Redefining Blackness During The Twentieth Century Essay
1486 Words Dec 5th, 2015 null Page
During the twentieth century, black people began to redefine what ‘blackness’ was and what it meant to be ‘black’ by reconnecting with African history and culture. This was a period of reflection and reconstruction of the black consciousness, and although the twentieth century didn’t produce a solidified interpretation of ‘blackness,’ it created the groundwork necessary to form an identity that was independent of the racist notions instituted by slavery and/or other systems of oppression. As a result, black people across different ethnicities, customs, and nations began to view themselves as a collective group systematically terrorized by similar forces of oppression, as evidenced through various sociopolitical and cultural movements across the diaspora.
The Pan-Africanist and Black Power movements redefined ‘blackness’ in their emphasis on independence/self-reliance and reestablishing viable connections with Africa and Afro-Diasporic peoples. Marcus Garvey’s United Negro Improvement Association (UNIA) epitomizes the Pan-Africanist movement. The UNIA espoused the tenants of the Pan-Africanist movement through its call for black economic nationalism, racial pride, and the formation of an independent black nation in Africa. The UNIA aimed to unify people of African descent, and it was founded on the belief that members of the African diaspora were connected through their common histories under colonialism and the white supremacy. To combat these forces,…