Harassment of Black Leaders

Another early example of a group which used the library-conference room was a group who studied the patterns of Harassment of Black Elected Officials. In the early 90’s there was a deliberate local and national effort to undermine the credibility of black elected officials through attacks in the press and other public means of communication. The program was not limited to elected officials, but to anyone who might be gaining prestige and leadership in the black community. We brought both national and local black leaders together with our CCI constituency, to share plans to counteract the program. Studying this effort became for us at CCI a lesson in the deeply rooted fear in the white power structure. That fear led to deliberate efforts to undermine the personal lives of black people who were seen to be gathering too much popular power. Desire to control and the fear of losing power were dominant in the movement. All of it pointed to the ultimate weakness and insecurity of whites who could not stand the prospect of black leaders gaining power. It was an instance of a systemic fear that we were later to see abundantly illustrated in the history of white over black.

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