The Church is on trail. Black collegians reject us, in spite of their recognition that Black people need spiritual replenishment. Black youth on the streets, reject us as a part of the “Slave Church,” which has supported our oppression. Revolutionaries indict us for weakening rather than strengthening our people. Black preachers have, in fact, identified with the white oppressor and have failed to act to end out powerlessness and exploitation.
The black preacher has failed to move Black Brothers and Sisters forward in the liberation of struggle to the formation of the Black Nation! This failure has cost us the lives of those Brothers and Sisters who are fighting daily on the front lines against white oppression.
Black churches must become relevant to the Black Liberation struggle, or we must get rid of them. All institution in the Black community must accept this role or they must die. To the degree that the black church becomes relevant and leads black people to participate–as black Christians– in becoming a new black nation with power, dignity, and self-determination here on earth, the black church will begin to justify its existence in the sight of God. We have run out of time and wasted lives. We re going to be free with the leadership of the church or without it.*
– Albert B Cleage Jr., 1970
*”Blast Black Christian Churches as ‘Irrelevant,'” Chicago Daily Defender, March 19, 1970.