Black Power Movement, Black Nationalism
Black Power Movement, Black Nationalism
A considerable volume of the history African Americans has exemplified the fight for overcoming destructive social powers demonstrated in both a pre- and post- bondage community. During a large extent of American history, rules and social traditions and folkways have made it mandatory for African Americans to pursue several options that would make it possible for them to recognize their capability by pursuing prospects for academic, financial, political freedom and independence. Black academics have normally recognized two propensities of African Americans looking to achieve their complete potential in the community: the need for incorporation by highlighting full involvement as the citizens of United States, and demand for Nationalism in which African Americans would be self-determining from community, underlining shared action of African Americans on the basis of collective heritage and common interests. The aim of this paper is to examine Black Nationalism, and important African American campaigners of this philosophy as a manifestation for African Americans endeavoring to find solutions to communal discrimination.
The longing for Black freedom and independence traces its beginning to the start of the 18th century following the establishment of the African Methodist Episcopal Church At the start of the 19th century, the propagation of the issue of slavery in a autonomous society powered pro and anti-slavery powers, leading to the separation in the United States and ultimately contributing to the Civil War. During the 19th and early 20th centuries, African American populations were confronted with the very grim viewpoint of communal, financial and administrative domination in society. It was at this juncture that the issue of Black Nationalism arose. Wilson Moses points out that the idea of Black Nationalism in both the 19th and 20th centuries were established first on a “subject” society under administrative, social and racial oppression through external armed occupation, and their aspiration to disentangle themselves from foreign domination (Ogbar, 190). In different circumstances, it characterized the need to bring together a population that was disunited traditionally; it endeavors to bring together politically all of these societies regardless of it they are occupants of African regions or progenies of those Africans who were the result of the arrangement of the slave trade.
The Origins of Black Nationalism in the eighteenth century can be traced back to the colonization drive that attempted to deal with the issue of African Americans relocation from the US to Africa and South America. McCartney asserts that the desire by African Americans for relocation was to achieve political self-determination and freedom not conceivable for African Americans as a marginal group: Delaney summarizes the main subject in the Black Nationalist ideology when he pointed out that every human being should have the freedom to determine their individual destiny and the makers of their future. He proceeds on and indicates that because Blacks are a marginal society in the US, where numerous and nearly impossible complications present themselves, a different Black Nation is indispensable in the fight for independence and freedom.
African American proponents of Nationalist philosophy differed with those backing an integrationist methodology, for example, the Abolitionist Movement and influential personalities, for instance, Frederick Douglass (Ogbar, 190). Douglass maintained that African Americans were an integral part of the United States and had the responsibility of acquiring their self-determination and remaining in the United States. African Americans historians John Hope Franklin and Alfred Moss notice the conflicting situation of pro-slavery individuals in the South also backing African American emigration. Consequently, African American and White abolitionists were doubtful of the concerns of the Southerners in emigration as a practical resolution to stopping bondage. Franklin concludes that pro-slavery supporters from the south adopted this stance to avoid the national power of anti-slavery powers and eliminate free African Americans in the South
Although the Black Nationalism characterized in the debate of immigration at the start of the 19th century was neither fiscally possible nor popular with African Americans, it provided a philosophical perception on Black political ideology that would become apparent again in the 20th century with the Marcus Garvey crusade.
Marcus Garvey and the UNIA
Marcus Mosiah Garvey was born in Jamaica in St. Ann’s Bay in 1887 and spent his childhood in a mainstream Black community. Scipio Colin observes that he was given chances for education that were not accessible to most of his society. His father was educated and had formed a library at his house. He finally reaches in the US in 1916 and strives to establish a scheme for a majority of the marginalized Blacks to find a solution to their financial, administrative and learning challenges all through the early 20th century. Garvey took an interest to features of Booker T. Washington’s platform of economic self-determination through support, which he figured would be more productive for a majority of the destitute African Americans (The Civil Rights Era, 138).
The Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA) was created by Garvey in 1918, as a superior substitute for African Americans in comparison to multiracial groups, for example, the NAACP and the National Urban League. As a result of the aggressive opposition to Black incorporation amongst Whites in the United States, Garvey considered that the best alternative would be the separation of the Blacks to recognize their complete potential customarily, communally, administratively, and economically as human beings. Colin observes that UNIA had a robust educational element: the Blacks would be educated to trust themselves, belief in their ethnicity, all with the programs sponsored by the UNIA-ACL (The Civil Rights Era, 208).
Garvey obviously introduced learning in the form of agendas and newspapers to educate the African Americans concerning financial and communal elevation through shared action. His socio-political ideology of Black Nationalism, articulated in the movement, underscored ethnic self-importance, communal division, and economic empowerment. When looking at the significance of Garvey for Blacks, Scipio Colin asserts that there existed no other person who had motivated such confidence in the minds of the Black people after the speeches of Frederick Douglass and integrated these motivations into real-world adult teaching agendas (Ogbar, 104).
His stressing on racial superiority, administrative and economic independence, demonstrated to be an influential message for Blacks throughout the early 20th century. Black Nationalism significantly influenced Malcolm X’s political thought. Malcolm made it clear in his biography that his parents were supporters of Marcus Garvey and belonged to his movement, consequently influencing Malcolm and relatives from childhood. This childhood introduction to Black Nationalism was imperative in establishing the groundwork that would get Malcolm ready to later fully accept Black Nationalism following his withdrawal from the Nation of Islam.
Malcolm X: Political Influences and Evolution
The effect of Black Nationalism can similarly be located in the conceptual establishment of the Nation of Islam in the 1930s. After his registration with NOI in the late 1940s, Malcolm X followed the group’s application of Garvey’s socio-political ideology of Black Nationalism, underlining empowerment of the group through traditional pride, financial growth, and social split. Throughout 1953 and the start of 1964, Malcolm was constrained to a situation of non-involvement on Civil Rights and different social concerns facing Blacks (Bush, 93). As the spearhead of the NOI, Elijah Muhammad prohibited all participants from being involved in Civil Rights groups, demonstrations or any governmental action in general. For the duration of the late 1950s, the NOI abandoned the political pomposity of Black Nationalism and concentrated more on spiritual educations to resolve social challenges.
At the start of the 1960s, Malcolm, a supporter of elevating the living conditions of African Americans, started to doubt privately the role of NOI in improving the lives of Blacks. He understood that the movement, with its funds, was able to deal with the problems of all Blacks and not just other minority groups. His opinions were possibly persuaded by the action-based groups, for example, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) and learner movements such as the Student Non-violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) which were regarded as the basis for the Civil Rights Movement (Austin, 178)). In 1964, Malcolm started to modify his public addresses, identifying himself more with Black Nationalist ideology. It was this transformation that would compel him to pursue collaboration with the administratively active groups of the Civil Rights Movement.
Studies on Malcolm X as a political personality scrutinize his political thought and application of his influence as the leader of a movement to progress a greater scope of inspiration for the Nation of Islam in the Black society. He was better positioned as the National Representative to convene a national meeting to look at the situation of Blacks in the US.
The degree to which Malcolm X transformed his political philosophy in the final year of his lifespan is a topic being heavily debated on and discussed. His stand on government and the situation of the Black community in the United States, at the very minimum, is an indication of his endeavor to make the struggle against discrimination an international issue, creating a connection between African-American slavery in the United States to colonial domination of Africans on the continent of Africa. This eventually results to Malcolm arranging two journeys to Africa in 1964 in a determination to lobby the backing of African leaders.
Black Nationalism as a substitute for incorporation traces its roots to more than a century ago, with the exploration by African-American leaders for a substitute political and communal thought to tackle the issue of racial oppression against Blacks in the United States. The two most prominent personalities in the 20th century stressing cultural Black Nationalism and impacting a generation of people and institutions to apply their ideology. The Nation of Islam under the administration of Elijah Muhammad and Malcolm X together with The Student Non-violent Coordinating Committee under the leadership of Stokely Carmichael, The Black Panther Party under the leadership of Bobby Seale and Huey Newton as well as several other smaller organizations applied the Nationalist ideology promoted by Marcus Garvey and Malcolm X, to deal with social challenges such as poverty, insufficient housing and the brutality of the police force in relation to the African Americans, to take control of their societies through shared social action.Works Cited:
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Austin, Algernon. Achieving Blackness: Race, Black Nationalism, and Afrocentrism in the Twentieth Century. New York [u.a.: New York University Press, 2006. Print.
Bush, Roderick D. We Are Not What We Seem: Black Nationalism and Class Struggle in the American Century. New York: New York University Press, 1999. Print.
Ogbar, Jeffrey O. G. Black Power: Radical Politics and African American Identity. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2005. Print.
The Civil Rights Era. New York: Spark Educational Pub, 2005. Print.
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