The murder of Malcolm X, the exile of Robert F. Williams, who was forced to flee to Cuba with the combined terrors of the F BI and the minions of Southern justice-snapping at his heels, and the exile of the late W.E.B. DuBois, who, in the sunset of a valiant life, made three symbolic gestures as a final legacy to his people (renouncing his American citizenship, “returning” to Africa to become a citizen of Ghana, and cursing capitalism while extolling communism as the hope of the future)–these events on the one hand, and on the other hand the award of a Nobel Prize to Martin Luther King and the inflation of his image to that of an international hero, bear witness to the historical fact that the only Negro Americans allowed to attain national or international fame have been the puppets and lackeys of the white power structure–and entertainers and athletes.

One tactic by which the rulers of America have kept the bemused millions of Negroes in optimum subjugation has been a conscious, systematic emasculation of Negro leadership. Through an elaborate system of sanctions, rewards, penalties, and persecutions–with, more often than not, members of the black bourgeoisie acting as hatchet men–any Negro who sought leadership over the black masses and refused to become a tool of the white power structure was either cast into prison, killed, hounded out of the country, or blasted into obscurity and isolation in his own land and among his own people. His isolation was assured by publicity boycotts alternated with character assassination in the mass media, and by the fratricidal power plays of Uncle Toms who control the Negro community on behalf of the white power structure. The classic illustrations of this quash-the-black-militant policy are the careers of Marcus GHarvey, W.E.B. DuBois, and Paul Robeson.

– Eldridge Cleaver, Soul on Ice