A coalition of black political, entertainment, civil rights, athletic and religious leaders yesterday released a self-help strategy for the "survival and progress" of black people.
"Today, as we face the most serious challenge in modern times to our right to full participation in the economic, political and social life of our nation, a broad-based family of black leaders has developed . . . a 'simple, moral, intelligent plan,' " said Del. Walter E. Fauntroy, (D-D.C.), chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus.
The 44-page booklet, titled "The Black Leadership Family Plan for the Unity, Survival, and Progress of Black People," contains 12 rules, including "register and vote," and "buy and bank black." It urges the establishment of a development fund, suggests that individuals pledge to contribute directly to black organizations, and offers criteria for black organizations, such as building coalitions with farmers or other groups.
The plan was inspired by the 1971 speech of actor-producer Ossie Davis, who said then, "Give us a plan of action . . . a 10 Black Commandments . . . even if all of our leaders, one by one, fall in battle, somebody will rise and say 'Brother! Our leader died while we were on page three of the plan. Now that the funeral is over, let us proceed to page four.' " At yesterday's press conference at the Cannon House Office Building, Davis said, "One of the surviving myths in America was that of open opportunity . . . black folks set a great purpose in America, because what happens to us will happen to the rest of America in 10 years."
Fauntroy said the plan will be disseminated free to the country's estimated 30 million blacks, and publicized through the National Newspaper Publishers Association and black radio stations. The plan was endorsed by Coretta King, president of the Martin Luther King Center for Social and Non-Violent Change; Joseph Lowery, president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference; Bishop John Hurst Adams, chairman of the National Congress of Black Churches; and Dorothy Height, president of the National Council of Negro Women.