By Lucius Gantt
Too many important Black organizations have declined or have been dissolved.
I’m old enough to remember when Black professionals would come together and comfort, nurture, inform and educate each other.
The Black media professionals, Black lawyers, Black doctors, Black Nurses, Black educators, Black contractors, Black entertainers, the Black athletes, the Black clergy and other professionals came together and networked with each other, promoted each other and patronized each other.
Today, Black organizations are floundering and suffering from the negative effects of integration.
For hundreds of years, Black professionals were denied memberships in white professional groups primarily because of their skin color.
One day, integrationists told Blacks living in the United States that they could patronize white businesses, sleep in white hotels, live in white neighborhoods, attend white schools and join white groups.
Subsequently, instead of studying at HBCUs and other Black institutions of higher learning, Blacks began to seek entrance into non-Black schools.
It was suggested and thought that education at white schools was the way to go.
Now, not all Black students attended non-Black schools because there was universal agreement that white schools were superior. To some African Americans, some predominately state-run white schools were cheaper, or more affordable, than Black schools. For instance, when I was in college, it was less costly to attend Georgia State College than it was to go to Morehouse College.
Eventually, many Black students attending white schools began to ignore invitations to join Black Professional groups and selected to join similar white controlled professional groups. Most Black students chose to join the professional groups that included their white professors and their white classmates.
So, the memberships in Black groups that had hundreds, and perhaps thousands, of members, before integration had fewer and fewer members.
I’m not saying Blacks shouldn’t join the ABA, the ADA, the PBA or the NEA, I think that Blacks could benefit from joining multiple professional organizations.
The cultural, communal and historical aspects of memberships in Black organizations is both needed and desired.
Ignorant Black professionals have got to understand and accept the fact that most members of white professional organizations may also be members of the ku klux klan, the proud boys, the oath keepers and neo-nazi groups.
The Florida Press Association will not be going out of their way to publicize and patronize Black newspapers and Black radio stations and the Georgia Dental Association will not be creating programs to increase monetization for Black dentists, for example.
Not only does God bless the child that has his own, God also blesses the Black professionals that create, finance and maintain their own organizations.
The idea of joining or not joining “mainstream” groups has existed forever, so to speak.
The pursuit of Black power and how to achieve it has been debated by the best Black minds worldwide. Some people say we should pray for progress, some say we should vote for progress and others even say we should fight for progress.
I say, whatever we do, we need to work together. We need to join existing Black organizations and start new Black organizations.
Where there is Black organizational unity, there is Black strength and Black power.
The people, and groups, united can never be defeated, disparaged and disrespected!
If you choose to join a professional organization, don’t join the “wrong” organization.