Let it be said that when given a chance to complete the liberation of black Americans, on June 23, 2003 five justices consigned them to another generation - or, perhaps, a term of indefinite duration - of virtual enslavement to the past.
I think it's a bit of a myth that black Americans need one leader. We're not a monolith. And now that legal segregation and discrimination has been pretty much abolished there isn't the sort of universal mandate that a black leader would have. Black folks live in a wide variety of social situations right now.
I don't see a huge difference between the African condition and the black American condition. The only real difference is that black Americans live in the richest country on Earth surrounded by a majority white population and are almost entirely disconnected from their original culture and their God-given identity.
You have to use what you have in order to get what you need and the people can not be rich unless somebody is rich. The Hip-Hop generation has carried more people with it than any other enterprise Black Americans have had.
There's a class divide in black America that doesn't seem to trouble black Americans so much, but whites use it and exploit it. The progress of a few is allowed to stand for the progress of everyone. We can't afford that kind of disaffection at the moment.
The welfare state has done to Black Americans what slavery (and Jim Crow and racism) could not have done. . .break up the black family. Today, just slightly over 30 percent of black kids live in two-parent families. Historically, from the 1870s on. . . 75-90 percent of black kids lived in two-parent families.
Ron Karenga wrote a book back in 1968, and in that book, he said that the reason, part of his motivation for starting Kwanzaa was because he felt that Christianity was the white man religion, and he didn't like Jews, and so he made up this lie. And he called it an African holiday because he was concerned that if he didn't call it an African holiday, that black Americans would not participate in it.
There's no reason why you can't say "August Wilson, playwright" even though all of my work, every single play, is about black Americans, about black American culture, about the black experience in America. I write about the black experience of men, or I write about black folks. That's who I am. In the same manner that Chekhov wrote about the Russians, I write about blacks. I couldn't do anything else. I wouldn't do anything else.
When President Kennedy was elected, many black Americans, like so many Americans, were captivated by his youth and energy and promise and were especially hopeful that he might move the country in a new direction on civil rights.