Black Power Movement - Essay Example

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Instructor name Date Black Power Movement The Black Power Movement was embodied by the Black Panther Party (BPP), an association made up of primarily African Americans devoted to the advancement of the Civil Rights movement. Begun in the1960’s and active through the early 1970’s, remnants of the group still exist today…
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Download file to see previous pages It is not possible to comprehend the reason for the formation of the BPP or attempt to explain its violent tendencies without first examining the Civil Rights movement of the 1950’s and 1960’s and the specific events leading up to its establishment. This discussion will give a brief synopsis of those historic events and the people that laid the foundation for the forming of the BPP; provide an overview of the party and then delve more deeply into the inner-workings of the organization. Malcolm X (Little) became a powerful speaker in the movement and became more important to the cause by his death than he was in life. As Martin Luther King had secured the character of the Southern black, Malcolm had become the messiah of city slums in the North, Midwest and West. The semi-militant organization he headed, the Nation, grew quickly under his leadership. Malcolm was most remembered for his passionate anti-white speeches. This was an idea that was emulated by other pro-autonomy organizations. He was the target of many death threats, one of which, in 1965, was successful. Soon after Malcolm’s death, Huey Newton and Bobby Seale began forming the Black Panthers (Black Panther Party, 2011). The South was the epicenter for the civil rights movement but racial problems had no regional boundaries. As blacks in the south were working to eradicate segregation, blacks in places such as Chicago, Detroit and Oakland were engaged in their own fight for equal treatment. By the mid-1960’s hostility between Oakland’s black community and the police, a long and ever escalating problem, had reached its apex. Because blacks, being seemingly constantly under an increasing intimidation by the police, Newton and Seale founded the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense in October 1966. The pair had been intensely influenced by the teachings of Malcolm X and structured the organization similar to the Black Muslim program except with no pretenses of religious practice. In contrast to Martin Luther King’s methods and teachings of nonviolent protest, the BPP claimed that they needed to equip themselves with weapons for use as self-defense against police brutality. Arming the group did provide the intended protection but, predictably, led to confrontations with the police that often times concluded with a bloody altercation. The Panthers also volunteered their time and efforts performing various activities that helped people in the community. The group made the rounds throughout neighborhoods in Oakland carrying arms, recorders, and various books so as to teach black history, counsel welfare recipients, and effectively protest rent evictions through the court system. The Panthers could be easily distinguished by their uniform dress of black jackets, pants and berets with blue shirts (Jones, 2000). In 1967, Eldridge Cleaver joined the Black Panther Party. At the time, Cleaver was working as a writer for Ramparts magazine and was the creator of Black House, a political organization in San Francisco. “Cleaver served as the Panthers’ minister of information. In this position he was in charge of the publication of the Black Panther newspaper. On April 25, 1967, the first issue of the paper was published and ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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