Three simple sentences forever denoting an inherent truth so obvious it shouldn't even be necessary to spell out precisely what it means.
Instead, let's just note what Thomas A. Johnson filed for the New York Times on July 27, 1969.
|Six days later, the New York Times would publish a story with the headline: Blacks and Apollo: Most Couldn't Have Cared Less... seriously.|
Supremacy is such an unnecessary word when whites have the privilege of knowing the greatest achievement in recorded history was only possible due to their ancestors: seemingly insignificant white individuals lives culminated in the collective expression of the July 20, 1969 moon landing.
And as Johnson noted in the New York Times, blacks couldn't have cared less... [Blacks and Apollo: Most Couldn't Have Cared Less, July 27, 1969]:
Many black Americans found ways in recent days to ignore the Apollo 11 moon shot, an effort, they say, ignored them."Yesterday the moon. Tomorrow, Detroit."
An estimated 50,000 people flocked to last Sunday's Harlem Cultural (soul music) Festival at Mt. Morris park and the single mention of the LM touching down on the moon brought boos from the audience.
At the Metropolis Bar on 23rd Street and Michigan Avenue in Chicago the black patrons watched baseball games on television when the LM landed. The same was true in many Harlem bars.
"We're earth-bound," said one Harlem bar patron. He used the stubby fingers on his laborer's hard hand to enumerate - with an unbridled anger - some other reason for his setting a "Mets over the moon" priority.
"There ain't no brothers in the program where they can get into some of that big money," he said. "The whole thing uses money that should be spent right here on earth and I don't like them saying 'all good Americans are happy it' - I damn sure ain't happy about it."
he expressed a resentment common to many Negroes surveyed last week. But he did not touch on another frequently stated - and probably the most serious - trigger for the black anger at the space program.
"It proves that white America will do whatever it is committed to doing," said Miss Sylvia Drew, to synthesize that point of anger.
Miss Drew, who is an attorney for the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, added: "If America fails to end discrimination, hunger and malnutrition then we must conclude that America is not committed to ending discrimination, hunger and malnutrition. Walking on the moon proves that we do what we want to do as a nation."
Miss Victoria Mares, the director of a poverty program in Saginaw, Michigan, compared the United States to "a man who has a large family - they have no shoes, no clothing, no food and the rent is overdue. But when he gets paid he runs out and buys himself a set - another set - of electric trains. We are supporting our Government's hobby at the expense of its poor citizens."
The NAACP executive director, Roy Wilkins, called the moon shot "a cause of shame," and added, "there's something wrong with the Government's priority system." And in Mississippi, Charles Evers said: "The billions of dollars spent on this moon exploration program means that it will be even longer before America begins to keep her promises to the poor."
The differences between the black and white reactions to the moon walk point up the deep sense of alienation that much of black America feels for this affluent society that seems to many to place real equality for the black and the poor in a priority behind those of the war in Vietnam, the space program and efforts to curb inflation.
And more and more, the million spent in Vietnam and in space serve to convince more and more black Americans that heir country can, indeed, "do whatever it is committed to do."
Dr. Benjamin W. Watkins, the honorary "Mayor of Harlem," wrote in the Negro weekly, the Amsterdam News, that the money could have best been spent on the rehabilitation of the cities. And noting the lack of response from the black community, he said: "the world does not stop even if a trio of astronauts get off it."
He added: "Whether black people showed any interest in the landing on Sunday is irrelevant. We in Harlem are demanding that the trio of astronauts include in their itinerary Harlem, Watts or some other ghetto, rather than Moscow or England."
A black writer who lives on Long Island said that he did not watch the moon walk except for a moment when he turned off the set in his children's room. "They had gone to sleep," he said, "and I saw they were about to step out of the LM and onto the moon. I said a prayer for two human beings out in that great unknown, then I turned it off and went back to work on a proposal for a poverty program."
The last line in an editorial in the Amsterdam News stated simply: "Yesterday the moon. Tomorrow, maybe us."
A more responsible reading of what took place after the successful moon landing on July 20, 1969.
There was never going to be a peace.
Only hatred and resentment.
While one side constructed barriers to protect the fragility of whiteness, the other side demanded we put the future on hold so the remnants of a retrograde species of humanity could catch up.
While one side landed on the moon, the other side demanded more, more, and more.
Instead of cutting a path to the stars, we momentarily forfeited the future by traveling down a road paved with good intentions.
Now we know where such a path leads: Detroit.
Miss Sylvia Drew, white America has been committed to uplifting the negro.
And it has failed at this obviously dysgenic endeavor.
No matter what happens in the United States of America, the record clearly shows we dismantled our civilization for the betterment of black people. And still, we failed in our mission.
Three sentences disable even the most committed egalitarians pablum, washing away years of intellectual rot in the process: "Our people went to the moon. In 1969. With the slide rule."
Securing our future was always about rescuing our past. Once this is accomplished, the present is overwhelmed instantly.