I'm reading Stokely's speeches again today. Below is an excerpt from a speech delivered at Berkeley on October 29,1966 where he talks about poverty as only he can:

"And that runs on today, you see, because what we have today is that we have what we call modern-day Peace Corps...uh...missionaries. And they come into our ghettos and they Head Start, Upward Lift, Bootstrap, and Upward Bound us into white society. 'Cause they don't want to face the real problem. Which is a man is poor for one reason and one reason only: because he does not have money. Period. If you want to get rid of poverty you give people money. Period. And you ought not tell me about people who don't work, and you can't give people money without working, because if that were true, you'd have to start stopping Rockefeller, Bobby Kennedy, Lyndon Baines Johnson, the whole Standard Oil, the Gulf Club [Gulf Corporation] -- all of them. Including probably a large number of the board of trustees of this university.

So the question, then, clearly is not whether or not one can work. It's who has power? Who has power to make his or her acts legitimate? That is all. And that [in] this country that power is invested in the hands of white people, and they make their acts legitimate. It is now, therefore, for black people to make our acts legitimate.


How do you raise the questions of poverty? The assumption for this country is that if someone is poor, they are poor because of their own individual blight, or they weren't born on the right side of town, they had too many children, they went in the army too early, their father was a drunk, they didn't care about school, they made a mistake. That's a lot of nonsense. Poverty is well calculated in this country. It is well calculated. And the reason why the poverty program won't work is because the calculators of poverty are administering it. That's why it won't work.

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