Did Integration help or hurt Black People?



One of the standard endings of fairy tales is that they live happily ever after. So there was this “great fantasy,” a part of the assimilationist fantasy (willfully and deceptively misnomer(ed) integration), that said once we integrate with white folks, once we go to school with them, once we break down the barriers to employment (not simultaneously sustain and/or build our own economic infrastructure) and all this kinda stuff, we’ll live happily ever after (with whites).

Yet, history didn’t justify this inflated belief at all, then or now. I’ve said on many occasions, people progress in history but they also what?


All of this happens in history: people may integrate at one time in history, but they may also do what at another time?


Black Americans have been adequately conditioned to believe in the American ideal of progress, that things must necessarily get better than they were before.


There is no law in the universe that promises any individual or any people that things necessarily get better than they were before.

We’ve seen, peoples, nations and “civilizations” do what? RISE, MATURE, FALL! We’ve seen, literally, nations and ethnic groups disappear from the face of this earth.

We’ve witnessed on this very so-called American continent, the near decimation of the native population.

We can look at our own history: the history of the Reconstruction Era of the 1860s and 1870s when blacks could’ve vote, were elected to the Senate and the House of Representatives (Congress), also parts of state legislatures, and were sheriffs, headed corporations, had strong civil rights legislations, etc.

Yet, all of this was taken back from us by white America, who thought it convenient to do so, based on their interest (because they had and still have the POWER TO DO SO!).

And it took literally 100 hundred years for us to get the same opportunities back. If the law said that progress is the only thing that happens, then we shouldn’t have been struggling for voting rights in the 1960s because we had them in the 1870s, we shouldn’t have been struggling for civil rights and many of the other things because we had many of them in the 1860s and 1870s.

Still, we’re encouraged by “black leaders” and their “white friends” to believe that the “advancement” of few of us represents the “advancement” for the rest of us. Well, let’s check this fantasy against reality.

We will see an almost direct relationship between the numbers of black elected and appointed officials and the suffering of Africans in America.

We lamented the death of Thurgood Marshall, rightfully, but I find it interesting that he got more out of the Supreme Court while he was a lawyer than when he was a Justice sitting on the bench.

It’s further interesting that he sat on that bench only to watch many of his achievements roll back by the very Supreme Court for which he practiced.

We had a black man who was Secretary of Health, only to see the African community be devastated by drugs, tuberculosis, AIDS and other kinds of diseases.

We get a black man who was Secretary of Housing, and at the very point homelessness plagued and devastated the African community.

We see men and women sitting on courts across the nation and see them as district attorneys and such, and at this very point we see what?

More African men, women, and even youths, going to jail and prison. Where is this promise, then, of sitting our “black bourgeoises” on local courts or even the Supreme Court, as district attorneys (or the Attorney General), to elected and appointed positions of all kinds (even the President of the US), heads of corporations, etc., was somehow going to advance our conditions?


– Dr. Amos Wilson (1993)

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