Resources for Congregations

Black Power Defined by Martin Luther King Jr.

August 03, 2010  |  Download PDF

When a people ar emired in opression, they realize deliverance only when they have accumulated the power to enforce change.  The powerful never lose opportunities - they remain available to them.  The powerless, on the other hand, never experience opportunity - it is always ariving at the later time.

The nettlesome task of Negros today is to discover how to organize our strenght into compelling power so that government cannot elude our demands.  We must develop, from strength, a situation in which the government finds it wise and prudent to collaborate with us.  It would be the height of naivete to wait passibvely until the administration had somehow been infused with such blessings of good will that it implored us for our programs. 

We must frankly acknowledge that in past years our creativity and imagination were not employed in learing how to develop power.  We found a method in nonviolent protest that worked, and we empoloyed it enthusiastically.  We did not have leaisure to probe for a deeper understanding of its laws and lines of development.  Although our actions were bold and crowned with success, they were substantially improvised and spontaneous.  They attained the goals set for them but carried the blemishes of our inexperience.

This is where the civil rights movement stands today.  Now we must take the next major step of examining the levers of power which Negros must grasp to influence the course of events.  In our society power sources can always finally be traced to ideological, economic, and political forces.