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Black Power Essay

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How far is it accurate to say that Black Power movements of 1960s achieved nothing for Black people?

In the 1960s many groups such as the Nation of Islam (NOI) and Black Panthers (BP) rose up to support “black power”, largely due to being dissatisfied by Martin Luther King’s adamant belief in peaceful protest. With Jim Crow gone and Vietnam looming many former civil rights protesters no longer had any interest or time to continue with Black Rights. As a result things began to slow down. The Black Power movement did less than perhaps it could have done, unrealistic aims meant in it was difficult to achieve some things. However it did somewhat has success and did a lot to increasing the self-esteem of Black people.
One well known Black Power group is The Black Panthers. Black panthers were reasonably successful in helping coloured people living in Ghettos. They organized breakfast and Medical care for Black people living in poor areas. By doing this they were not only helping them to sustain themselves but also attempting to raise their self- esteem. The BP also encouraged black people to “stand up” to white people and defend themselves. The BP’s were dedicated to arming one’s self and defending themselves from racial hatred, although in concept it aims to aid black people in the fight against racism it didn’t have the overall desired effect as the next paragraph will discuss. As a result Bp did have minor successes but they did not come without problems.
BP’s violent retaliation to white harassment was seen as proving the stereotype of black males. For a long time Black males had been described as violent, anger-driven individuals. Members of BP would be seen in military uniform complete with black berets and guns. This created a powerful image and among many white people, went only to confirm the stereotype that Martin Luther King had worked so hard to erase. For this reason BP is criticized as not helping, but hindering Black rights progression by unravelling the delicate protests of MLK through what could be seen as chaotic by Americans. Addionally because of the violence the group displayed they began to lose liberal sympathy. During protests such as Birmingham, people started to recognize the horrible violence bestowed on black people and as a consequence began to support movements. However BP turned the tables by retaliating and so support began to lessen from whites. And finally the violence they showed would of course by treated as a threat by federal government which led to their eventual downfall. This highlights how the BP seemed to do more damage to the the face of the movement than it did help it and so BP was not overly successful. Another important black power organisation was the Nation of Islam, led by Elijah Muhammad. The NOI was very much against integration and felt black people should be entirely independent from white people. They also believed that black people should defend themselves from white provocation. Unfortunately the NOI did little to help civil rights, although Malcolm X who was noted as important speaker for the group up until 1964 was seen on television occasionally which helped spread the word of Black power which, as previously mentioned, increased black morale and self-esteem. Malcolm X also acted as a role model for young black people to follow. The movement as a whole could arguably be seen as hope beacon as it attempted, perhaps not in the best way, to rekindle the civil right movement. Despite not really actively achieving a great deal, the NOI did help to spread the word of BLACK Power and bring black people back together, and thus is a limited success.
This being said NOI was not without its faults. The very attitude of separation the NOI held dived it form King who strove for integration through the abolishment of Jim Crow. This division meant the civil rights movement was far less effective as different groups didn’t work together and instead worked for different aims and often ended up contradicting each other. As well as this the fact Black power itself was a largely radical movement it meant there was never mass support, especially from white people. Black power was more supported by the poorer people living in ghettos in which it was trying to help. Because of lack of support it made it hard for Black Power groups to fund themselves which may have led to an early collapse, cutting the movement down before perhaps anything substantial could be achieved. Because of such factors and also poor organization the ideals of black power could never really be met.

In conclusion, although Black power aimed to push black rights further forward and it did in same cases bring black people together and raise the self-belief and have minor successes; it didn’t ultimately have a plan and radicals such as Stokeley Carmichael meant federal involvement would be imminent. Because of unrealistic aims and no defined goal to achieve, such as the erasing of Jim Crow Law, black power was not really successful.…...

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