Black Power movement | Wikipedia audio article

Black Power movement | Wikipedia audio article


The Black Power movement emphasized racial
pride, economic empowerment, and the creation of political and cultural institutions for
black people in the United States. The movement grew out of the Civil rights
movement, as black activists experimented with forms of self-advocacy ranging from political
lobbying to armed struggle. The Black Power movement served as a focal
point for the view that reformist and pacifist elements of the Civil Rights Moment were not
effective in changing race relations. Motivated by a desire for safety and self-sufficiency
that was not available inside redline neighborhoods, Black Power activists founded black-owned
bookstores, food cooperatives, farms, media, printing presses, schools, clinics and ambulance
services. The international impact of the movement includes
the Black Power Revolution in Trinidad and Tobago.While black American thinkers such
as Robert F. Williams and Malcolm X influenced the early Black Power movement, the Black
Panther Party and its views are widely seen as the cornerstone. It was influenced by philosophies such as
pan-Africanism, black nationalism and socialism, as well as contemporary events like the Cuban
Revolution and the decolonization of Africa.At the movement’s peak in the early 1970s, some
of its more militant leaders were killed during conflicts with police, prompting many activists
to abandon the movement.==Background==The first popular use of the term “Black Power”
as a social and racial 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. On June 16, 1966, in a speech in Greenwood,
Mississippi, during the March Against Fear, Carmichael led the marchers in a chant for
black power that was televised nationally.By the late 1960s, Black Power came to represent
the demand for more immediate violent action to counter American white supremacy. Most of these ideas were influenced by Malcolm
X’s criticism of Martin Luther King Jr.’s peaceful protest methods. The 1965 assassination of Malcolm X coupled
with the urban uprisings of 1964 and 1965 ignited the movement. New organizations that supported Black Power
philosophies ranging from socialism to black nationalism, including the Black Panther Party,
grew to prominence.==History=====Beginning in the early 1960s===
The organization Nation of Islam began as a black nationalist movement in the 1930s,
inspiring later groups. Malcolm X is largely credited with the group’s
dramatic increase in membership between the early 1950s and early 1960s (from 500 to 25,000
by one estimate; from 1,200 to 50,000 or 75,000 by another). In March 1964, Malcolm X left the Nation due
to disagreements with Elijah Muhammad; among other things, he cited his interest in working
with other civil rights leaders, saying that Muhammad had prevented him from doing so. Later, Malcolm X also said Muhammad had engaged
in extramarital affairs with young Nation secretaries‍—‌a serious violation of
the group’s teachings. On February 21, 1965, Malcolm X was shot and
killed while speaking at the Audubon Ballroom in Washington Heights, New York. Three Nation members were convicted of assassinating
him.After the Watts riots in Los Angeles in 1965, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating
Committee decided to break its ties with the mainstream civil rights movement. They argued that blacks needed to build power
of their own, rather than seek accommodations from the power structure in place. SNCC migrated from a philosophy of nonviolence
to one of greater militancy after the mid-1960s. The organization established ties with radical
groups such as the Students for a Democratic Society. In late October 1966, Huey P. Newton and Bobby
Seale founded the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense. In formulating a new politics, they drew on
their experiences working with a variety of Black Power organizations.===Focus on education===
The Black Panther Party’s Ten-Point Program included point five, “We want education for
our people that exposes the true nature of this decadent American society. We want education that teaches us our true
history and our role in the present day society.” This sentiment was echoed in many of the other
Black Power organizations; the inadequacy of black education had earlier been remarked
on by W.E.B. Du Bois, Marcus Garvey, and Carter G. Woodson. With this backdrop, Stokely Carmichael brought
political education into his work with SNCC in the rural South. This included get-out-the-vote campaigns and
political literacy. Bobby Seale and Huey Newton used education
to address the lack of identity in the black community. Seale had worked with youth in an after-school
program before starting the Panthers. Through this new education and identity building,
they believed they could empower black Americans to claim their freedom.===Escalation in the late 1960s===
The Black Panther Party initially utilized open-carry gun laws to protect party members
and local black communities from law enforcement. Party members also recorded incidents of police
brutality by distantly following police cars around neighborhoods. Numbers grew slightly starting in February
1967, when the party provided an armed escort at the San Francisco airport for Betty Shabazz,
Malcolm X’s widow and keynote speaker at conference held in his honor. By 1967, the SNCC began to fall apart due
to policy disputes in its leadership and many members left for the Black Panthers. Throughout 1967 the Panthers staged rallies
and disrupted the California State Assembly with armed marchers. In late 1967 the FBI developed COINTELPRO
to investigate black nationalist groups and other civil rights leaders. By 1969, the Black Panthers and their allies
had become primary COINTELPRO targets, singled out in 233 of the 295 authorized “black nationalist”
COINTELPRO actions. In 1968 the Republic of New Afrika was founded,
a separatist group seeking a black country in the southern United States, only to dissolve
by the early 1970s. By 1968, many Black Panther leaders had been
arrested, including founder Huey Newton for the murder of a police officer (Newton’s proseuction
was eventually dismissed), yet membership surged. Black Panthers later engaged the police in
a firefight in a Los Angeles gas station. In the same year, Martin Luther King Jr. was
assassinated, creating nationwide riots, the widest wave of social unrest since the American
Civil War. In Cleveland, Ohio, the “Republic of New Libya”
engaged the police in the Glenville shootout, which was followed by rioting. The year also marked the start of the White
Panther Party, a group of whites dedicated to the cause of the Black Panthers. Founders Pun Plamondon and John Sinclair were
arrested, but eventually freed, in connection to the bombing of a Central Intelligence Agency
office in Ann Arbor, Michigan that September.By 1969, the Black Panthers began purging members
due to fear of law enforcement infiltration and engaged in multiple gunfights with police,
and one with a black nationalist organization. The Panthers continued their “Free Huey” campaign
internationally. In the spirit of rising militancy, the League
of Revolutionary Black Workers was formed in Detroit, which supported labor rights and
black liberation.===Peak in the early 1970s===
In 1970 the Honorary Prime Minister of the Black Panther Party, Stokely Carmichael, traveled
to various countries to discuss methods to resist “American imperialism”. In Trinidad, the black power movement had
escalated into the Black Power Revolution in which many Afro-Trinidadians forced the
government of Trinidad to give into reforms. Later many Panthers visited Algeria to discuss
Pan-Africanism and anti-imperialism. In the same year former Black Panthers formed
the Black Liberation Army to continue a violent revolution rather than the party’s new reform
movements. On October 22, 1970, the Black Liberation
Army is believed to have planted a bomb in St. Brendan’s Church in San Francisco while
it was full of mourners attending the funeral of San Francisco police officer Harold Hamilton,
who had been killed in the line of duty while responding to a bank robbery. The bomb was detonated, but no one in the
church suffered serious injuries.In 1971, several Panther officials fled the U.S. due
to police concerns. This was the only active year of the Black
Revolutionary Assault Team, a group that bombed the New York South African consular office
in protest of apartheid. On September 20 it placed bombs at the UN
Missions of Republic of the Congo (Kinshasa) and the Republic of Malawi. In February 1971, ideological splits within
the Black Panther Party between leaders Newton and Eldridge Cleaver led to two factions within
the party; the conflict turned violent and four people were killed in a series of assassinations. On May 21, 1971, five Black Liberation Army
members participated in the shootings of two New York City police officers, Joseph Piagentini
and Waverly Jones. Those brought to trial for the shootings include
Anthony Bottom (also known as Jalil Muntaqim), Albert Washington, Francisco Torres, Gabriel
Torres, and Herman Bell.During the jail sentence of White Panther John Sinclair a “Free John”
concert took place, including John Lennon and Stevie Wonder. Sinclair was released two days later. On August 29, three BLA members murdered San
Francisco police sergeant John Victor Young at his police station. Two days later, the San Francisco Chronicle
received a letter signed by the BLA claiming responsibility for the attack. Late in the year Huey Newton visited China
for meetings on Maoist theory and anti-imperialism. Black Power icon George Jackson attempted
to escape from prison in August, killing seven hostage only to be killed himself. Jackson’s death triggered the Attica Prison
uprising which was later ended in a bloody siege. On November 3 Officer James R. Greene of the
Atlanta Police Department was shot and killed in his patrol van at a gas station by Black
Liberation Army members.1972 was the year Newton shut down many Black Panther chapters
and held a party meeting in Oakland, California. On January 27, the Black Liberation Army assassinated
police officers Gregory Foster and Rocco Laurie in New York City. After the killings, a note sent to authorities
portrayed the murders as a retaliation for the prisoner deaths during 1971 Attica prison
riot. To date no arrests have been made. In the same year, MOVE was founded and engaged
in demonstrations for environmentalism and black power. On July 31, five armed BLA members hijacked
Delta Air Lines Flight 841, eventually collecting a ransom of $1 million and diverting the plane,
after passengers were released, to Algeria. The authorities there seized the ransom but
allowed the group to flee. Four were eventually caught by French authorities
in Paris, where they were convicted of various crimes, but one – George Wright – remained
a fugitive until September 26, 2011, when he was captured in Portugal. After being accused of murdering a prostitute
in 1974, Huey Newton fled to Cuba. Elaine Brown became party leader and embarked
on an election campaign.===Deescalation in the late 1970s===
In the late 1970s a rebel group named after the killed prisoner formed the George Jackson
Brigade. From March 1975 to December 1977, the Brigade
robbed at least seven banks and detonated about 20 pipe bombs – mainly targeting government
buildings, electric power facilities, Safeway stores, and companies accused of racism. In 1977, Newton returned from exile in Cuba. Shortly afterward, Elaine Brown resigned from
the party and fled to Los Angeles. The Party fell apart, leaving only a few members.MOVE
became a communal living group. When police raided their house a firefight
broke out; one officer was killed, seven other police officers, five firefighters, three
MOVE members, and three bystanders were also injured. In another high-profile incident of the Black
Liberation Army, Assata Shakur, Zayd Shakur and Sundiata Acoli were said to have opened
fire on state troopers in New Jersey after being pulled over for a broken taillight. Zayd Shakur and state trooper Werner Foerster
were both killed during the exchange. Following her capture, Assata Shakur was tried
in six different criminal trials. According to Shakur, she was beaten and tortured
during her incarceration in a number of different federal and state prisons. The charges ranged from kidnapping to assault
and battery to bank robbery. Assata Shakur was found guilty of the murder
of both Foerster and her companion Zayd Shakur, but escaped prison in 1979 and eventually
fled to Cuba and received political asylum. Acoli was convicted of killing Foerster and
sentenced to life in prison. In 1978 a group of Black Liberation Army and
Weather Underground members formed named the May 19th Communist Organization, or M19CO. It also included members of the Black Panthers
and the Republic of New Africa. In 1979 three M19CO members walked into the
visitor’s center at the Clinton Correctional Facility for Women near Clinton, New Jersey. They took two guards hostage and freed Shakur. Several months later M19CO arranged for the
escape of William Morales, a member of Puerto Rican separatist group Fuerzas Armadas de
Liberación Nacional Puertorriqueña from Bellevue Hospital in New York City, where
he was recovering after a bomb he was building exploded in his hands.===Decline in the 1980s===
Over the 1980s the Black Power movement continued despite a decline in its popularity and organization
memberships. The Black Liberation Army was active in the
US until at least 1981 when a Brinks truck robbery, conducted with support from former
Weather Underground members Kathy Boudin and David Gilbert, left a guard and two police
officers dead. Boudin and Gilbert, along with several BLA
members, were subsequently arrested. M19CO engaged in a bombing campaign in the
1980s. They targeted a series of government and commercial
buildings, including the U.S. Senate. On November 3, 1984, two members of the M19CO,
Susan Rosenberg and Timothy Blunk, were arrested at a mini-warehouse they had rented in Cherry
Hill, New Jersey. Police recovered more than 100 blasting caps,
nearly 200 sticks of dynamite, more than 100 cartridges of gel explosive, and 24 bags of
blasting agent from the warehouse. The M19CO alliance’s last bombing was on February
23, 1985, at the Policemen’s Benevolent Association in New York City. MOVE had relocated to Philadelphia after the
earlier shootout. On May 13, 1985, the police, along with city
manager Leo Brooks, arrived with arrest warrants and attempted to clear the building and arrest
the indicted MOVE members. This led to an armed standoff with police,
who lobbed tear gas canisters at the building. MOVE members shot at the police, who returned
fire with automatic weapons. The police then bombed the house, causing
a large fire.)In 1989, well into the waning years of the movement, the New Black Panther
Party formed. In the same year on August 22, Huey P. Newton
was fatally shot outside by 24-year-old Black Guerilla Family member Tyrone Robinson.==Today==After the 1970s the Black Power movement saw
a decline, but not an end. In the year 1998 the Black Radical Congress
was founded, with debatable effects. The Black Riders Liberation Party was created
by Bloods and Crips gang members as an attempt to recreate the Black Panther Party in 1996. The group has spread, creating chapters in
cities across the United States, and frequently staging paramilitary marches. During the 2008 presidential election New
Black Panther Party members were accused voter intimidation at a polling station in a predominantly
black, Democratic voting district of Philadelphia. After the politically upsetting shooting of
Trayvon Martin black power paramilitaries formed, including the Huey P. Newton Gun Club,
African American Defense League, and the New Black Liberation Militia, all staging armed
marches and military training.Some have compared the modern movement Black Lives Matter to
the Black Power movement, noting its similarities.==Media==
Just as Black Power activists focused on community control of schools and politics, the movement
took a major interest in creating and controlling its own media institutions. Most famously, the Black Panther Party produced
the Black Panther newspaper, which proved to be one of the BPP’s most influential tools
for disseminating its message and recruiting new members. WAFR was launched in September 1971 as the
first public, community-based black radio station. The Durham, North Carolina, station broadcast
until 1976, but influenced later activist radio stations including WPFW in Washington,
D.C. and WRFG in Atlanta.==See also==
Chicano Movement History of the socialist movement in the United
States New Left
Protests of 1968 Red Power movement
The Troubles Black supremacy
Black separatism==References====Bibliography==
Konadu, Kwasi (2009). A View from the East: Black Cultural Nationalism
and Education in New York City. Syracuse University Press. ISBN 9780815651017.==Further reading==
Brian Meeks, Radical Caribbean: From Black Power to Abu Bakr. James A. Geschwender. Class, Race, and Worker Insurgency: The League
of Revolutionary Black Workers. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1977. Austin, Curtis J. (2006). Up Against the Wall: Violence in the Making
and Unmaking of the Black Panther Party. University of Arkansas Press. ISBN 1-55728-827-5
McLellan, Vin, and Paul Avery. The Voices of Guns: The Definitive and Dramatic
Story of the Twenty-two-month Career of the Symbionese Liberation Army. New York: Putnam, 1977.==External links==
Media and the Movement: Journalism, Civil Rights and Black Power in the American South

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