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There are sporadic outbursts of violence and rumors of cached guns and ammunition. Investigators who have spent months inside the more violent wings of the movement say that some leaders are vowing "to put the whites on reservations like they did the Indians. We don't want integration or segregation; we want the whole country. We are going to carry out total revolution, and afterward there will be only blacks, some Negroes, and no whites."
Very few of even the most militant leaders in the movement would care to see Black Power become black terror. In Milwaukee, where Negroes are caroling, "I'm Dreaming of a Black Christmas," the most publicized white leader in the new wave takes the position that peace, not violence, is the prospect. Says Father James E. Groppi, the Roman Catholic priest whose Negro followers call him "Ajax, the White Knight": "Black solidarity is a black identity to combat what is going on all around us. This is the prelude to real brotherhood and justice. Power is essential to black people in that with it they can move to a position to demand what is theirs. It teaches respect, and respect always precedes true brotherhood and love."
The fact is that the major part of the Black Power movement, at least now, is far more moderate than its reputation. In the main, it desires neither to shoot its way out of white America nor to enter a supremacy contest with the white Establishment. Its goals lie within democracy's permissive framework, which has stretched many times before to assimilate minority groups and which, as far as the U.S. Negro is concerned, must stretch again for him.
Toward Integration What the Negro wants is far less revolutionary than what this country's founders demanded of England two centuries ago. The Negro does not want out. He wants in, and on terms that stand somewhat higher on the scale of reasonableness than the reaction to them in some corners of the white Establishment. As catalogued by the Washington Committee on Black Power, these terms include ten essentials, among them black pride ("which neither requests nor solicits; it demands"), black control of black communities, black economic productivity ("dignity through self-support"), black responsibility ("Black people themselves are responsible for their homes, their children, their schools, their streets"), black initiative, black excellence ("Let black people be the best"), black creativity and togethernessand black self-defense.
Only human reason, black and white together, will decide whether the Negro gets what he wants. White America is only beginning to understand the new Negro mood, which is passing from the self-abasement that slavery taught to the self-sufficiency that lies still over a distant hill. The black is learning how to be black, rather than a carbon-copy white. And the pride, the new Negro institutions, the black cooperatives and the black student groups are all testimonials to his new spirit of independence. They will pass as the need for them declines, and as the Negro develops the respect for himself that will embolden him to demand the same respect from all of society.