Whitney Young was the President of the National Urban League.
Socialists in the White House
History of the Revolutionary Action Movement:
In 1963, young activists led by Max Stanford ( Muhammad Ahmad)—a close associate of Malcolm X and Queen Mother Audley Moore —created the Revolutionary Action Movement . A semi-clandestine organization and paramilitary wing of the Organization of Afro-American Unity, the RAM articulated a revolutionary program for African Americans that fused Black nationalism with Marxism-Leninism. Its goal was to develop revolutionary cadre in the northern cities and connect with more militant students in the south involved with the Student Non-violent Coordinating Committee and the Congress of Racial Equality .
RAM supported the movement by SNCC and others for armed self-defense for southern Blacks terrorized by the Ku Klux Klan—the extra-legal army "enforcing the racist Jim Crow segregation system". RAM also provided security for Malcolm X after his break from the Nation of Islam and members of RAM actively participated in the Organization of Afro-American Unity.
RAM had an extremely active branch in Detroit, which had become a center of revolutionary activism. During the 1967 Detroit Rebellion, RAM formed the Black Guards, a youth group that hoped to channel the spontaneous rebellion into coordinated revolutionary action.
- Despite their limited success in this regard, RAM was one of the first groups that not only recognized the legitimacy of urban rebellions, but also aimed to formulate a concrete plan of action around those rebellions.
RAM became one of the first casualties of the FBI’s Counter-Intelligence Program (COINTELPRO) . Max Stanford and other RAM leaders were charged with plotting to assassinate mainstream political leaders Roy Wilkins and Whitney Young. At this point, Stanford dissolved the formal structure of the organization. As individuals, many RAM members gained influence in groups like the League of Revolutionary Black Workers.
Wallace Terry, author of "Bloods: An Oral History of the Vietnam War by Black Veterans" visited Vietnam in 1967 as a correspondent for Time magazine.
- "While there he observed that the majority of African-Americans in Vietnam were of the school of thought that it was better to fight for civil rights at home by proving their patriotism in Vietnam, rather than engaging in violence."
Three years later in 1970, Wallace Terry returned to Vietnam to conduct a survey among 392 African-American and white soldiers from all branches of the military and from both enlisted and officer ranks.
- The results of his survey dramatically show a change in African-American attitudes only after three years. In 1967 Martin Luther King, Muhammad Ali and Stokely Carmichael were not very popular with African-American soldiers because of their stance against the Vietnam War. But in 1970 they were regarded as heroes for the same reason.
Some of the other results of Terry's 1970 survey:
- 50% of African-Americans said that they would use their weapons in the struggle for civil rights in the United States.
- 30% said they would join black power organizations.
- 83% believed that additional American race riots were inevitable and 45% of those said that they would participate in such riots.
- 45% would refuse orders to put down riots involving African-Americans.
- 65% believed that race relations in Vietnam would deteriorate.
- 76% rejected the term "Negro" for "Black" or "Afro-American."
- 72% approved of Eldridge Cleaver.
- 70% approved of Malcolm X.
- 69% approved of Muhammad Ali.
The March on Washington was initiated by A. Philip Randolph who was the International president of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, President of the Negro American Labor Council, and Vice President of the AFL-CIO
Planning for the event was complicated by differences among members. Known in the press as "the big six," the major players were Randolph; Whitney Young, President of the National Urban League; Roy Wilkins, President of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People; James Farmer, President of the Congress of Racial Equality; John Lewis, President of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and Martin Luther King Jr., the founder and President of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. Bayard Rustin, a close associate of Randolph's and organizer of the first Freedom Ride in 1947, orchestrated and administered the majority of the details of the march.
- Terry, Wallace. (1970). "Bringing the War Home." Black Scholar, 2(3), p. 6-18.
- Congress of Racial Equality website: March on Washington