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April 28, 1983
Black political strength
You use it or lose it
The recent election of Chicago's first black mayor has been like a flexing of
muscle for black political activists.
Though both candidates tried to play down the "race issue" the tension that
prevailed over the city was undeniable. Whites wearing white buttons just seem
ed to prove to blacks that "white people stick together."
Harold Washington won by only a small margin over his opponent Bernard
Epton. But only 20 percent of his supporters were white. This means that whites
were still not willing to look at Harold Washington as a candidate, and that they
would rather change their whole political ideology to vote Republican rather
than to vote black.
Fortunately, black voter turnout is nearing the levels of whites. Recently
released figures showed that in 1982 blacks voted in larger numbers than whites
in several cities.
With the political strength of blacks on the increase we must also, through
reading, listening and asking questions, make ourselves more politically
Most people were aware of the situation in C hicago. T he media coverage was
continuous. But most events of relevance to blacks are not so blatently spelled
out and we must look closely in order to recognize them.
For instance, issues involving teachers and public schools are of special
significance to us because of the numbers of black teachers and black students in
the public school system.
President Reagan has shown the impact of the executive office on the lives of
blacks. Ironically, it is the people who are least likely to go out and vote — the
poor and under-educated — that are hurt the most by his policies.
It was the policies of recently elected Governor George Wallace, who boasted
the support of several A labama blacks, that serves as another example of lack of
awareness on the part of blacks — or group supfjort on the part of whites. To
allow a man who once vowed to uphold segregation, to win political office is an
irrevocable action. Even if Wallace has changed, his hatred for blacks is un
forgettable — at least to those of us on the outside looking in.
This is not to say that all blacks must vote a certain way, or even think a cer
tain way and stick with the group just because "the leader" says this is who
we're going to vote for this year.
This is to say that more blacks should realize the implications of decisions
made on their [jehalf by people who they either elect or allow to be elected,
blacks who have a common interest — whether it be in higher quality public
education or paved roads on their side of town — must recognize that voting
strength is one very good way of getting what they want.
If blackness can be converted into words and pictures,
we intend to do it.
Editor in Chief
1 NO I
Blacks should hold onto past
By Albertina Smith
Finally, the moment we've all been
longing for — the end of the semester
and the beginning of another sunv
mer. Some plan to work while others
will be attending summer school. A
few intend to tour places like Mexico
and the Bahamas while others will be
lucky to see anyplace but Smurfville,
North Carolina. If you're like me,
you'll be content just to stay home
and eat genuine mom's food for a
Regardless of what we plan to do
this summer, we should all hope to
make the best of it. One way to have
a really memorable summer is to
spend it by getting closer in tune with
family members, particularly the
elderly. It is surprising to realize how
strengthening such relationships can
help you develop a deeper apprecia
tion for your family and cultural
It is especially vital that we seek to
enhance our family ties in these times
in which the family seems to be
disintegrating and losing out in im
portance to the materialistic society.
I often reminisce over the summer
before my freshman year. I stayed
with my grandparents throughout Ju
ly. I did everything that a little coun
try girl could ever think of.
Starting off the day at 6 a.m., I
would help my grandfather paint,
build cabinets, and lay down counter-
tops. Some days we would go out in
the country and pick beans, peas and
relax at the end of the day with a nice,
The most peaceful times were spent
picking blueberries in the midst of the
dark and cool leaves of the vines and
chasing yellow birds that ate the ber
ries. That summer my grandfather
even told me "How to make a
nigger," which incidently is a recipe
that you won't find in Betty Crocker's
All in all the summer was spent just
getting closer to my grandparents and
thanking them for all that they had
done for me. During- our most
secretive moments, I shared my
dreams for the future with them.
They told me how they had to strug
gle just to keep the family fed. It was
evident that their lives were full of
Learning of a past that 1 had never
had to live gave me a greater ap
preciation for my grandparents and
our collective history as a black peo
I believe that it is particularly im
portant for black students at Carolina
to strengthen their hold on their past.
To possess the inner power and
courage that comes from our family
ties serves as a stabilizing force in our
lives. In a world such as our's, it is
easy to have your sense of self shat
tered by the racist and dehumanizing
aspects which surround us.
Hence, our family ties can be a
valuable lifeline that will hold our
heads above the high waters as we at
tempt to progress and to mobilize
Our generation of blacks have
great potential. Yet this potential is
like sand in the wind unless we know
where we've been, who we are, and
where we are going.