- Death of 46-year-old African-American George Floyd by white police officer has triggered the movement #BlackPowerMovement
- Black Power Movement originated for Civil Rights between 1965-1985.
- Black Power Movement turned to #BlackLivesMatter in 2013
- The movement has lost its strength during the presidency of Mr. Trump since 2016.
Table of contents
- Black Power Movement
- Latest Update
- Info by Analysis
1. Black Power Movement
Black power movement originated for the civil rights of Afro-Americans in the United States which accentuated on creating their own political and cultural institutions. They also wished for racial pride and economic recognition. Some of the incidents and people which had a great influence on the movement include:
- Black thinkers named Robert F. Williams and Malcolm X.
- Philosophies such as pan-Africanism (which says that all the people of African origin have common interests and they should unite), black nationalism and socialism.
- Cuban Revolution and the decolonization of Africa were such contemporary stories which influenced the movement.
- Other incidents which strengthened the movement include Malcolm X’ criticism of Martin Luther King Jr.’ s peaceful protest method and organization of Black Panther Party (BBP).
In 1930, Nation of Islam (NOI) was an Afro-American movement founded in Detroit, Michigan, United States by Wallaca Fard Muhammad. The objective of this movement was to improve the condition of African-Americans. Later, it inspired many revolutionary groups. Malcolm X was a popular figure of this movement. He was spokesman for NOI.
Influenced by the NOI movement, in 1965, Watt’s Rebellion of Los Angeles was founded. It aimed to finish the injustice towards Afro-Americans in housing, employment, and schooling. This goal of Watt’s Rebellion encouraged few students. These people were a part of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee in the United States and worked for civil rights. Watt’s Rebellion drew their mainstream on self- sufficiency and safety for blacks rather than civil rights. They shifted their philosophy to militancy and merged with radical groups like Students for a Democratic Society. This was the beginning of Black Power Movement.
Two organizers and spokespeople of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee named Stokely Carmichael and Willie Ricks firstly used the word “Black Power” in a speech against fear, which was announced nationally on 16th of June 1966.
As a result, in late October 1966, Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale founded Black Panther Party (BPP). Members of BPP started travelling across the globe to unite the black population for their upliftment.In 1970s, the Prime Minister of the Black Panther Party, Stokely Carmichael, toured to many countries. He openly spoke about the Black Power and made it a key to the revolutionary language in many places. As a result, violent protests started in many places as Black Power Revolution.
Black Panthers formed the Black Liberation Army to continue a violent revolution. This was the active period for this activist team. In the 1980s, the campaign faded. Many members of the Black Liberation Army were arrested and Huey P. Newton the founder of Black Panther Army was shot by a 24-year-old Tyrone Robinson. But this was not the end.
Another version of the BPP rose out of the ashes. New Black Panther Party was Formed. After spending a long period of time, In 2008, a hope ray was awakened among African-Americans. Barack Obama, being a member of Democratic party and first Afro-American leader, fought for the Presidency. Obama became the President, but the racial discrimination stood in-place.
The system continued to be biased against the poor African-Americans and riots continued. This description can be seen in the case of Trayvon Martin. On 26 February 2012, a guy named George Zimmerman shot an unarmed Afro-Americans teenager Trayvon Martin. Martin was a merely 17-years old high school student in Stanford, Florida. Zimmerman was charged with this murder, but shockingly he was released for the excuse of self-defense.
The movement for Human Rights sprouted in July 2013, when three Black organizers named, Alicia Garza, Patrice Cullors and Opal Tomett discussed the Martin’s murder and claimed that, “Our Lives Matter, Black Lives Matter, #BlackLivesMatter”.
As a result, #BlackLivesMatter stretched its wings on a digital platforms, a new variant of Black Power movement which claimed for Human Rights rather than Civil Rights. Later, on 17 July 2014, Eric Garner was choked by a police officer until he died because the officer guessed that he was selling single cigarettes from packs without tax stamps. Earlier, in the same year on 9 August, 18-year-old African-American boy Michael Brown was shot dead by police. A 28-year-old white Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson in Missouri had killed him. This led to the first street protest. All of these stories boosted the #BlackLivesMatter and it became one of the most used hashtags right from 2013.
In 2016, the presidency of Donald John Trump gradually declined the popularity of #BlackLivesMatter. But, the murder of African-American named George Floyd in Minneapolis reversed the movement into action as #BlackPowerMovement. In the following section we will look into the latest George Floyd case.
3. Latest Update
An Afro-American, George Floyd was killed by a white police officer on 25th of May 2020 in Minneapolis. George was killed when the Police were arresting him for using black money. This incident blew air to the movement #BlackPowerMovement and burned the wrangle of race and justice.
Consequently, a stream of civil movement approached the doors of the White House. Enormous mobs gathered on the streets of cities like New York, Los Angeles, Austin and Seattle. A violent protest continued throughout the nation for nine nights.
Several statues and public properties were damaged during the movement. Mahatma Gandhi’s statue in the capital of America Washington DC was defaced using spray painting by the activists on 2nd of June 2020. A statue of Christopher Columbus who discovered America was also taken down and burned during the campaign. Protestors reignited the anti-racism movement and demanded to remove the statue of British imperialist Cecil Rhodes from an Oxford University. Several other statues were also destroyed. The movement flooded out of the country and reached other nations like France, Germany, Italy, UK, England and reshaped as a global movement. Thousands of people rallied in these countries against the brutal American police and racism.
In the next section we will try to investigate the authenticity of the claims of revolutionaries. We will also check the demographics of the Black population of the USA to understand their social situation.
4. Info by Analysis
In this part population data of the United States is analyzed to reveal some important facts about the African-American Community.
4.1 Diversity of the U.S Population
According to the 2018 Census, the total population of the United States was 327,167,439. The second largest race of the country is Afro-American. They contribute around 14% population of the USA.
Moreover this Black population isn’t uniformly distributed in the country. Following map shows the concentration of the Black Population in America. One can see that the areas like District of Columbia and Texas have higher concentration of the Black people. Higher concentration of like minded people in a small area may be considered as an important factor in strengthening the movement.
4.2 Poverty Rate of Population
Poverty rate of a location reveals the plight of people in that place. So, in this section the poverty rate for various ethnicities of the United States has been presented.
The Given bar graph for the poverty rate shows that the communities with the most poverty rate are American Indian/Alaska Native and the Black population.
Besides these The Data Tribune has found a slightly positive correlation between the Black Population and Gross State Production across various states. This can be seen in the following graph:
Interestingly, a positive correlation between the black population and number of homeless people is also visible.
After combining the result from the previous graph, it can clearly be concluded that – on one hand, the black population plays a significant role in the GSP of the state, still a large percentage of them remains homeless.
In this article, we have walked through the story of Black Power Movement. We have also seen that a large portion of black population is deprived of home and lives under poverty. It is observed that African-Americans are those people who are oppressed by biased and brutal law and order. Their dam of patience is broken down and one word describing their pain is, “black lives matter”. After this study, we have been taught that every life matters, equally. The most human view is that everyone is born with the same human rights and that must be respected.