The Black Power Movement

Last Updated: 16 May 2021
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During and after the days of Jim Crow, blacks in the United States were economically and socially oppressed. Blacks still faced lower wages than whites, segregation of public amenities and racial discrimination. At this time many groups were created to challenge these injusticces. The Black Power Movement and the Civil Rights movement were similar because they both fought for equal rights and equal treatment for African Americans. However, they sought to achieve different goals and implemented different forms of action to achieve change.

The Civil Rights Movement fought for desegregation and believed in non-violence, while the Black Power Movement rejected integration for racial seperation (Jefferies, 2006). In this essay, I am going to further discuss the tactics used by the Black Power Movement to gain change, and the accomplishements they achieved. Emerging after the civil rights movement of the 1950's, the Black Power Movement was arguably one of the most influential and controversial movements of the 20th century. “Black Power” as a political idea originated in the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committe (SNCC) n the mid 1960's (Jeffereies, 2006). At this time a leader emerged by the name of Stokley Carmichael. Upon gaining leadership, Carmichael ejected white members and believed that the only way to bring about change for blacks was to have an all black union. Stokleley Carmichael believed that Black Power would instill a fear in whites and love in blacks ( Carmichael, 1967).

In 1966, Huey Newton and Bobby Seale formed the Black Panther Party for Self Defense (BPP) in Oakland California. By the late 1960's, the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee SNCC) and the Black Panther Party for Self Defense began to gain momentum. Martin Luther King Jr imitated Ghandi and his use of non-violebnce to gain India independence from Great Britain. Because of the Civil Rights Momvement, in 1964 the Civil Rights Act was passed and a year later the Voting Rights Act was passed, ending segregation and ultimately gave blacks the right to vote (Muse,1968). However, non-violent protestors were being beaten, cut with razors and knives, hot cigarettes and cigars were burnt into their arms and aces, they were spat upon and kicked to the floor, policemen locked them up by the thousands into cramped unsanitary jails (Muse,1968).

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Even with the obvious progress, discrimination could not be eliminated. Many members of the SNCC grew tired of the non-violent approach used by King and other groups within the Civil Rights Organization. Increasing members of the SNCC had come to reject the moderate path of cooperation, integration and assimilation of their elders (Ogbar,2005). Divisions grew betweeen the Civil Rights Movement and the Black Panther Movement. The eaders of the Black Power Movement argued that assimilation or integration robs blacks of their identity and dignity (Algernon, 2003). Malcom X, a member of the nation of Islam, believed that Africans historically fought to protect their lands, cultures and freedoms from European Colonists, and that to seek to integrate into a society that has stolen one’s people and their wealth is an act of treason (Algernon, 2003).

As a result, aggressively more radical voices came foward to challenge racial discrimination. Black Power advocates began to insist the Blacks carry guns and receive ilitary training in order to protect themselves. Members of the Panthers openly carried weapons and made death threats towards police officers. The Black Panthers sought to oppose police brutality in African American neighborhoods. Police Officers were frequently followed by armed Black Panthers The Black Panthers staged violent protests which often resulted in the death of Panthers and Police officers. From 1967 to 1969, nine police officers were killed and 56 were wounded in confrontations with the panthers (Marine, 1969

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The Black Power Movement. (2018, Feb 15). Retrieved from

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