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Definition: Black Power from Brewer's Dictionary of Modern Phrase and Fable

An emotive concept originating among certain sections of black opinion in the United States since 1966, whose advocates aim at redressing racial injustice by militant black nationalism that allows for violence and race war. See also Nation of Islam.

Summary Article: Black Power
From The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia with Atlas and Weather Guide

Movement towards black separatism in the USA during the 1960s, embodied in the Black Panther Party founded in 1966 by Huey Newton and Bobby Seale. Its declared aim was the creation of a separate black state in the USA to be established by a black plebiscite under the aegis of the United Nations. Following a National Black Political Convention in 1972, a National Black Assembly was established to exercise pressure on the Democratic and Republican parties.

The Black Power concept arose when existing civil-rights organizations, such as the National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People (NAACP) and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, were perceived to be ineffective in producing significant change in the status of black people. Stokely Carmichael then advocated the exploitation of political and economic power and abandonment of nonviolence, with a move towards the type of separatism first developed by the Black Muslims. Such leaders as Martin Luther King rejected this approach, but the Black Panther Party (so named because the panther, though not generally aggressive, will fight to the death under attack) adopted it fully and, for a time, achieved nationwide influence.

The Black Panthers tried to involve and care for the black community with health clinics, free breakfasts for poor children, and classes in political education. The movement disintegrated when targeted by Federal Bureau of Investigations undercover operations. These included a disinformation campaign and arrests of activists on false charges.


Abernathy, Ralph: Introductory Remarks, Congress of African Peoples

Carmichael, Stokely: Black Power

Malcolm X: The Ballot or the Bullet

Malcolm X: Address to Mississippi Youth

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