MALCOLM X & THE BLACK POWER MOVEMENT

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  • MALCOLM X & THE BLACK POWER MOVEMENT
    • Malcolm X
      • born in 1925 as Malcolm Little, son of a Baptist minister. His father was killed when he was 6
      • lived in poverty, & became involved in drugs & crime. Imprisoned for burglary
      • became a Black Muslim while in prison
      • was keen to support African Americans in their desire for equality. he criticised MLK's non-violent methods, arguing a more violent approach would bring faster results
    • 1960s: black community developed in USA. Black nationalism was one of development. Black nationalists rejected non-violence civil rights movement & felt force was justified in order to achieve equality
    • Nation of Islam
      • headed by Elijah Muhammad
      • attracted people like Cassius Clay (Muhammad Ali) who was an outspoken critic of racial discrimination
      • another follower was Malcolm X
        • he criticised MLK's methods & believed civil rights movement held back black people
        • assassinated in 1965
    • SNCC became more radical when black student Stokely Carmichael was elected chairman in 1966
      • he talked in terms of 'black power' & set out a radical view of black power & in the process he was critical of MLK
    • Black Power
      • about 2000 members
      • a political party but also a small private army
      • believed African Americans should arm themselves & force whites to give them equal rights
      • they clashed many times with police forces, killing 9 police officers between 1967 & 1969
    • Race Riots
      • between 1965-1967
      • in cities in north & west: had large African-American populations but which were officially free of racism
      • cause: poor relations between police & African Americans
        • most of USA's cities were divided along race lines
        • most of police forces were white
        • many black working class people who lived in inner cities felt they didn't get same protection from crime as whites- they distrusted police
      • most serious riots in Watts area of LA in August 1965 & in Detroit in July 1967: in Watts riot about 30 000 rioters in incident & 34 deaths
    • Impact of Black Power
      • Reasons why it can be argued Black Power Movements weren't successful
        • more radical elements of Black Power groups alarmed moderate opinion
        • alienated many white Americans who might otherwise have been sympathetic to the civil rights movement
        • Black Power movement was seen at least partially responsible for race riots
        • criticised by some civil rights leaders as it gave law enforcement authorities the opportunity & excuse to crack down on all African-American activists
      • Reasons why it can be argued that the Black Power Movements were misrepresented at the time
        • misrepresented & was much more complex than it was portrayed at the time
        • media coverage of Black Power at the time was very misinformed & based more on ignorance & fear than an attempt to understand the movement
        • historians portrayed Black Power & civil rights movement as 2 separate, divided movements, but they shared things in common. Stokely Carmichael & MLK were friendly & agreed with the need to fight for poverty & both opposed Vietnam War

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