Our Black Party Reimagines American Politics
“History is not the past. It is the present. We carry our history with us. We are our history.” -James Baldwin
A new political party is making history, and they know they are doing it.
“We have to be very clear,” says Dr. Wes Bellamy. “Before you were a Democrat, before you were a Republican, before you were an independent, you were Black.”
Our Black Party co-chairs Dr. Wes Bellamy and Hyattsville, MD mayor Candace Hollingsworth are sick and tired of being sick and tired. Their plan to hold elected officials accountable is simply put but intricately done: “We’ll vote you out. Because you Black doesn’t mean you get our stamp.”
Wes Bellamy — Charlottesville’s former Vice-Mayor and current Political Science Department Chair at Virginia State University — spoke about Our Black Party, a political committee that launched July 14 and went mainstream with P. Diddy’s recent support.
Our Black Party, like civil rights activist James Baldwin stressed in the quote above, is informed by the past but not bound to it. In 1972 in Gary, Indiana, a group gathered for the National Black Political Convention. Attendees included Jesse Jackson, Coretta Scott King, Malcolm X’s widow Betty Shabazz, Julian Bond, and Louis Farrakhan, head of the Nation of Islam. They produced a document called the Gary Declaration.
This convention and document animate Bellamy and Hollingsworth’s Our Black Party. Conversations about Our Black Party began in the Young Elected Officials Network and at the Black Millennial Convention, the latter group of which was modeled after the 1972 meeting.
Like in Gary, Indiana in the ’70s, Bellamy and others determined, “Both parties have betrayed us.”
They wanted another option.
Before co-chairing Our Black Party, Bellamy was the city councilor who helped lead the effort to remove the Charlottesville statue of Robert E. Lee, a demand which resulted in the 2017 white supremacist rally and three deaths.