Black power civil rights movements

Black power Civil rights movements

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The 1960's Black power
1. The nation of Islam and Malcolm X
The black power movement of the 1960's did not develop out of nothing. The
black separatist tradition emerged in the nineteenth century, when some
blacks advocated `back to Africa.'
Marcus Garvey's separatist Black Nationalist movement flourished in the
1910's and 20's. When Garvey's (UNIA) Universal Negro Improvement
Association went into decline, the nationalist and separatist ideology was
taken up by the Black Muslim movement or Nation of Islam.
a) Elijah Muhammad and the Nation of Islam (1930)
The Nation of Islam (NOI) was founded by Wallace Fard in 1930.
In 9134 leadership of the new religious group passed to Elijah
Poole. Under his adopted name of Elijah Muhammad, Poole led the
NOI from 1934-1975.
Although Poole claimed he was the prophet of Allah, his teachings
frequently differed from those of orthodox Islam. He claimed God
originally created people black and white people were created
by an evil scientist Yakub. He believed Allah would return to end
their suffering.
The NOI provided an alternative to the `white man's religion' to
encourage separatism, they also encouraged blacks to improve
their economic situation.
In the 1950's the NOI's preacher Malcolm X attracted the
attention of the ghetto dwellers with this call for separatism.
The television programme `The hate that hate produced' brought
the NOI national media attention, in which Elijah Mohammed in
1959 attacked the nonviolent approach of Martin Luther King. (He
advocated armed defence!)
In the west in the early 60's there was still segregation enforced
in theatres, restaurants, hotels and schools, and unemployment
was also an issue.
b) Achievements of the NOI
i) Negative
Some of the Nation's solution to black problems ­a return to Africa or a
separate black state in the South were unrealistic.
NOI call for separatism increased black and white divisions.
The NOI's image suffered when Elijah Muhammad's sons left and Malcolm X
due to the hypocrisy of their teachings which differed from the original
Islamic faith.
The assassination of Malcolm X decreased Elijah's popularity amongst some
blacks; there was a threat of a black nationalist Civil war.
Many people began to leave for the Black power movement.

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Both the NOI and the black power movement favoured separatism, however
Elijah's dismissive attitude towards non-Muslim African culture alienated
some members.
Most black power advocates respected Elijah Muhammad and the NO1 as
forerunners of the new Black Nationalism. (separatism)
ii) Positive
In the Ghetto's membership was possibly as high as 100,000 in 9160.
The NOI attracted ghetto dwellers because of its emphasis on
economic self-help.…read more

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The Rise of Black Power in the 1960's
The Ghettos
i) What was the problem in the Ghettos?
Although the Civil Rights movement of 1954-65 effected
change in the South, it did nothing for problems in the
North and west.
Housing conditions, social amenities, and employment
chances were poor.
Ghetto schools did not provide a solid education
foundation for good jobs, and increased machinery meant
the factory jobs for unskilled labour declined massively in
the 1950's and 60's leading to increased black
unemployment.…read more

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White voters did not want to pay extra taxes to end
ghetto poverty, particularly after the Vietnam War had
caused taxes to increase. (too expensive responsibility
for the State)
Blacks regarded whites as unsympathetic and so black
radicals emerged demanding more social and economic
iv) The Ghetto riots
The first major riots were in Watts in 1965. With 34
deaths, 1000 injuries, 3500 rioters and looters arrested
and $40 million damage done largely to white businesses.…read more

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They turned to a more militant leader John Lewis who
replaced Stokely Carmichael.
Similarly when James Farmer resigned his leadership of CORE
in1965 the radical Floyd McKissick was elected in his place.
Divisions between SNCC and CORE and the SCLC and the
NAACP was seen in the Meredith march earlier and continued
to grow.
In July 1966 the CORE convention endorsed black power and
declared non-violence INAPPROPRIATE if they needed to
DEFEND themselves.
The 1967 CORE convention removed the word multicultural
from their constitution.…read more

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Republican presidential candidate Richard Nixon said black power meant more
black ownership, leading to black pride, black jobs, black opportunity and black
b) The Black Panthers- like a black panther it never attacks unless provoked then it will
i) Establishment
In 1966 the SNCC had helped establish an all-black political party, the Lowndes
Country Freedom Organisation. That party's logo the Black Panther became more
established when used by The Black Panther's party for self-defence. (Established
in 1966 by Huey Newton and Bobby Seale.…read more

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The End of the Black Panthers
The Black Panthers engaged in petty crime, and often killed and
confronted violently the white police.
Blacks such as Elridge Cleaver, a serial rapist excused his
breaking of the lay by claiming he was rebelling against a white
man's law.
The Black Panthers were targeted by the police from 1967-1969,
and by 1970 most of the Black Panther leadership was killed,
imprisoned or exiled.…read more

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It made Martin Luther King's demands seem more responsible.
b) Negative achievements
Older generations of civil rights movements lost support (not radical enough)
They pushed away white support (electoral suicide)
Lead to the collapse on the SNCC
Violence alienated potential supporters.
No proper solutions (to ghettos)
`Evil twin' of civil rights movements.
Armed defence decreased white sympathy.…read more


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