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Southern Civil Rights and the Black Power Movements

Realizing a political change takes a lot of time, effort, and resilience. African Americans were on the receiving end of racial prejudice and injustice over 100 years following the Emancipation Act of 1863 (Healey, 2012). They were subjected to race-induced violence and would always be economically and politically oppressed, including the prohibition from voting. When this discrimination reached alarming levels, the Blacks retaliated by forming the Civil Rights Movement in the South, where most of them were concentrated (Healey, 2012). Later in the 1960s, the Black Power Movement was constituted. Although these two movements were separated by a few years and had a common goal to achieve, they differed in many ways.

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One of the differences is that the Civil Rights Movement was non-violent while the Black Power Movement was violent. The latter’s leaders, Malcolm X and Stokely Carmichael used a war-like tactic to push for their rights. At one point, Carmichael used the words, “we want power,” an indication that they would get their grievances addressed by all means (Healey, 2012, p.39). Through protests and boycott marches, this movement emphasized racial pride and economic empowerment. On the other hand, the earlier undertaking, the Civil Rights Movement, was not violent in its effort to secure basic privileges and rights for all Americans regardless of race.

The second difference is that the Black Power Movement had its roots in religion, led by Martin Luther King Jr., while the Civil Rights Movement was based on other rights movements like the women, peace, and the student movements (Healey, 2012). King used church podiums to promote his movement’s agenda, but Malcolm X was more active in the streets. Nevertheless, both of these movements kept the fight alive and somehow realized an understanding between the races.

These differences existed because the first movement, led by King, was too peaceful to achieve anything. According to Healey (2012), the Black People Movement’s formation was due to the failures of the Civil Rights Movement. With its notable efforts, the Black People Movement became a force to reckon with and was more successful in generating an understanding between African Americans and Whites.

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References

Brownstein, R. (2020). The BLM protests preview the politics of a diversifying America. CNN. Web.

Campbell, J. (2020). Black Lives Matter protests in Africa shine a light on local police brutality. Council on Foreign Relations. Web.

Healey, J. F. (2012). Race, ethnicity, gender, and class: The sociology of group conflict and change (6th ed.). SAGE Publications.

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Patrick, S. M. (2020). Black Lives Matter—for social justice, and for America’s global role. Council on Foreign Relations. Web.

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