Black Power Movement


The Black Power Movement
The Black Power movement was at its peak in the late 1960s and early 1970s. The movement was a way to embrace racial pride. The Black Power Movement began during the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s. The term "Black Power" was first used by Stokely Carmichael and Mukasa Dada, aka Willie Ricks. Both were organizers for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. Eventually Carmichael began chanting "Black Power" during a rally, and the phrase stuck. However, what does "Black Power" mean? Many people thought and believed that "Black Power" meant black nationalism and the necessity to use violence, in order to achieve what they want. This was in opposition with the main leaders of the Civil Rights Movement, and so the two movements were considered opposites. Some groups and people participated in both the peaceful protest and the violent opposition.

Stokely Carmichael and the SNCC
Members of the SNCC, including Stokely Carmichael, were getting irritated with the non-violent approach which Martin Luther King Jr., the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and many others, believed so highly in. They wanted a more direct approach and believed, unlike King and the NAACP, that desegregation should not happen. Stokely Carmichael thought that white people be separated from blacks, since blacks were better. The SNCC were more frank in their opinions. People separated and chose sides, between King and Carmichael, and their slogans "Freedom Now" or "Black Power." The Black Power movement not only tried to get equal rights for African Americans, but it also started many other programs and movements as well.

The Programs of The Black Power Movement
The Head Start movement created programs for disadvantaged kids. Preschool programs grew during that time because scholars believed that the intellectual abilities of a child developed in the first five years of life. During this time only 32 states had kindergarten and having a preschool, was something that was very rare. The Head Start movement was the beginning for a lot of programs popping up, to help African Americans with the racism and segregation. The Free Breakfast movement was one of these programs that popped up thanks to the Head Start movement. The Free Breakfast movement offered breakfast to thousands of poor and hungry kids everyday under the Black Panther Party. Segregation in schools made it so that African American schools not have enough funding to give their students food to eat during their breaks. The Free Breakfast movement gave food to the kids who were unfortunate enough to not have food to eat in the morning. This allowed kids to pay more attention in school and also gave them hope for the future.

The Black Panther Party
The Black Panther Party was a political party which sole purpose was to oppose the government through radical ways to try and obtain equality, justice and freedom. Huey Newton, along with Bobby Seale founded the Black Panther Party as an alternative to the Civil Rights Movement's nonviolent approach. The panthers had many confrontations with the police and were constantly thrown in jail for fighting with officers. They wanted to be recognized and the Black Panther Party believed that force would do the trick. African Americans just wanted to be acknowledged for their accomplishments and their support for their country. Like the Tuskegee Airmen, who were a group of African American pilots, that made up the 332nd Fighter Group and the 477th Bombardment Group of the United States Army Air Corps. They were not recognized for their contribution in World War II, until now. The Black Panther Party's and the Civil Rights Movement's goal for equality may have been achieved but the recognition they wanted took some time, after everything died out, to attain.

Being Proud of Being Black
African Americans back then were "proud of being black," as Dana Johnson said in our interview. They were proud and just hoped to get equal rights. Some African Americans believed that to achieve equal rights, they needed a peaceful way while others thought that force would do the trick. With this the peaceful way was through the Civil Rights Movement, while the forceful way was with the Black Power movement. The Black Power movement was a way to show whites that they should not be taken lightly and that they should fear the blacks, just a bit. Its goals were very clear and that showed the government that they would not back down until they got what they wanted.

Race Relations Now
The actions they took impacted race relations today in a great way. Their determination to go after what they wanted until they got it, made people have respect for them. However, there is still a lot of racism today, in which people stereotype other races. The Black Panther Party attempted to try and get equality for African Americans, but some acts or racism are still present now. Race relations now have improved a great deal, but racism and stereotypes still exist today, even the faintest traces will always be there.
(Black Power protest)
(Stokely Carmichael)
(SNCC Pin)
(The Free Breakfast movement)
(From left to right: Ivonne Urrutia, Dana Johnson, and Alexander Henriquez)