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Decades Later, the Plan Continues to Outweigh the Man

Dr. Wilmer J. Leon III | 9/11/2013, 3 p.m.
On June 18, 1971, actor and activist Ossie Davis gave the keynote address at the first fundraiser for the Congressional ...
Ossie Davis

Davis called upon the thirteen members of the CBC to provide a plan of action. “Give to us a “Ten Black Commandments,” simple and strong, that we can carry in our hearts and in our memories…and feel the reassurance that there is behind everything we do a simple, moral, intelligent plan that must be fulfilled in the course of time.”

He called upon the CBC to provide “a reassurance that there is a needed political alignment even in the black community now.” The CBC should go into every major city where Blacks are gathered, “…as a group to be seen by the people, so that Blacks in all areas, in all cities, can participate as you participate here tonight.”

Today there are forty-three members of the CBC. According to Rep. Marcia L. Fudge (OH-11) the 23rd Chair, Congressional Black Caucus, “in the 21st Century, African Americans and other communities of color continue to be disparately impacted by poverty, environmental, justice, and healthcare challenges.” If you go to the CBC website it is clear that the CBC is “actively involved in sponsoring and drafting legislation about issues that are important to (the) nation and to the African-American community.”

For all of the great work that the CBC is involved in so much more is needed. Davis ended his remarks with the following, “We want a plan so simple, so easy to remember that we carry it in our heads. So that if the storm of oppression should wipe us out, all but one family, and that family was crouching somewhere in the dark, one brother would reach out to another and say, “Hey, hey man, what’s the plan?”

From President Obama to the CBC and elected state and local officials as well, we must move away from the politics of personality and focus on the politics of policy and accountability. “Let us stop making history by ad hoc methods and impromptu improvisations. Let us plan the whole thing out, give everybody his assignment, and hold him strictly responsible if he doesn’t carry it out.” “Hey, hey man, what’s the plan?”