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Black Power movement

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Black Power movement
Part of the aftermath of the Civil Rights Movement
Black Panther convention2.jpg
Black Panther at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, June 1970
Date 1965—1985
Location United States

The Black Power movement emphasized racial pride, economic empowerment, and the creation of political and cultural institutions for black people in the United States.

The movement grew out of the Civil rights movement, as black activists experimented with forms of self-advocacy ranging from political lobbying to armed struggle. The Black Power movement served as a focal point for the view that reformist and pacifist elements of the Civil Rights Moment were not effective in changing race relations.

Motivated by a desire for safety and self-sufficiency that was not available inside redline neighborhoods, Black Power activists founded black-owned bookstores, food cooperatives, farms, media, printing presses, schools, clinics and ambulance services.[1][2][3][4][5][6] The international impact of the movement includes the Black Power Revolution in Trinidad and Tobago.[7]

While black American thinkers such as Robert F. Williams and Malcolm X influenced the early Black Power movement, the Black Panther Party and its views are widely seen as the cornerstone. It was influenced by philosophies such as pan-Africanism, black nationalism and socialism, as well as contemporary events like the Cuban Revolution and the decolonization of Africa.[8]

At the movement's peak in the early 1970s, some of its more militant leaders were killed during conflicts with police, prompting many activists to abandon the movement.

YouTube Encyclopedic

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  • The 1960s in America: Crash Course US History #40
  • A Narrative History of Black Power in America: Identity, Culture, Equality, Integration (2007)
  • Are African-Centered Schools the only Solution to Black Miseducation?
  • The Women of the Black Panther Movement
  • "Planning for Justice: Civil Rights, Black Power, and the Metropolis" Thomas Sugrue


Episode 40: The Sixties LOCKED Hi, I’m John Green, this is Crash Course US History and today we’re gonna talk about the 1960s. Mr. Green, Mr. Green. Great. The decade made famous by the narcissists who lived through it. Hey, Me From the Past, finally you and I agree about something wholeheartedly. But while I don’t wish to indulge the baby-boomers’ fantasies about their centrality to world history, the sixties were an important time. I mean, there was the Cold War, Vietnam, a rising tide of conservatism (despite Woodstock), racism. There were the Kennedy’s and Camelot, John, Paul, George, and to a lesser extent, Ringo. And of course, there was also Martin Luther King Jr. intro So, the 1960s saw people organizing and actively working for change both in the social order and in government. This included the student movement, the women’s movement, movements for gay rights, and a push by the courts to expand rights in general. But, by the end of the 1960s, the anti-war movement seemed to have overshadowed all the rest. So as you’ll no doubt remember from last week, the civil rights movement began in the 1950s if not before, but many of its key moments happened in the sixties. And this really began with sit-ins that took place in Greensboro North Carolina. Black university students walked into Woolworths and waited at the lunch counters to be served, or, more likely, arrested. After 5 months of that, those students eventually got Woolworths to serve black customers. Then, in 1961 leaders from the Congress On Racial Equality launched Freedom Rides to integrate interstate buses. Volunteers rode the buses into the Deep South where they faced violence including beatings and a bombing in Anniston AL. But despite that, those freedom rides also proved successful and eventually the ICC desegregated interstate buses. In fact, by the end of the 60s over 70,000 people had taken part in demonstrations, from sit-ins, to teach-ins, to marches. But they weren’t all successful. Martin Luther King’s year-long protests in Albany, GA didn’t end discrimination in the city. And it took JFK ordering federal troops to escort James Meredith to class for him to attend the University of Mississippi. The University of Mississippi: America’s fallback college. Sorry, I’m from Alabama. So, the Civil Rights movement reached its greatest national prominence in 1963 when Martin Luther King came to my hometown of Birmingham, Alabama, where there had been more than 50 racially-motivated bombings since WWII. Television brought the reality of the Jim Crow South into people’s homes as images of Bull Connor’s police dogs and water cannons being turned on peaceful marchers, many of them children, horrified viewers and eventually led Kennedy to endorse the movement’s goals. Probably should mention that John F. Kennedy was president of the United States at the time, having been elected in 1960. He was assassinated in 1963 leading to Lyndon Johnson. Alright, politics over. Anyway, in response to these peaceful protests, Birmingham jailed Martin Luther King where he wrote one of the great letters in American history (doesn’t have a great name): Letter from Birmingham Jail. 1963 also saw the March on Washington, the largest public demonstration in American history up to that time where King gave his famous speech, “I have a Dream.” King and the other organizers called for a civil rights bill and help for the poor, demanding public works, a higher minimum wage, and an end to discrimination in employment. Which eventually, in one of the great bright spots in American history, did sort of happen with the Civil Rights Act. So, one reason American history teachers focus on the Civil Rights Movement so much is that it successfully brought actual legislative change. After being elected president, John F. Kennedy was initially cool to civil rights, but to be fair, the Cold War occupied a lot of his time, what with the Cuban Missile Crisis and the Bay of Pigs and whatnot. But the demonstrations of 1963 pushed John F. Kennedy to support civil rights more actively. According to our dear friend, the historian Eric Foner, “Kennedy realized that the United States simply could not declare itself the champion of freedom throughout the world while maintaining a system of racial inequality at home.”[1] So that June he appeared on TV and called on Congress to pass a law that would ban discrimination in all public accommodations. And then he was assassinated. Thanks, Lee Harvey Oswald. Or possibly someone else. But probably Lee Harvey Oswald. So then, Lyndon Johnson became president and he pushed Congress to pass the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The law prohibited discrimination in employment, schools, hospitals, and privately owned public places like restaurants, and hotels and theaters, and it also banned discrimination on the basis of sex. The Civil Rights Act was a major moment in American legislative history, but it hardly made the United States a haven of equality. So, Civil Rights leaders continued to push for the enfranchisement of African Americans. After Freedom Summer workers registered people in Mississippi to vote, King launched a march for voting rights in Selma, Alabama in January, 1965. And television swayed public opinion in favor of the demonstrators. Thank you, TV, for your one and only gift to humanity. Just kidding. Battlestar Galactica. So, in 1965 Congress passed the Voting Rights Act, which gave the federal government the power to oversee voting in places where discrimination was practiced. In 1965, Congress also passed the Hart-Cellar Act, which got rid of national origin quotas and allowed Asian immigrants to immigrate to the United States. Unfortunately the law also introduced quotas on immigrants from the Western Hemisphere. Lyndon Johnson’s domestic initiatives from 1965 through 1967 are known as the Great Society, and it’s possible that if he hadn’t been responsible for America escalating the war in Vietnam, he might have been remembered, at least by liberals, as one of America’s greatest presidents. Because the Great Society expanded a lot of the promises of the New Deal, especially in the creation of health insurance programs, like Medicare for the elderly and Medicaid for the poor. He also went to War on Poverty. Never go to war with a noun. You will always lose. Johnson treated poverty as a social problem, rather than an economic one. So instead of focusing on jobs or guaranteed income, his initiatives stressed things like training. That unfortunately failed to take into account shifts in the economy away from high wage union manufacturing jobs toward more lower-wage service jobs. [2] Here’s what Eric Foner had to say about Johnson’s domestic accomplishments: “By the 1990s […] the historic gap between whites and blacks in education, income, and access to skilled employment narrowed considerably. But with deindustrialization and urban decay affecting numerous families and most suburbs still being off limits to non-white people, the median wealth of white households remained ten times greater than that of African Americans, and nearly a quarter of all black children lived in poverty.” While Congress was busy enacting Johnson’s Great Society programs, the movement for African American freedom was changing. Let’s go to the ThoughtBubble. Persistent poverty and continued discrimination in the workplace, housing, education, and criminal justice system might explain the shift away from integration and toward black power, a celebration of African American culture and criticism of whites’ oppression. 1964 saw the beginnings of riots in city ghettoes, for instance, mostly in Northern cities. The worst riots were in 1965 in Watts, in southern California. These left 35 people dead, 900 injured, and $30 million in damage. Newark and Detroit also saw devastating riots in 1967. In 1968 the Kerner Report blamed the cause of the rioting on segregation, poverty, and white racism. Then there’s Malcolm X, who many white people regarded as an advocate for violence, but who also called for self-reliance. It’s tempting to see leadership shifting from King to X as the civil rights movement became more militant, but Malcolm X was active in the early 1960s and he was killed in 1965, three years before Martin Luther King was assassinated and before all the major shifts in emphasis towards black power. Older Civil Rights groups like CORE abandoned integration as a goal after 1965 and started to call for black power. The rhetoric of Black Power could be strident, but its message of black empowerment was deeply resonant for many. Oakland’s Black Panther Party did carry guns in self-defense but they also offered a lot of neighborhood services. But the Black Power turned many white people away from the struggle for African American freedom, and by the end of the 1960s, many Americans’ attention had shifted to anti-war movement. Thanks, ThoughtBubble. So it was Vietnam that really galvanized students even though many didn’t have to go to Vietnam because they had student deferments. They just really, really didn’t want their friends to go. The anti-war movement and the civil rights movement inspired other groups to seek an end to oppression. Like, Latinos organized to celebrate their heritage and end discrimination. Latino activism was like black power, but much more explicitly linked to labor justice, especially the strike efforts led by Cesar Chavez and the United Farm Workers. The American Indian Movement, founded in 1968, took over Alcatraz to symbolize the land that had been taken from Native Americans. And they won greater tribal control over education, economic development, and they also filed suits for restitution. And in June of 1969, after police raided a gay bar, called the Stonewall Inn, members of the gay community began a series of demonstrations in New York City, which touched off the modern gay liberation movement. Oh, it’s time for the Mystery Document? The rules here are pretty simple. I read the Mystery Document, guess the author, I’m either right or I get shocked. Alright, what have we got here. If the Bill of Rights contains no guarantee that a citizen shall be secure against lethal poisons distributed either by private individuals or by public officials [I already know it!], it is surely only because our forefathers, despite their considerable wisdom and foresight, could conceive of no such problem. Rachel Carson! Silent Spring. YES. I am on such a roll. Silent Spring was a massively important book because it was the first time that anyone really described all of the astonishingly poisonous things we were putting into the air and the ground and the water. Fortunately, that’s all been straightened out now and everything that we do and make as human beings is now sustainable. What’s that? Oh god. The environmental movement gained huge bipartisan support and it resulted in important legislation during the Nixon era, including the Clean Air and Water Acts, and the Endangered Species Act. And yes, I said that environmental legislation was passed during the Nixon administration. But perhaps the most significant freedom movement in terms of number of people involved and long-lasting effects was the American Feminist movement. This is usually said to have begun with the publication of Betty Friedan’s book The Feminine Mystique, which set out to describe “the problem that has no name.” Turns out the name is “misogyny.” [3] Friedan described a constricting social and economic system that affected mostly middle class women, but it resonated with the educated classes and led to the foundation of the National Organization of Women in 1966. Participation in student and civil rights movements led many women to identify themselves as members of a group that was systematically discriminated against. And by “systemic,” I mean that in 1963, 5.8% of doctors were women and 3.7% of lawyers were women and fewer than 10% of doctoral degrees went to women. They are more than half of the population. While Congress responded with the Equal Pay Act in 1963, younger women sought greater power and autonomy in addition to legislation. Crucially, 60s-era feminists opened America to the idea that the “personal is political,” especially when it came to equal pay, childcare, and abortion. Weirdly, the branch of government that provided most support to the expansion of personal freedom in the 1960s was the most conservative one, the Supreme Court. The Warren Court handed down so many decisions expanding civil rights that the era has sometimes been called a rights revolution. The Warren court expanded the protections of free speech and assembly under the First Amendment and freedom of the press in the New York Times v. Sullivan decision. It struck down a law banning interracial marriage in the most appropriately named case ever, Loving v. Virginia. And although this would become a lightning rod for many conservatives, Supreme Court decisions greatly expanded the protections of people accused of crimes. Gideon v. Wainwright secured the right to attorney, Mapp v. Ohio established the exclusionary rule under the Fourth Amendment, and Miranda v. Arizona provided fodder for Channing Tatum in his great movie, 21 Jump Street, insuring that he would always have to say to every perp, “You have the right to remain silent.” But you can’t silence my heart, Channing Tatum. It beats only for thee. But, the most innovative and controversial decisions actually established a new right where none had existed in the constitution. Griswold v. Connecticut, dealt with contraception, and Roe v. Wade, guaranteed a woman’s right to an abortion (at least in the first trimester). And those two decisions formed the basis of a new right, the right to privacy. Protests, the counter culture, and the liberation movements continued well into the early 1970s, losing steam with the end of the Vietnam war and America’s economy plunging into the toilet. For many, though, the year 1968 sums up the decade. 1968 began with the Tet Offensive in Vietnam, which stirred up the anti-war protests. Then racial violence erupted after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. on April 4, 1968. Then, anti-war demonstrators as well as some counter culture types arrived in large numbers at the 1968 Democratic convention in Chicago where they were set upon by police and beaten in what was later described as a “police riot.” 1968 also saw the Prague Spring uprising in Czechoslovakia crushed by the Soviets. And student demonstrators were killed by the police in Mexico City where the Olympics were held and Parisian students took to the streets in widespread protests against, you know, France. All this unrest scared a lot of people who ended up voting for Richard Nixon and his promises to return to law and order. Ultimately, like any decade or arbitrary historical “age,” the 60s defies easy categorization. Yes, there were hippies and liberation movements, but there were also reactions to those movements. On this one, I’m just gonna leave it up to Eric Foner to summarize the decade’s legacy: “[The 1960s] made possible the entrance of numerous members of racial minorities into the mainstream of American life, while leaving unsolved the problem of urban poverty. It set in motion a transformation of the status of women. It changed what Americans expected from government – from clean air and water to medical coverage in old age. And at the same time, it undermined confidence in national leaders. Relations between young and old, men and women, and white and non-white, along with every institution in society, changed as a result.” But there’s one last thing I want to emphasize. All of this wasn’t really the result of, like, a radical revolution. It was the result of a process that had been going on for decades. I mean, arguably a process that had been going on for hundreds of years. Thanks for watching, I’ll see you next week. Crash Course is made with the help of all these nice people and it’s possible because of generous support from the Bluth Family Frozen Banana Stand. Just kidding. We don’t have corporate sponsors. We have you. is a voluntary subscription platform (by the way, you can just click on my face) that allows people who care about stuff, like you hopefully care about Crash Course, to support it directly on a monthly basis. I’m over here now, but you should still click on my face. So Subbable has lots of great Crash Course perks, you can get signed posters and all kinds of things, and most importantly, you can help us keep this show free, for ever, for everyone. Thank you again for watching, and as we say in my hometown, there’s always money in the banana stand. ________________ [1] Foner Give me Liberty ebook version p. 1043 [2] [Text Box: The War on Poverty also included popular programs like VISTA, Head Start and food-stamps. Poverty was reduced but probably as much by economic growth as the programs themselves. And they didn’t eradicate poverty.] [3]



The first popular use of the term "Black Power" as a social and racial slogan was by Stokely Carmichael (later known as Kwame Ture) and Willie Ricks (later known as Mukasa Dada), both organizers and spokespersons for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. On June 16, 1966, in a speech in Greenwood, Mississippi, during the March Against Fear, Carmichael led the marchers in a chant for black power that was televised nationally.[9]

By the late 1960s, Black Power came to represent the demand for more immediate violent action to counter American white supremacy. Most of these ideas were influenced by Malcolm X's criticism of Martin Luther King Jr.'s peaceful protest methods. The 1965 assassination of Malcolm X coupled with the urban uprisings of 1964 and 1965 ignited the movement. New organizations that supported Black Power philosophies ranging from socialism to black nationalism, including the Black Panther Party, grew to prominence.[10]


Beginning in the early 1960s

The organization Nation of Islam began as a black nationalist movement in the 1930s, inspiring later groups.[11] Malcolm X is largely credited with the group's dramatic increase in membership between the early 1950s and early 1960s (from 500 to 25,000 by one estimate; from 1,200 to 50,000 or 75,000 by another).[12][13] In March 1964, Malcolm X left the Nation due to disagreements with Elijah Muhammad; among other things, he cited his interest in working with other civil rights leaders, saying that Muhammad had prevented him from doing so.[14] Later, Malcolm X also said Muhammad had engaged in extramarital affairs with young Nation secretaries‍—‌a serious violation of the group's teachings.[15] On February 21, 1965, Malcolm X was shot and killed while speaking at the Audubon Ballroom in Washington Heights, New York.[16] Three Nation members were convicted of assassinating him.[17][18][19]

After the Watts riots in Los Angeles in 1965, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee decided to break its ties with the mainstream civil rights movement. They argued that blacks needed to build power of their own, rather than seek accommodations from the power structure in place. SNCC migrated from a philosophy of nonviolence to one of greater militancy after the mid-1960s.[20] The organization established ties with radical groups such as the Students for a Democratic Society.

In late October 1966, Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale founded the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense. In formulating a new politics, they drew on their experiences working with a variety of Black Power organizations.[21]

Focus on education

The Black Panther Party's Ten-Point Program included point five, "We want education for our people that exposes the true nature of this decadent American society. We want education that teaches us our true history and our role in the present day society." This sentiment was echoed in many of the other Black Power organizations; the inadequacy of black education had earlier been remarked on by W.E.B. Du Bois, Marcus Garvey, and Carter G. Woodson.

With this backdrop, Stokely Carmichael brought political education into his work with SNCC in the rural South. This included get-out-the-vote campaigns[22] and political literacy. Bobby Seale and Huey Newton used education to address the lack of identity in the black community. Seale had worked with youth in an after-school program before starting the Panthers. Through this new education and identity building, they believed they could empower black Americans to claim their freedom.

Escalation in the late 1960s

The Black Panther Party initially utilized open-carry gun laws to protect party members and local black communities from law enforcement. Party members also recorded incidents of police brutality by distantly following police cars around neighborhoods.[23] Numbers grew slightly starting in February 1967, when the party provided an armed escort at the San Francisco airport for Betty Shabazz, Malcolm X's widow and keynote speaker at conference held in his honor.[24] By 1967, the SNCC began to fall apart due to policy disputes in its leadership and many members left for the Black Panthers.[25] Throughout 1967 the Panthers staged rallies and disrupted the California State Assembly with armed marchers.[26] In late 1967 the FBI developed COINTELPRO to investigate black nationalist groups and other civil rights leaders.[27] By 1969, the Black Panthers and their allies had become primary COINTELPRO targets, singled out in 233 of the 295 authorized "black nationalist" COINTELPRO actions. In 1968 the Republic of New Afrika was founded, a separatist group seeking a black country in the southern United States, only to dissolve by the early 1970s.

By 1968, many Black Panther leaders had been arrested, including founder Huey Newton for the murder of a police officer (Newton's proseuction was eventually dismissed), yet membership surged. Black Panthers later engaged the police in a firefight in a Los Angeles gas station. In the same year, Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated, creating nationwide riots, the widest wave of social unrest since the American Civil War.[28] In Cleveland, Ohio, the "Republic of New Libya" engaged the police in the Glenville shootout, which was followed by rioting.[29] The year also marked the start of the White Panther Party, a group of whites dedicated to the cause of the Black Panthers. Founders Pun Plamondon and John Sinclair were arrested, but eventually freed, in connection to the bombing of a Central Intelligence Agency office in Ann Arbor, Michigan that September.[30]

By 1969, the Black Panthers began purging members due to fear of law enforcement infiltration and engaged in multiple gunfights with police, and one with a black nationalist organization. The Panthers continued their "Free Huey" campaign internationally. In the spirit of rising militancy, the League of Revolutionary Black Workers was formed in Detroit, which supported labor rights and black liberation.

Peak in the early 1970s

In 1970 the Honorary Prime Minister of the Black Panther Party, Stokely Carmichael, traveled to various countries to discuss methods to resist "American imperialism".[31] In Trinidad, the black power movement had escalated into the Black Power Revolution in which many Afro-Trinidadians forced the government of Trinidad to give into reforms. Later many Panthers visited Algeria to discuss Pan-Africanism and anti-imperialism. In the same year former Black Panthers formed the Black Liberation Army to continue a violent revolution rather than the party's new reform movements.[32] On October 22, 1970, the Black Liberation Army is believed to have planted a bomb in St. Brendan's Church in San Francisco while it was full of mourners attending the funeral of San Francisco police officer Harold Hamilton, who had been killed in the line of duty while responding to a bank robbery. The bomb was detonated, but no one in the church suffered serious injuries.[33]

In 1971, several Panther officials fled the U.S. due to police concerns. This was the only active year of the Black Revolutionary Assault Team, a group that bombed the New York South African consular office in protest of apartheid. On September 20 it placed bombs at the UN Missions of Republic of the Congo (Kinshasa) and the Republic of Malawi.[34] In February 1971, ideological splits within the Black Panther Party between leaders Newton and Eldridge Cleaver led to two factions within the party; the conflict turned violent and four people were killed in a series of assassinations.[35] On May 21, 1971, five Black Liberation Army members participated in the shootings of two New York City police officers, Joseph Piagentini and Waverly Jones. Those brought to trial for the shootings include Anthony Bottom (also known as Jalil Muntaqim), Albert Washington, Francisco Torres, Gabriel Torres, and Herman Bell.[citation needed]

During the jail sentence of White Panther John Sinclair a "Free John" concert took place, including John Lennon and Stevie Wonder. Sinclair was released two days later. On August 29, three BLA members murdered San Francisco police sergeant John Victor Young at his police station. Two days later, the San Francisco Chronicle received a letter signed by the BLA claiming responsibility for the attack.[citation needed] Late in the year Huey Newton visited China for meetings on Maoist theory and anti-imperialism.[36] Black Power icon George Jackson attempted to escape from prison in August, killing seven hostage only to be killed himself.[37] Jackson's death triggered the Attica Prison uprising which was later ended in a bloody siege. On November 3 Officer James R. Greene of the Atlanta Police Department was shot and killed in his patrol van at a gas station by Black Liberation Army members.[38]

1972 was the year Newton shut down many Black Panther chapters and held a party meeting in Oakland, California. On January 27, the Black Liberation Army assassinated police officers Gregory Foster and Rocco Laurie in New York City. After the killings, a note sent to authorities portrayed the murders as a retaliation for the prisoner deaths during 1971 Attica prison riot. To date no arrests have been made.[citation needed] In the same year, MOVE was founded and engaged in demonstrations for environmentalism and black power.[39][self-published source] On July 31, five armed BLA members hijacked Delta Air Lines Flight 841, eventually collecting a ransom of $1 million and diverting the plane, after passengers were released, to Algeria. The authorities there seized the ransom but allowed the group to flee. Four were eventually caught by French authorities in Paris, where they were convicted of various crimes, but one – George Wright – remained a fugitive until September 26, 2011, when he was captured in Portugal.[40] After being accused of murdering a prostitute in 1974, Huey Newton fled to Cuba. Elaine Brown became party leader and embarked on an election campaign.[41]

Deescalation in the late 1970s

In the late 1970s a rebel group named after the killed prisoner formed the George Jackson Brigade. From March 1975 to December 1977, the Brigade robbed at least seven banks and detonated about 20 pipe bombs – mainly targeting government buildings, electric power facilities, Safeway stores, and companies accused of racism. In 1977, Newton returned from exile in Cuba. Shortly afterward, Elaine Brown resigned from the party and fled to Los Angeles.[42] The Party fell apart, leaving only a few members.[43]

MOVE became a communal living group. When police raided their house a firefight broke out; one officer was killed, seven other police officers, five firefighters, three MOVE members, and three bystanders were also injured.[44] In another high-profile incident of the Black Liberation Army, Assata Shakur, Zayd Shakur and Sundiata Acoli were said to have opened fire on state troopers in New Jersey after being pulled over for a broken taillight. Zayd Shakur and state trooper Werner Foerster were both killed during the exchange. Following her capture, Assata Shakur was tried in six different criminal trials. According to Shakur, she was beaten and tortured during her incarceration in a number of different federal and state prisons. The charges ranged from kidnapping to assault and battery to bank robbery. Assata Shakur was found guilty of the murder of both Foerster and her companion Zayd Shakur, but escaped prison in 1979 and eventually fled to Cuba and received political asylum. Acoli was convicted of killing Foerster and sentenced to life in prison.

In 1978 a group of Black Liberation Army and Weather Underground members formed named the May 19th Communist Organization, or M19CO. It also included members of the Black Panthers and the Republic of New Africa.[45] [46] In 1979 three M19CO members walked into the visitor's center at the Clinton Correctional Facility for Women near Clinton, New Jersey. They took two guards hostage and freed Shakur. Several months later M19CO arranged for the escape of William Morales, a member of Puerto Rican separatist group Fuerzas Armadas de Liberación Nacional Puertorriqueña from Bellevue Hospital in New York City, where he was recovering after a bomb he was building exploded in his hands.[45]

Decline in the 1980s

Over the 1980s the Black Power movement continued despite a decline in its popularity and organization memberships. The Black Liberation Army was active in the US until at least 1981 when a Brinks truck robbery, conducted with support from former Weather Underground members Kathy Boudin and David Gilbert, left a guard and two police officers dead. Boudin and Gilbert, along with several BLA members, were subsequently arrested.[47] M19CO engaged in a bombing campaign in the 1980s. They targeted a series of government and commercial buildings, including the U.S. Senate. On November 3, 1984, two members of the M19CO, Susan Rosenberg and Timothy Blunk, were arrested at a mini-warehouse they had rented in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. Police recovered more than 100 blasting caps, nearly 200 sticks of dynamite, more than 100 cartridges of gel explosive, and 24 bags of blasting agent from the warehouse. The M19CO alliance's last bombing was on February 23, 1985, at the Policemen's Benevolent Association in New York City.

MOVE had relocated to Philadelphia after the earlier shootout. On May 13, 1985, the police, along with city manager Leo Brooks, arrived with arrest warrants and attempted to clear the building and arrest the indicted MOVE members.[48] This led to an armed standoff with police,[49] who lobbed tear gas canisters at the building. MOVE members shot at the police, who returned fire with automatic weapons.[50] The police then bombed the house, causing a large fire.[50][48])[51]

In 1989, well into the waning years of the movement, the New Black Panther Party formed. In the same year on August 22, Huey P. Newton was fatally shot outside by 24-year-old Black Guerilla Family member Tyrone Robinson.[52]


New Black Panther Party members marching in 2007
New Black Panther Party members marching in 2007

After the 1970s the Black Power movement saw a decline, but not an end. In the year 1998 the Black Radical Congress was founded, with debatable effects. The Black Riders Liberation Party was created by Bloods and Crips gang members as an attempt to recreate the Black Panther Party in 1996. The group has spread, creating chapters in cities across the United States, and frequently staging paramilitary marches.[53] During the 2008 presidential election New Black Panther Party members were accused voter intimidation at a polling station in a predominantly black, Democratic voting district of Philadelphia.[54] After the politically upsetting shooting of Trayvon Martin black power paramilitaries formed, including the Huey P. Newton Gun Club, African American Defense League, and the New Black Liberation Militia, all staging armed marches and military training.[citation needed]

Some have compared the modern movement Black Lives Matter to the Black Power movement, noting its similarities.[55]


Just as Black Power activists focused on community control of schools and politics, the movement took a major interest in creating and controlling its own media institutions. Most famously, the Black Panther Party produced the Black Panther newspaper, which proved to be one of the BPP's most influential tools for disseminating its message and recruiting new members.

WAFR was launched in September 1971 as the first public, community-based black radio station. The Durham, North Carolina, station broadcast until 1976, but influenced later activist radio stations including WPFW in Washington, D.C. and WRFG in Atlanta.[56]

See also


  1. ^ Davis, Joshua Clark. "Black-Owned Bookstores: Anchors of the Black Power Movement – AAIHS". Retrieved 2017-03-10.
  2. ^ Konadu, Kwasi (2009-01-01). A View from the East: Black Cultural Nationalism and Education in New York City. Syracuse University Press. ISBN 9780815651017.
  3. ^ Klehr, Harvey (1988-01-01). Far Left of Center: The American Radical Left Today. Transaction Publishers. ISBN 9781412823432.
  4. ^ "Black Power TV | Duke University Press". Retrieved 2017-03-11.
  5. ^ "The Black Power movement and its schools | Cornell Chronicle". Retrieved 2017-03-10.
  6. ^ Nelson, Alondra (2011-01-01). Body and Soul: The Black Panther Party and the Fight Against Medical Discrimination. U of Minnesota Press. ISBN 9781452933221.
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Further reading

  • Brian Meeks, Radical Caribbean: From Black Power to Abu Bakr.
  • James A. Geschwender. Class, Race, and Worker Insurgency: The League of Revolutionary Black Workers. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1977.
  • Austin, Curtis J. (2006). Up Against the Wall: Violence in the Making and Unmaking of the Black Panther Party. University of Arkansas Press. ISBN 1-55728-827-5
  • McLellan, Vin, and Paul Avery. The Voices of Guns: The Definitive and Dramatic Story of the Twenty-two-month Career of the Symbionese Liberation Army. New York: Putnam, 1977.

External links

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