Using Racial Justice to Destroy the Nation Will Not Raise Black Communities From Poverty: Bob Woodson

Empowering low-income grassroots leaders helps their communities ‘achieve against the odds’
By Ella Kietlinska
Ella Kietlinska
Ella Kietlinska
Reporter
Ella Kietlinska is a New York-based reporter for The Epoch Times.
and Jan Jekielek
Jan Jekielek
Jan Jekielek
Senior Editor
Jan Jekielek is a senior editor with The Epoch Times and host of the show, "American Thought Leaders." Jan’s career has spanned academia, media, and international human rights work. In 2009 he joined The Epoch Times full time and has served in a variety of roles, including as website chief editor. He is the producer of the award-winning Holocaust documentary film "Finding Manny."
April 7, 2021 Updated: April 14, 2021

Assault on the fundamental institutions and values of America in the name of pursuing social justice for blacks by the radical left will not benefit black communities but can destroy the nation, said Bob Woodson, a veteran of the civil rights movement.

“None of us wants to be judged by our birth defect or the worst that we ever did as a young person. … America’s interest is best served by setting aside race and beginning to promote remedies that reach across class and race lines to heal this nation,” Woodson, founder of the “1776 Unites“ project, told Epoch Times’ “American Thought Leaders.”

The 1776 Unites initiative is a Woodson Center project joined by a nonpartisan and intellectually diverse alliance of writers, thinkers, and activists, according to its website.

“The goal of 1776 is to provide the means for this nation to heal and build on 50 years of successfully fighting against racism and discrimination, [to] build on what we’ve accomplished,” Woodson said. It is “not go back retro retroactively and condemn America for what it did.”

Those who are marginalized as a consequence of their condition, not their race, such as low-income blacks, whites, Hispanics, and others, have more in common than they do differences, Woodson explained.

“Our mission is to unite Americans rather than divide them around issues of race and ethnicity: ‘We do this in the spirit of 1776, the date of America’s true founding.’” Carol Swain, a project participant and a former tenured professor at Vanderbilt and Princeton universities wrote for The Epoch Times.

Racial Justice

portland protest
A Black Lives Matter protester seen at a riot in Portland, Oregon, on Aug. 1, 2020. (Noah Berger/AP Photo)

Woodson said that 85 percent of protesters from Black Lives Matter (BLM) and other groups who responded with rioting to George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis, Minnesota, were not black, they were white. “They were saying they’re doing this in pursuit of justice for blacks,” he added.

“The hard left” will use any excuse to riot, Woodson said, using the example of Portland, Oregon, where there were riots for over 100 days in 2020. The fact that rioters burned out black-owned businesses means that those riots are an attack on capitalism and democracy under the cover of racial justice, he explained, adding “they are really parasites.”

Black leadership such as the Congressional Black Caucus and the civil rights organizations should be blamed for remaining silent “as the civil rights legacy is being perverted, and debased, and debunked,” Woodson said. “They are the ones who should be standing in front of those stores and saying … do not use justice for blacks as an excuse to destroy this nation.”

Rioters in Portland and other cities quickly migrated away from just seeking justice for blacks to burning bibles, burning the flag, and criticizing the Christian cross is a symbol of white supremacy, Woodson said. A post on the BLM website, which was later taken down, criticized the nuclear family as a Western symbol of colonialism and advocating opposing it, Woodson continued.

The Epoch Times reached out to Black Lives Matter for comments.

The foundation of family, faith, personal responsibility, and self-determination, were the fundamental values, principles, and virtues that enabled black America to endure slavery and racial segregation under Jim Crow laws for 100 years after slavery, and achieve against the odds, build institutions, banks, insurance companies, and hotels, Woodson said.

“It is ironic that the radical left is subverting those values upon which black America resisted oppression, and yet they’re saying they’re doing this in the name of helping blacks,” Woodson explained.

One of the biggest myths that is being perpetrated by the left is that the kind of decline seen in urban centers in black communities, where over 70 percent of births are out of wedlock, is a consequence of the legacy of slavery and discrimination, Woodson said.

Scholars participating in 1776 Unites found by looking at the records of six major plantations during the slavery era that 70 percent of slave families had a man and a woman raising children, Woodson said, adding that the black community has a history of building colleges, universities, and their own railroads.

Research conducted by 1776 Unites delved into the plight of blacks during the first hundred years after slavery and found that during the era of Jim Crow segregation laws black communities carried out a project to build over 5,300 schools in 15 Southern states over the course of the 1910s to 1930s.

The project’s initial funding of 4 million dollars came from a donation by philanthropist Julius Rosenwald, CEO of Sears, and 4.6 million dollars were raised by the black community, Woodson said.

The schools built as a part of this program “were able to close the education gap from three years to six months in the course of 20 years” and the black illiteracy rate was reduced from 75 percent after slavery to 25 percent in less than 50 years, Woodson said adding that it was “unprecedented in the world.”

Jim Crow racial segregation laws were enacted in Southern states by Democratic legislatures and signed by Democratic governors toward the end of the 19th century, wrote Bruce Bartlett in his book “Wrong on Race. The Democratic Party Buried Past.”

“If you look at the inner cities today, you will see nothing but decline,” Woodson said. “The real cause of the decline has nothing to do with slavery or discrimination. It has everything to do with the perversion of federal policies generated in the 60s that replaced the family with welfare and that promoted dependency,” he pointed out.

Programs to aid the poor cost $20 trillion, of which 70 percent went to professional service providers, Woodson said adding that “we monetize poverty.”

Healing the Nation From Inside Out

Doramise Moreau stands next to the new car she received for her community service at Notre Dame d'Haiti Catholic Church, Monday, March 8, 2021, in Miami. Moreau is a part-time janitor at a technical school. She spends most of her time shopping for ingredients and helping to cook meals for 1,000 to 1,500 people a week that show up for food at the church. Community leaders including pastors nominate residents known for community service to receive the cars. The cars are purchased wholesale through a grant and Morea pays $125 a month for three years until she owns the car. (AP Photo/Marta Lavandier)
Doramise Moreau stands next to the new car she received for her community service at Notre Dame d’Haiti Catholic Church in Miami, Fla., on March 8, 2021. (Marta Lavandier/ AP Photo)

The Woodson Center, founded and chaired by Woodson, supports, trains, and provides funding to community-based leaders and organizations to strengthen their efforts aimed at uplifting neighborhoods where they live, according to the organization’s website.

For 40 years, the Woodson Center worked with low-income community leaders to develop solutions to crime, violence, and family dissolution, the founder said.

The grassroots leaders the center works with are people who live in low-income, high-crime neighborhoods, Woodson said. Many of them raise children who do not drop out of school, commit crimes, or abuse drugs and “have found a way to achieve against the odds,” he added.

However, “a lot of their accomplishments go unnoticed, unrecognized, and therefore underutilized” so the organization provides support for these indigenous healing agents, Woodson continued.

“The sickest part of the body draws the strongest antibodies and we [at the Woodson Center] believe that these communities can be healed if we look in the right places for the right healing agents, grassroots leaders,” he explained.

The mission of the Woodson Center is akin to a good venture capitalist who brings capital and administrative knowledge to entrepreneurs to enable them to develop a garage invention into a fortune 500 company, Woodson continued.

The center focuses on building on the strength and innovation of low-income people and social entrepreneurs, “so that they can help develop cures for the problems of violence and family dissolution so that we can then heal this nation from the inside out, the bottom up,” Woodson concluded.

Ella Kietlinska
Ella Kietlinska is a New York-based reporter for The Epoch Times.
Jan Jekielek
Senior Editor
Jan Jekielek is a senior editor with The Epoch Times and host of the show, "American Thought Leaders." Jan’s career has spanned academia, media, and international human rights work. In 2009 he joined The Epoch Times full time and has served in a variety of roles, including as website chief editor. He is the producer of the award-winning Holocaust documentary film "Finding Manny."