black power

black power

A History of Black Power in America, Stokely Carmichael, Civil Rights Movement (2014)

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The first popular use of the term "Black Power as a social and political slogan was by Stokely Carmichael (later known as Kwame Ture) and Willie Ricks (later known as Mukasa Dada), both organizers and spokespersons for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). On June 16, 1966, in a speech in Greenwood, Mississippi after the shooting of James Meredith during the March Against Fear, Stokely Carmichael said:[5][6] "This is the twenty-seventh time I have been arrested and I ain't going to jail no more! The only way we gonna stop them white men from whuppin' us is to take over. What we gonna start sayin' now is Black Power!" Stokely Carmichael saw the concept of "Black Power" as a means of solidarity between individuals within the movement. It was a replacement of the "Freedom Now!" slogan of non-violent leader Martin Luther King. With his conception and articulation of the word, he felt this movement was not just a movement for racial desegregation, but rather a movement to help combat America's crippling racism. He said, "For the last time, 'Black Power' means black people coming together to form a political force and either electing representatives or forcing their representatives to speak their needs." Black Power adherents believed in Black autonomy, with a variety of tendencies such as black nationalism, and black separatism. Such positions caused friction with leaders of the mainstream Civil Rights Movement, and thus the two movements have sometimes been viewed as inherently antagonistic. However, many groups and individuals - including Rosa Parks,[8] Robert F. Williams, Maya Angelou, Gloria Richardson, and Fay Bellamy Powell - participated in both civil rights and black power activism. A growing number of scholars conceive of the civil rights and the black power movements as one interconnected Black Freedom Movement.[9][10][11] Not all Black Power advocates were in favor of black separatism. While Stokely Carmichael and SNCC were in favor of separatism for a time in the late 1960s, organizations such as the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense were not. Though the Panthers considered themselves to be at war with the prevailing white supremacist power structure, they were not at war with all whites, but rather those (mostly white) individuals empowered by the injustices of the structure and responsible for its reproduction. Bobby Seale, Chairman and Co-Founder of the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense, was outspoken about this. His stand was that the oppression of black people was more of a result of economic exploitation than anything innately racist. In his book Seize the Time, he states that "In our view it is a class struggle between the massive proletarian working class and the small, minority ruling class. Working-class people of all colors must unite against the exploitative, oppressive ruling class. So let me emphasize again—we believe our fight is a class struggle and not a race struggle."[12] Internationalist offshoots of black power include African Internationalism, pan-Africanism, black nationalism, and black supremacy. The term "Black Power" was used in a different sense in the 1850s by Black leader Frederick Douglass as an alternative name for the Slave Power—that is the disproportionate political power at the national level held by slave owners in the South.[13] Douglass predicted: "The days of Black Power are numbered. Its course, indeed is onward. But with the swiftness of an arrow, it rushes to the tomb. While crushing its millions, it is also crushing itself. The sword of Retribution, suspended by a single hair, hangs over it. That sword must fall. Liberty must triumph."[14] In apartheid South Africa, Nelson Mandela's African National Congress used the call-and-response chant "Amandla! (Power!)", "Ngawethu! (The power is ours!)" from the late 1950s onward. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Power