Civil Rights Movement Essay

1362 words - 5 pages

Groups and individuals that were eager to embrace the doctrine of Black Power, as it appeared to provide the most direct path to solidarity and mobility among African Americans, greeted the culmination of the nonviolent direct action Civil Rights Movement that created a legacy of getting results by remaining patient and using legal channels. Organizations such as The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and CORE found it suitable to change their “organizational visions” and embrace Black Power after viewing the Old Guard organizations as capitulating toward conservative ideas of racial equality (Lang 2004, 730). Furthermore, the “by any means necessary” philosophy of Malcolm X and the self-defense through armament espoused by Robert F Williams inspired many young Black Power activist. The aforementioned groups and individuals share some facets of Black Nationalism with the Black Panther Party of the Bay Area as well as different approaches to implementing the ideas within their groups.
SNCC experienced numerous changes after expanding their scope and understanding of the American black problem into a problem that mirrors many of the issues occurring in Africa. In order to bring about change in the American context of racial equality, SNCC found itself embracing Black Nationalism as a means to improve political involvement, beginning with their involvement in the voting mobilization efforts of the Lowndes County Freedom Organization (LCFO). By involving the organization in the organizing efforts in Lowndes County, Stokely Carmichael created a direct link to Black Power that allowed the group to see their purpose as a national movement (Jeffries 2005, 156). The coalition between SNCC and the LCFO demonstrates the aspect of Black Nationalism that “permits blacks to exercise control over our lives, politically, economically, and physically”, an extremely important premise for both SNCC and the Black Panther Party, especially as the Black Panther Party worked toward improving the Bay Area through Police Patrols and creating welfare programs (Marable 2007, 94). Although SNCC and the Black Panther party aligned on issues of increasing the autonomy of blacks through the ballot and political education, the movements differed in the importance of biracial coalitions in the realm of Black Nationalism.
During its efforts to free Huey Newton from jail, the Black Panther Party (BPP) realized that a collation between white liberals was essential in order to gain legitimacy and develop monetary means to fight the charges against Huey. The BPP viewed whites as “strategic allies”, as opposed to Carmichael’s brash denouncement of whites as the major enemy of the black movement, which contrasted heavily with SNCC’s earlier modus operandi of building biracial coalitions but no longer saw that tactic as aligning with Black Nationalism (Living for the City 2010, 157;158). Therefore, in order for Black Nationalism to exist within both groups, the idea of...

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