12. The Black Power movement and women

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Importance of women in civil rights movement was well established before Black Power, but despite huge contribution at local level, central Black Power organisation tended to be dominated by men.
Background to Black Power movement and women
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Argument Black Power gave more opportunities for women in struggle for civil rights and contributed to confidence of AA women campaigners and radicals.
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There also view new type of politics Black Power encouraged had direct impact on rise of new feminism.
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By stressing African heritage of AAs, many women were encouraged to be proud of their culture.
The positive impact of the Black Power movement on women's rights
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Theme 'black is beautiful' led to new awareness of inherent beauty of African clothes, hairstyles and sexuality rather than attempts to integrate and accept WA society
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Lot of women were active in Black Power organisations. By 1970s particularly due to repression, killing and imprisonment of male activists some 2/3 of Black Panther membership was female.
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Second most important member of leadership of Black Panthers was Elaine Browne and there were notable women leaders, including Safiyah Bukhari, who led armed units.
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Women often trained alongside men and in propaganda were shown as revolutionaries.
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Women were important local leaders in various organisations and took part in community initiatives that were spin-off from Black Power, often supporting AA women in issues such as healthcare, education, legal problems and housing
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In theory, women stood alongside men and slogan 'revolutionary first, sister second' inspired women to be active in terms of political activity and direct action.
The positive impact of the Black Power movement on women's rights
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In broader sense, development of different sort of politics led to questioning of established social norms in spheres other than race.
The positive impact of the Black Power movement on women's rights
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Look at wider social attitudes, discrimination,, pride in heritage and culture led to expansion of gender politics and encouraged growth of second-wave feminism by forcing USA to examine stereotypes and inherent discriminatory attidues.
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Traditional male attitudes had impeded rise of women to national prominence and decision-making roles in civil rights movement, and they were often relegated to supporting roles. This was also feature of Black Power organisations.
The negative impact of Black Power movement on women's rights
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Feminism was often seen by AA male activists as 'a white women's thing'
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Separatist organisations, looking to traditional cultures, had opposed birth control.
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Revolutionary violence was often seen as essentially male. Even dedicated revolutionary like Angela Davis found herself criticised by male members of Black Power groups.
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There was considerable amount of male posturing and macho attitudes, which were portrayed as somehow 'authentically' African
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For women, local activism often fell into traditional female roles of caring for families and supporting other women.
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Though widening of political discussions did encourage critical attitude which may have in turn encouraged feminism, fear of AA revolutionary activity also provoked backlash and encouraged conservatism.
The negative impact of Black Power movement on women's rights
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Backlash may have helped prevent wider reforms to ensure equality, such as passing of an Equal Rights Amendment.
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Card 2

Front

Background to Black Power movement and women

Back

Argument Black Power gave more opportunities for women in struggle for civil rights and contributed to confidence of AA women campaigners and radicals.

Card 3

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Background to Black Power movement and women

Back

Preview of the back of card 3

Card 4

Front

The positive impact of the Black Power movement on women's rights

Back

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Card 5

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The positive impact of the Black Power movement on women's rights

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