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Why the Price Is Right

It is not often that a leader stands up and says, at the right time and in the right place, exactly the right thing. But when that does happen, it is vital that the moment not be lost. Such is the case with the keynote address this week in Indianapolis at the National Urban League convention.

The occasion was the inaugural speech of the 85-year-old group’s new president, and the audience consisted of black professionals and other delegates of accomplishment who are the organization’s rank and file. The speaker laid his thoughts on the line: Black separatism would be a regression and blaming white racism for all the woes that beset the black community is a formula for failure.

Said the new president: “Many whites of good will have accompanied us on our long journey for racial, social and economic justice. None has matched the Jewish community as long-distance runners in the civil-rights movement. Just as we denounce misleading media stereotypes of African Americans, it is morally repugnant as well to impugn an entire people, especially longstanding allies, like Jews, because of the unconscionable behavior of some of them.”

What a difference in perspective from the recent convention of the NAACP, which felt compelled to invite as a speaker Louis Farrakhan, who is given to periodic anti-Semitic and racist diatribes.

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The new Urban League president with the entirely different message is Hugh Price, until recently a Rockefeller Foundation senior official. His presidency has begun on a most auspicious note.


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