Thomas Sowell, the outspoken black neoconservative and Reagan administration favorite, is forming a national black organization intended as a counterweight to the NAACP and other liberal civil rights groups.
"My purpose is to put forth my vision of the world and offer a forum for other views of the world," said Sowell, who has brought new controversy to the civil rights debate by arguing against such government programs as affirmative action and the minimum wage to help blacks, stressing instead old-fashioned vitures of self-reliance and hard work.
The new group, which was incorported this week in California under the name Black Alternatives Association Inc., plans to establish by late March chapters in six major cities, including Washington, with two others forming soon afterward.
Associates of Sowell said corporations and major conservative foundations have promised to contribute the $100,000 organizers believe they need to get the venture off the ground.
The organizers have also held discussions with lawyers interested in forming a conservative public interest law firm to work in concert with the new group that would be modeled after the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.
Sowell, 50, a free-market economist and senior fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution, has spent most of his adult years as an academic and is not widely known among blacks at large.
But his extensively researched and skillfully argued attracks on traditional liberal policy and his association with men now in the inner circle of the Reagan administration have given him enormous influence and a national pulpit in major news organizations.
He has had articles published in The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post and The New York Times, has been written about in Time and Newsweek and was featured in a recent CBS-TV Cronkite Show.
In December he was the key figure at a first-time conference of black neo-conservatives in San Francisco that drew about 125 black Ivy League professors, lawyers, physicians, dentists and commentators. The conference was sponsored by the Institute for Contemporary Studies, a conservative research organization established by former aides to President Reagan after he left the statehouse in Sacramento. Edwin Meese III, Reagan's counselor and top White House aide, has been a board member of the institute and attended the December meeting, praising the group for having a freshness of outlook on black problems which he said contrasted with the old remedies continually put forth by the traditional civil rights organizations.
Sowell and associates emphasize inadequate jobs, education and housing as the basic problems confronting black Americans, just as the traditional civil rights organizations do. But while they are sharply critical, even vituperative, in their attacks on the programs and policies advocated by the established rights groups, the black neoconservatives have yet to come up with any coherent solutions of their own. Sowell said that will be done next month when the conservative Hoover Institution sponsors a second conference and the new Black Alternatives Association Inc. is to be launched.
By then they hope to have chapters in San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, Houston and Washington with groups in Atlanta and Chicago being established somewhat later.