 Black Leadership: A Survey of Theory and Research. Institute for Urban Affairs and Research. Washington, D.C.: Howard University. Spear, Allan H. 1967 Black Chicago: The Making of a Negro Ghetto: 1890-1920. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Tollet, Kenneth S. 1981 Black Institutions of Higher Learning: Inadvertent Victims or Necessary Sacrifices? With 1981 prologue update. Institute for the Study of Educational Policy. Washington, D.C.: Howard University. Turner, John B., and Whitney M. Young, Jr. 1965 Who has the revolution or thoughts on the second reconstruction. In Talcott Parsons and Kenneth B. Clark, eds., The ~e,gro American. Boston: Beacon Press. U.S. Commission on Civil Rights 1981 The Black/VVhite Colleges: Dismantling the Dual System of Hither Education. Clearing holist Publication 66(April). Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office. Wilkinson, Doris Y. 1987 A Profile of the Nation's Resources: The Academic Missions and Cultures of Traditionally Black Colleges and Universities. Paper prepared for the Committee on the Status of Black Americans, National Research Council, Washington, D.C. Wilson, James Q. 1973 Political Or~anizatioYIs. New York: Basic Books. Work, Monroe N. 1937 Negro Rear Book: An Annual Encyclopedia of the Negro, 1937-1938. Tuskegee, Ala.: Negro Year Book Publishing Company. 204

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"[A] collection of scholars [has] released a monumental study called A Common Destiny: Blacks and American Society. It offers detailed evidence of the progress our nation has made in the past 50 years in living up to American ideals. But the study makes clear that our work is far from over." --President Bush Remarks by the president to the National Urban League Conference

The product of a four-year, intensive study by distinguished experts, A Common Destiny presents a clear, readable "big picture" of blacks' position in America. Drawing on historical perspectives and a vast amount of data, the book examines the past 50 years of change and continuity in the status of black Americans. By studying and comparing black and white age cohorts, this volume charts the status of blacks in areas such as education, housing, employment, political participation and family life.

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