…all of the stores are owned by white people, all of the buildings are owned by white people. Black people are just there, paying rent, buying the groceries. But they don’t own the stores, clothing stores, food stores, any kind of stores; don’t even own the homes that they live in. This is all owned by outsiders. And then these run down apartment dwellings, the Black man in Harlem pays more money for it than the man down in the rich Park Avenue section. It costs us more money to live in the slum, than it costs them to live down on Park Avenue. Black people in Harlem know this. And the white merchants charge us more money for food in Harlem — and it’s the cheap food, it’s the worst food; and we have to pay more money for it than the man has to pay for it downtown. So Black people know that they’re being exploited and that their blood is being sucked and they see no way out of it.
So finally, when the thing is sparked, the white man is not there; he’s gone. The merchant is not there, the landlord is not there; the one he considers to be the enemy isn’t there. So, they knock at his property. This is what makes them knock down the store windows and set fire to things, and things of that sort.