What was the Black Power Movement?
Analyzing the Black Power Movement
University of Wyoming
Author Note: This paper was prepared for African American Studies (AAST-1000-03) taught by Professor McGriff.
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What was the Black Power Movement?
Analyzing the Black Power Movement The Black Power Movement was largely kick started and fueled by the Civil Rights Movement. The Civil Rights Movement began around the mid 1950's and went into the late 60's, essentially segueing into the Black Power Movement. The Black Power Movement started in the late 60s, and lasted until the mid 70s. The Black Power Movement was a very tumultuous one, many people saw it as a militant or violent movement. The fact that it was such a controversial period was the main reason for the distinction between the Civil Rights Movement and the Black Power Movement. With the signing of the Civil Rights Act in 1964, Voting Rights Act in 1965, and the Housing Rights Act of 1968 the transfer from the Civil Rights Movement into the Black Power Movement began. Figureheads of the Black Power Movement such as Stokely Carmichael, and Malcolm X personified the Black Power Movement, and their by any means necessary radical approach is the main reason for the controversy generated by the movement. This paper will explore, analyze, and define the Black Power Movement by answering the following questions:
1. What is a social movement? What are the ideologies, strategies, and tactics of the Black Power Movement? What are the hallmarks of the Black Power Movement?
2. What is the political ideology of the Black Power Movement? What are it's grievances and demands?
3. What strategies and tactics do the Black Power Movement advocate?
4. What is the support base and membership of the Black Power Movement?
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5. What is the organizational structure of the Black Power Movement?
6. Does the Black Power Movement utilize any symbols or slogans that articulate their political ideology?
7. What was the historical context in which the Black Power Movement emerged and mobilized?
8. Was the Black Power Movement successful in achieving it's goals?
Understanding the causes, and results of the Black Power Movement is essential to defining it, and it's purposes. Along with the causes and results are the faces behind them such as Stokely Carmichael, and Malcolm X they played a large role in the founding of the Black Power Movement. This paper will delve into the questions presented above, and more.
What is a social movement? What are the ideologies, strategies, and tactics of the Black Power Movement? What are the hallmarks of the Black Power Movement? The Black Power Movement is a particular type of social movement since it is not only specifically a part of African American Studies, but also is an extension of the Civil Rights Movement. The term social movement can't really be defined by one definition since it is really many things. The general need for a social movement though is a large group of individuals or a organization that have specific political and or social goals. The Black Power Movement was infamous for being a militant and or violent movement in it's tactics. Aside from Malcolm X and Stokely Carmichael the Black Power Movement wasn't largely organized. As said by Peniel Joseph, a history professor at Tufts University:
Historians of the modern civil rights movement generally view Black Power as a
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movement comprised of armed urban militants inspired more by rage than an actual political program. The Black Panther Party for Self- Defense, a group of young black men and women from California's Bay Area, have come to personify the period in the historical imagination. (Joseph, P. 2008, Para.6).
This sums up most of the strategies of the Black Power Movement.