Black Power And The Civil Rights Movement Analysis

750 Words 3 Pages
Prompt 3
Black Power and the civil rights movements shared similar goals, although their approaches to achieving them were radically different. While both movements searched for solutions to race problems in America, they differed in their belief of if white America would comply to these solutions. In Stokely Carmichael’s Black Power and the Third World, he implies that Black Power was spawned directly out of dissatisfaction with the nonviolent methods of the civil rights movement, portraying the movement as “bourgeois” in nature and only accessible to upper-class Black people who were privileged in that they only had to worry about public segregation. Despite this, he does give the civil rights movement credit for exposing the “depths of racism”
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Carmichael points out both bills were met with a violent response, as riots broke out to protest this liberation of Black Americans. This shows the retention of racism in American culture even as law pushes to eliminate it. Additionally, the success of the civil rights movement in ending segregation overshadows many other demands that were not met. In Jacquelyn Hall’s The Long Civil Rights Movement and the Political Uses of the Past, we are reminded of the feminist origins to the civil rights movement, which are typically forgotten by the modern-day conservative: “…virtually nothing in the dominant narrative would lead us to expect an image of the march that showed women carrying signs demanding jobs for all, decent housing, fair pay, and equal rights…” As time passes, the civil rights movement is re-contextualized and adjusted to fit the narratives of the same white supremacists it initially went against. Suddenly King quotes are taken out of context to justify a colorblind society; the widely-televised nonviolent protest is used as a tool to promote complacency; the same activism which allowed for a change in our nation is used to discourage future …show more content…
For example, when looking at Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s letter from a Birmingham jail, we quickly see how he does not match the narratives he is often placed in. While King’s protests were primarily nonviolent, he pointed out the legitimacy in violent protest if demands cannot be met in any other way. He also writes a scathing criticism of the “white moderate,” who values comfort and order over justice for Black Americans, not explicitly denying them of their right but constantly standing in the way of them. These comments directly contradict the complacent, colorblind version of King often invoked by white supremacists when attacking more modern activism such as Black Lives Matter. Similarly, the writings of Black Power leader Malcolm X reveal that he too is frequently misrepresented in media. In his famous “The Ballot or the Bullet” speech, he assures audiences that he is not anti-white, but instead “anti-oppression” – that he has no internalized hatred for the white man but resentment for the ways he has oppressed Black Americans. He goes on to discourage needless violence in the name of protest while making it clear that he will respond with violence if it is used against him. These strongly-worded but relatively neutral stances contrast the portrayals of Malcolm X as an incredibly violent man calling for the death of white

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