This piece was originally printed in Southern Partisan Magazine in 1994.
By the 1970s, all vestiges of legal discrimination in the South had been eliminated. Indeed, affirmative action programs, minority entitlements, and special considerations in the marketplace have given blacks a solid place at the table of mainstream American life. A new black middle class, driven by the work ethic and encouraged by private as well as public programs, is establishing itself in the American business community—South as well as North—South more than North.
In the face of these changes, organizations like the NAACP and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference have found themselves writhing on the horns of a dilemma. On the one hand, just as ships acquire barnacles, they have, over a period of decades, acquired enormous staffs—professional activists whose livelihood depends on perpetual racial conflict. If these organizations declared victory, then their donor list would no longer have an incentive to send in contributions, and they would inevitably wither like raisins in the sun.
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