James Hal Cone (born 1938) is the founder of Black Liberation Theology, a Professor of Systematic Theology at Union Theological Seminary, and author of books such as A Black Theology of Liberation, God of the Oppressed, Black Theology: A Documentary History, etc.
He wrote in the Introduction to this 1969 book, "Black Power is the most important development in American life in this century," and "there is a need to begin to analyze it from a theological perspective." He adds, "It is my thesis ... that Black Power ... is not the antithesis of Christianity... It is, rather, Christ's central message to twentieth-century America."
He defines Black Power as "complete emancipation of black people from white oppression by whatever means black people deem necessary." (Pg. 6) It is not racism or hatred; it is "an affirmation of the humanity of blacks in spite of white racism." (Pg. 16)
He argues that Black Power and Christianity have this in common: the liberation of man. (Pg. 39) He suggests further that if Christ is present among the oppressed, "he must be working through the activity of Black Power. This alone is my thesis." (Pg. 48) As a slogan, he offers, "Christ means Black Power!" (pg. 112), and "To be Christian is to be one of those whom God has chosen. God has chosen black people!" (Pg. 151)
Although Cone's rhetoric may seem too "fiery" today, we must remember that he wrote these words in 1969, not 2012 or later; America was significantly different back then. But the "positive" affirmations of his message still have their power, even today.