Dr. King was assassinated on April 4th of 1968 in Memphis because he told us to buy Black. Having come to Memphis to support striking sanitation workers, he appeared at Mason Temple on April 3rd to give remarks. From that speech most only know the snippet when King declares that he’d “been to the mountaintop.” That, however, is only the very last minute or so of the speech. King was ready to bring Black America well beyond non-violent marches. Going forward, it wouldn’t simply be about organizing people but more importantly, organizing money. T
o King, the best strategy to help the striking sanitation workers was not to beg the city to treat them more justly. Rather, he encouraged his audience not to buy Coca-Cola, Sealteast milk, Hart’s or Wonder Bread in Memphis. The plan was to hurt those companies economically, to the point that they would do the sanitation workers’ bidding for them. King understood a very simple truth that we must rediscover today — no one can oppress you unless you give them the money to do so. King did not stop there. He went on to say,
“But not only that, we’ve got to strengthen Black institutions. I call upon you to take your money out of the banks downtown and deposit your money in Tri-State Bank. We want a “bank-in” movement in Memphis… You have six or seven black insurance companies here in the city of Memphis. Take out your insurance there. We want to have an “insurance-in.”
King explicitly told Black people to withdraw support from businesses and institutions outside of the Black community. He was trying to tell us that true freedom won’t come without a strong commitment to buying Black. King’s vision included economic independence for Black people in America and strong Black institutions. These are the things that translate into power for the Black community — not simply marching. Yes, King had a dream but the mature Dr. King preached a message of Black power. He wanted to focus on organizing our dollars as well as our bodies. That is why he was killed.
WeBuyBlack.com exists to carry out the marching orders that King, Garvey, Malcolm and so many others gave us. No one can oppress us unless we give them the money to do so. We have the power to build up Black businesses and other institutions and in doing so, create self determination for Black communities. That message is so dangerous that it got Dr. King killed. Today is a new day, however and we’re still here. Let’s build and buy Black, together…..Starting TODAY!