Black power is a slogan used in the movements among black people which emphasize social and political issues to promote shared black interests and their race’s autonomy. It aimed to destroy and take action against the white supremacy or American racism and establish a self-sufficient economy. The protesters were open to violence but these activities were often counteracted by community organizing work. These movements were prominently held during the 60’s and 70’s (Wikimedia Foundation, Inc, 2009). The impacts of Black Power movement were evident.
Community groups and organizations that did not depend on whites arose. National and international institutions started proliferating American, Black and African studies. Blacks were also able to vote and run for office in national elections. Black politics slowly developed. Black artists and songwriters began recording and performing on stage and media. They also opened new fashion trends to promote a message of cultural identity. Their slogan “Black is Beautiful” dispelled the notion that black features are unattractive and undesirable than white features.
Black hair and clothing style were highly appreciated and became acceptable to the society. This gave them a new generation of blacks that feel good about their looks. Consequently, this uplifted racial pride and solidarity and boosted self-esteem and confidence as a whole. The Black Power movement also influenced other racial and political movements by serving as a template in their activities. The movement initiated other protests which tackle gender, age and class issues. Several other minor protests were inspired by the Black Power movement’s initiatives.
Meanwhile, the Black Arts Movement was also founded by black writers and journalists. It aimed to endorse the rights of the blacks to own journal, art and publishing companies and institutions. Well-known African-American writers, authors, novelists and poets were involved in the movement. Above all, the blacks were able to achieve their primary goal- to win against the crippling American racism. Although the Black Power movement received harsh criticisms from personalities, it didn’t stop from defending the racial rights and opposing white supremacy (Wikimedia Foundation, Inc, 2009).
Peniel E. Joseph on Black Power Movement One of the well-known authors who promote the Black Power movement is Peniel E. Joseph. He received praises for his work on “Waiting ‘Til the Midnight Hour: A Narrative History of Black Power in America”, which recounts the history and stories behind the controversial revolt. Even though Joseph wasn’t aware on every minute detail about the movement, his fascination on the story and the legacy it left behind inspired him to write the book.
In “Waiting ‘Til the Midnight Hour: A Narrative History of Black Power in America”, Joseph has done a great job of knitting together and relating the different perceptions and reactions on the Black Power movement. He carefully researched every smallest detail of the complex and often misunderstood concepts of the Black Power movement. The book narrates the origin of the movement and also introduced iconic figures from the explosive era. He also included his insights and opinions on Black Power. His provocative style of writing earned him honors from critics and journalists.
In every page of his book, Joseph uncovers mysteries and investigates buried secrets of the ever ambiguous period. At the beginning of the book, the author traces back the roots of the development of the Black Power movement from the assassination of Malcolm X, an Islamic leader. But Joseph argues that the origin of the movement came as a result of the growing chaos between the North Americans and South Americans combined with the revolutions against white supremacy. He also emphasized that the fight against racism was not regional but rather a fight by Blacks across United States.
The book stresses that the Black Power shifted from mere social issues to complex political concerns (Socialist Worker, 2007). Joseph’s stories were based on Black students’, activists’ and intellects’ experiences. He saw the movement as a non-violent one. He did not emphasize the Black workers’ arguments and anger that led to violence. The author tried to oppose the popular belief that Black Power movement is a tragedy by arguing that it was rather intellectually approached and peacefully performed.
He wrote to influence the readers and erase the negative feedbacks about Black Power by adding enough drama and emphasis on important scenarios (Socialist Worker, 2007). Adolph Reed on Black Power Movement Adolph Reed is well-renown for his direct, stingy and devastating criticisms on social and political issues tackled by the society. Reed’s treatment on the Black Power Movement is the most controversial criticism that enlightened the society. He challenges the widespread myths about the Black Power movement so that he can synthesize a practical solution for political change.
He particularly raised issues concerning people’s limited knowledge on Malcom X’s legacy and influences. Reed focuses on the realities left behind by the Black Power era. In the “Allure of Malcom X and the Changing Character of Black Politics,” Reed criticized the society’s strong attraction on Malcom X. Before producing the article, he condemned Malcomania, a publication on Spike Lee’s successful film and the market that proliferated after its fame. Similarly, Reed warned the society of the political destruction the allure of deceased heroes might bring.
He argues that Malcom X influenced the new generation of blacks indirectly so there is no reason for them to praise him as if they had direct contact with him. He defends that Malcom X is already dead and that he has no connections on the youth that invoke him. A dead Malcom X cannot encourage the people by criticizing their activities. He also points out that the legacy and the influences provided by Malcom X is the same as those ideas spread by The Bible. He states that the information obtained by the society about Malcom X can be instantly accessed.
Additionally, these ideas depend on every people’s interpretation and views on the history of Malcom X’s legacy (Reed, 2008). Adolph Reed suspects that it was the fault of the Black Power society for not sharing their first-hand experience to the younger generations about the uprising. This led to the change in character of the Black Power movement. The new breed became disoriented and became irresponsible. At the same time, they have the tendency to slowly forget the legacy left behind by the explosive and one of the most controversial components in American history.
Reed’s harsh criticisms of the reality have earned him honors from his fellow critics. His clean intention to develop the current society is highly appreciated by the new generation. Jack Bloom on Black Power Movement Jack Bloom’s “Class, Race and the Civil Rights Movement” depicts the major roles performed by the three things in the title of his book. Bloom offers an insightful historical analysis to emphasize the Black Power Movement’s influences. He also reminds us how American racial turmoil has been complicated by issues on class identity.
In this book, the author also presents the different interpretations regarding the Civil Rights Movement. The origin of the Civil Rights Movement can be traced back when a black-owned newspaper raised a slogan promoting a double victory against fascism abroad and Jim Crow at home. Racism against black Americans was prominently practiced decades before the blacks conducted such movements. Blacks broke out from their shell and joined rebellions against white supremacy. Even though legal actions were taken to solve the devastation brought about by the conflict, the whites didn’t stop from discriminating the blacks.
Despite bombing and harassments, the Blacks didn’t retract from fighting for equal rights. After more than a decade, the Blacks came out as victorious. The said movement produced a new breed of activists. Aiming to continue the goal of the Civil Rights Movement, they invaded institutions and proposed new academic fields that criticize the racist mobs. The Black Power Movement and the Civil Rights Movement overlap. Even though they have similarities, the latter underwent a more violent and tensioned atmosphere (Socialist Worker, 2006). References Joseph, Peniel E. (2006, July 21).
Black Power’s Powerful Legacy. Retrieved April 23, 2009 from http://www. penielejoseph. com/legacy. html Reed, Adolph Jr. (2008, July 18). Black Politics in the Post-Segregation Era. Retrieved April 23, 2009 from http://www. nathanielturner. com/stirringsinthejugadolphreedjr. htm Socialist Worker (1977). The Civil Rights Movement after Montgomery. Retrieved April 22, 2009 from http://socialistworker. org/2006- 2/596/596_10_Montgomery. shtml Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. (2009, March 20). Black Power. Retrieved April 22 2009 from http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Black_Power.
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