by A. Peter Bailey
(TriceEdneyWire.com) – Between 1965 and 1992, Ebony Magazine always focused on one subject in its August issue. The subject for August 1979 was “Black on Black Crime: The Causes, The Consequences, The Cures.” Anyone seriously concerned about that subject today should take the time to read that issue. It has analysis, information and proposed solutions that are just as relevant today as it was in 1979.
One of the most important of its items is The Publisher’s Statement by Mr. John A. Johnson, Ebony’s Publisher. His opening paragraph includes the following: “This is a special issue on an explosive issue of special concern to every man, woman and child in Black America….It is perhaps the most important special issue from the standpoint of the strength and stability of the Black community that we have ever published in the past 16 years….It is our belief and it is the basic premise of this issue that Black on Black Crime has reached a critical level that threatens our existence as a people. It is a threat to our young, to our women, to our senior citizens, to our institutions, to our values. And although we are not responsible for the external factors that systematically create breeding grounds for social disorder, we cannot avoid the internal responsibility of doing everything we can to solve a problem that is rending the fabric of ourselves.”
That was Mr. Johnson’s opening statement. His closing paragraph was equally powerful. He stated, “That we must return to that family spirit that enabled our ancestors to survive slavery and segregation. There was a time—and it wasn’t too long ago—when Black communities in America were surrounded by circles of mutual support and sustenance that protected the Black child no matter how far he wondered and that condemned the Black violator no matter how high he rose. We have come to a hard place in our history that calls for the reforging of the shattered links in the circle of solidarity and mutual support. For when all is said and done, the only truly safe place for any of us is our neighbor’s and our brother’s and sister’s hearts.”
That statement is as relevant today as it was when made in 1979.