The 1960’s – From Civil Rights to Black Power

 

 

 

 The March on Washington – Highpoint of the Civil Rights Movement

1960s March on Washington

Movements are like the ocean, with waves of high activity and periods of relative calm. The 1960's, like the 1920's before it, represented a wave of high activity in the African American political movement. Most think of the 60’s as the most turbulent period in American history. Some call it the unfinished Black Revolution. In many respects, it was like the Civil War, all over again. African Americans fought for their freedom during the Civil War. At the end of that fight, they got – Reconstruction. However, Post Reconstruction brought about Jim Crow, or American Apartheid – separate, but "equal". Jim Crow was ended by the Civil Rights Movement which reached its plateau in the 1960’s. At the heart of the Southern based Civil Rights Movement was the struggle for public accommodations and Voting Rights.

Edmund Petus Bridge

The 1960's movement was not monolithic. The Southern movement was primarily based in the Black Christian church, at the center of which was Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC).  However, another parallel movement developed in the 1960's in the North. That movement was largely Islamic led, most notably by Malcolm X and the Nation of Islam..malcolm1

The movement in the South believed in non-violence, while the Northern movement practiced unarmed self-defense.  As these two movements converged, a third trend began to develop espousing the concept of armed self-defense.  This third trend was most notably personified by Huey P. Newton, Bobby Seale, and the Black Panther Party. BPP

The shift from Civil Rights to Black Power

By the end of the 1960's,  the African American political mass movement  had evolved from Civil Rights to Black Power. Key organizations which emerged and played a significant role in aspects of the 1960's movements were:  The Montgomery Improvement Association (MIA), the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), The Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), the Revolutionary Action Movement (RAM), the Black Panther Party (BPP).

The young activists of RAM, who had persuaded Malcolm X and Robert F. Williams (in exile in Cuba and China) to become their leaders, had  infiltrated both the Civil Rights Movement and Student Movement with their fusion of scientific socialism and Black Nationalism to give birth to the philosophy or ideology of Revolutionary Black Nationalism.

"Before the end of 1964, several SNCC delegations had met with Malcolm. Interrelated was the networking of the Revolutionary Action Movement with third world revolutionaries, civil rights organizations, and other nationalists and the OAAU. The RAM sponsored the direct action Afro-American Student Movement conference on black nationalism May 1, 1964, which was the pivotal point for the student movement. …The convening of the….conference on black nationalism was the ideological catalyst that eventually shifted the civil rights movement into the Black Power Movement”  Muhammad Ahmad (Max Stanford)

http://www.blackpolitics.org/malcolm-x-and-revolutionary-black-nationalism-in-america/

Through its COINTELPRO or Counter Intelligence Program, COINTELPROthe FBI had encouraged tensions between these Revolutionary Black Nationalists, led by leaders like Max Stanford (Muhammad Ahmad), H. Rap Brown and others, and the Cultural Nationalists, led by Dr. Maulana Ron Karenga and his organization, US. Evidence uncovered later would reveal FBI and secret police roles in the destruction of Black political organizations from that period and, many believe,  the assassination of their leaders. 

assassination-of-fred-hampton

Twenty-two year old Fred Hampton, the dynamic and charismatic leader of the Illinois Chapter of the Black Panther Party, and over 30 Black Panther leaders and activists were murdered. Dozens more were incarcerated for decades and others forced to flee the country in exile.

Among the prominent political prisoners or so-called US prisoners of war for that period were Elmer Geronimo Pratt (California Panther Party Leader)  and Richard Dhoruba Moore (New York Black Panther Party Chairman).

Dhoruba Moore    Dhoruba Moore

Geronimo Pratt

                    Geronimo Pratt (left) and his lawyer, Johnnie Cochran

Mystery and intrigue still surround the assassinations of the most prominent political leaders of the 1960's, most notably Malcolm X and Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., both of whom were COINTELPRO targets. While many questions remain, there are some known facts. Transcripts of official FBI COINTELPRO documents were obtained under the Freedom of Information Act.  These documents show that the March 4, 1968  COINTELPRO communique was sent out by J. Edgar Hoover himself just one month before the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr.

mlk-arrested-booking-19581

The communique specifically identified Elijah Muhammad and the Nation of Islam as primary targets of COINTELPRO, as well as Dr. King and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.  Other released FBI documents show the Bureau had agents within Malcolm X's Muslim Mosque, Inc. and in the very room when he was assassinated. One of those agents actually administered mouth-to-mouth resuscitation to Malcolm X as he was dying.

 The U.S. Senate's investigation of COINTELPRO uncovered a series of letters forged in the name of an intermediary between the Black Panther Party's national office and Panther leader Eldridge Cleaver,Elridge Cleaver in exile in Algeria. The letters proved instrumental in inflaming intra-party rivalries that erupted into a nasty public split that basically destroyed the Party in the winter of 1971. That split led to East Coast and West Coast factions of the Black Panther Party. The leaders of the East coast faction went underground  and, it is believed,  gave birth to the Black Liberation Army or B.L.A.

New organizations emerged as the sixties transitioned in the 1970's. Many elements from the 1960s converged in Washington DC in 1974 to found African Liberation Day (ALD) and the African Liberation Support Committee (ALSC). RAM and elements of the Black Panther Party gave birth to the African Peoples Party (APP). One of SNCC's most prominent and vocal leaders, Stokely Carmichael, changed his name to Kwame Ture and founded the All African Peoples Revolutionary Party. The AAPRP advocated a philosophy very similar to that of Marcus Garvey. Another organization, the African People's Socialist Party also emerged. And, in many large cities Cultural Nationalists organizations emerged, many (like The East, in Brooklyn NY) practicing Kwanzaa and other principles advocated by Dr. Maulana Ron Karenga. Serious students of African American political history should dig further to understand the major forces which caused the mass Black political movement of the 1960's to subside or disintegrate. The resources on this page will help you do so.

References on Civil Rights and Black Power Movements:

Congress of Racial Equality (CORE)

Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), Next entry … CORE supported southern blacks during the sit-in movement of 1960; CORE field secretaries traveled through …

Sit-in – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A sit-in or sit-down is a form of direct action that involves one or more people … Durham, North Carolina sit-in; 2.4 1958 Wichita and Oklahoma City sit-ins; 2.5 1960 … Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) conducted sit-ins as early as the 1940s.

Negro Sitdowns Stir Fear Of Wider Unrest in South

Students of race relations in the area contended that the movement reflected … then written to the New York headquarters of the Congress of Racial Equality, …

 

Fannie Lou Hamer – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

In the summer of 1964, the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party, or "Freedom …

Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party – Wikipedia, the free …

The Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party (MFDP) was an American political … The Founding Party members were: Fannie Lou Hamer, Ella Baker, and Robert …

Fannie Lou Hamer was a civil rights activist who helped African Americans register to vote and who co-founded the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party.

 Fannie Lou Hamer – Encyclopaedia Britannica

Fannie Lou Hamer, née Townsend (born Oct. 6, 1917, Ruleville, Miss., U.S.— died … vice-chairperson of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party (MFDP), …

Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee – Wikipedia, the free …

SNCC grew into a large organization with many supporters in the North who helped raise funds to support SNCC's work in the South, allowing … —Julian Bond … Stokely Carmichael and H. "Rap" Brown were chairmen in the late 1960s .

Although Martin Luther King, Jr. and others had hoped that SNCC would … Nevertheless, after the Selma to Montgomery March, Stokely Carmichael and other SNCC … The election in June 1967 of H. ''Rap'' Brown as SNCC's new chair was meant to reduce the controversy surrounding the group. … Bond, Julian ( 1940- ).

… Stokely Carmichael, Bob Moses, Bob Zellner, Julian Bond, Marion Barry, John … Fanning out over the Jim Crow South, SNCC organized sit-ins, voter … Some, like Stokely Carmichael and H. Rap Brown, became bitter and disillusioned.

Stokely Carmichael – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Stokely Carmichael, also known as Kwame Ture (June 29, 1941 ….. Bill Ware engaged in a voter drive to promote the candidacy of Julian Bond for the Georgia State …. stepped down as chairman of SNCC and was replaced by H. Rap Brown .

Soledad Brother: The Prison Letters of George Jackson – Amazon.com

Soledad Brother: The Prison Letters of George Jackson [George Jackson, Jean Genet, Jonathan Jackson Jr.] on Amazon.com. *FREE* shipping on qualifying …

Police kill two members of the Black Panther Party — History.com …

Hampton became involved in the civil rights struggle at a very early age: At 15, … and he became chairman of the Illinois Black Panther Party when he was 20.

This Far by Faith . 1946-1966: from CIVIL RIGHTS to BLACK POWER

1946-1966: from CIVIL RIGHTS to BLACK POWER 1967-TODAY: from CRISIS, … and giving young blacks a stronger voice in the civil rights movement.

 Rethinking the Black Power Movement

Rethinking the Black Power Movement. Komozi Woodard – Sarah Lawrence College. Speaking for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) in  …

 Black Power – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

[edit]. Main article: Black Arts Movement. The Black Arts Movement or BAM, founded in Harlem by writer and …

SNCC-Issues: Black Power – Ibiblio

Black Power was the guiding philosophy of SNCC in its later years. … The Black Power movement was controversial because it was considered anti-white.

SNCC: Basis of Black Power

Thus the white people coming into the movement cannot relate to the black … whites, because of their knowledge of the power that whites have over their lives.

New Day in Babylon: The Black Power Movement and American …

The most comprehensive account available of the rise and fall of the Black Power Movement and of its dramatic transformation of both African-American and …

 Civil Rights Movement: "Black Power" Era – Shmoop

Civil Rights Movement: "Black Power" Era Learning Guide. Civil Rights Movement: "Black Power" Era analysis by PhD students from Stanford, Harvard, …

Black Power – Martin Luther King, Jr., Research and Education Institute

Although African American writers and politicians used the term ''Black Power'' for years, the expression first entered the lexicon of the civil rights movement …

Amiri Baraka "Somebody Blew Up America"
"Somebody Blew Up America" by Amiri Baraka with Rob Brown-saxophone, recorded live on February 21, 2009 at The Sanctuary for Independent Media in Troy NY. Th…

Congress of Afrikan People
Thought), led by Amiri Baraka, which merged into the League of Revolutionary Struggle (Marxist-Leninist). When this group split, some ofthe members went

Malcolm X
(1999). A Nation Within a Nation: Amiri Baraka (LeRoi Jones) & Black Power Politics. Chapel Hill, N.C.: University of North Carolina Press. p. 62. ISBN 978-0-8078-4761-9

Amiri Baraka and the Congress of African People: History and …
http://www.amazon.com/Amiri-Baraka-Congress-African-People/dp/0230112153
Amiri Baraka and the Congress of African People: History and Memory (Contemporary Black History) [Michael Simanga] on Amazon.com. *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers …

Congress of Afrikan People – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Congress_of_African_people
It later became the Revolutionary Communist League (Marxist-Leninist-Mao Tse-tung Thought), led by Amiri Baraka, … Congress of African peoples (Sacramento)

League of Revolutionary Black Workers – Wikipedia, the free …
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/League_of_Revolutionary_Black_Workers
The League of Revolutionary Black Workers (LRBW) formed in 1969 in Detroit, Michigan. The League united a number of different Revolutionary Union …

The League Of Revolutionary Black Workers – A Historical Study

http://www.historyisaweapon.com/defcon1/rbwstudy.html
To approach a study of the League of Revolutionary Black Workers, an independent Black radical workers' formation in Detroit, as a consequence of the Black …

ISR issue 22 | Revolutionary struggles of Black workers in the 1960s

http://isreview.org/issues/22/black_workers.shtml
I began to attend various events, and over time I met many of the individuals who would eventually create the League of Revolutionary Black Workers.

 

 

COINTELPRO – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A companion website to the feature film on the founder of the Black Panther party. … Hampton, leader of the Chicago Chapter of the Black Panther Party in 1969.

A Huey P. Newton Story – Actions – COINTELPRO | PBS

IN BLACK AND WHITE: THE F.B.I. PAPERS Following are transcripts of … Note: in the originally released documents, most of the names of COINTELPRO targets … of black nationalist hate-type organizations and groupings, their leadership, …

 Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)

Under the FBI's domestic counterintelligence program (COINTELPRO) King … Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) offices in October 1963. … In August 1967, the FBI created a COINTELPRO against ''Black Nationalist–Hate Groups,'' … King was identified as a target because the FBI believed that he could  …

COINTELPRO is an acronym for the FBI's Counter Intelligence … and the American Indian Movement were among the program's targets. … Today marks the 45th anniversary of the death of Black Panther leader Fred Hampton. … The FBI has added the former Black Panther Assata Shakur to its Most Wanted …

Black Panther Party – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The program was also accused of using assassination against Black Panther members. … In-fighting among Party leadership led to expulsions and defections that …. in an emergent black nationalist tradition inspired by Malcolm X and others. …. Martin Luther King, Jr., Stokely Carmichael, H. Rap Brown, Maxwell Stanford …

Revolutionary Action Movement : The International …
http://www.blackwellreference.com/public/uid=73/tocnode?id=g9781405184649_chunk_g97814051846491263
Extract. Disgruntled by the ineffectiveness of the peaceful strategy of the early civil rights movement , black college students formed the Revolutionary Action
 

From black power to the assassination of Martin Luther King … by the then recently assassinated black nationalist Malcolm X spawned an increasing … as the Black Panther Party, whose leaders argued that civil rights reforms were insufficient … Martin Luther King, Jr. (centre), with other civil rights supporters at the March on …

The Black power movement : Part 3 Papers of the Revolutionary
https://catalyst.library.jhu.edu/catalog/bib_2655308
Revolutionary Action Movement — History — Sources. Black power — United States — History — Sources. Black nationalism — United …
 
Max Stanford – The Malcolm X Project at Columbia University
http://www.columbia.edu/cu/ccbh/mxp/stanford.html
Max Stanford. The Revolutionary Action Movement (RAM) was the only secular political organization that Malcolm X joined before his fateful trip to Mecca in 1964.
 
Award-winning documentary, COINTELPRO 101, will be …
https://www2.adams.edu/
Persons featured in COINTELPRO 101 include, Muhammad Ahmad (Max Stanford), founder of the Revolutionary Action Movement and professor at Temple University; Bob Boyle, attorney representing many activists and …
 
We Will Shoot Back: Armed Resistance in the Mississippi Freedom Movement
Akinyele Omowale Umoja, published 2013, 351 pages
 
Stanford, Maxwell Curtis, Jr. (aka Muhammad Ahmad, 1941 …
http://www.blackpast.org/aah/stanford-max-1941-and-revolutionary-action-movement-ram-1962-1968
Maxwell Curtis Stanford, Jr., known since 1970 as Muhammad Ahmad, is a civil rights activist and was a founder of the Revolutionary Action Movement (RAM), a black …
 
Black Nationalism and the Revolutionary Action Movement: The …
http://www.gale.cengage.com/pdf/facts/BlackNationalism.pdf
Black Nationalism and the Revolutionary Action Movement: The Papers of Muhammad Ahmad (Max Stanford) © 2011. Gale, Cengage Learning is a registered trademark used …
 
Black Like Mao: Red China & Black Revolution, Part 2 …
http://kasamaproject.org/
… spring 1962 and form the Revolutionary Action Committee (originally called the "Reform" Action Movement so as not to scare the administration), with its primary leaders being Freeman, Max Stanford, and Wanda Marshall.

 Malcolm X – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Malcolm X (/ˈmælkəm ˈɛks/; May 19, 1925 – February 21, 1965), born Malcolm … accident, though Louise believed Earl had been murdered by the Black Legion . … New Black Panther Party · United Nation of Islam · Your Black Muslim Bakery …. He labeled Martin Luther King, Jr. a "chump" and other civil rights leaders …

 

 Black Panthers – UC Berkeley Library – University of California …

Two years after the assassination of Malcolm X, armed BPP members are …. Martin Luther King is assassinated in Memphis, TN …. Panther Raymond Johnson Jr. forces a National Airlines jet to Havana as it was flying from New Orleans to Miami. … Bunchy Carter and John Huggins, leaders of the Southern California BPP …

The Black Freedom Movement, like other historical moments, events and … With the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1968, the movement … the civil rights movement, using King and other national, male leaders as the defining figures. …. biography of Malcolm X and multimedia research aids to accompany study of …

 Black against Empire: The History and Politics of the Black Panther …

Unlike the Civil Rights Movement that called for full citizenship rights for blacks within the U.S., the Black Panther Party rejected the legitimacy of the U.S. …

 Black Panther Party | American organization | Encyclopedia Britannica

13 Jul 2014 … Black Panther Party, original name Black Panther Party for Self-Defense … Despite passage of the 1960s civil rights legislation that followed the …

 

He also wrote many letters to friends and supporters which would later be edited and compiled into the books "Soledad Brother" and "Blood in My Eye," …

 

African American World . Timeline | PBS

For the first time since Reconstruction, the federal government uses the military to uphold African Americans' civil rights, as soldiers escort nine African American …

 Civil Rights Timeline – Infoplease

Key moments in the civil rights movement, including Supreme Court cases, legislation and more.

 

Civil Rights Movement in Kentucky

The Kentucky Oral History Commission, a program of the Kentucky Historical Society, presents this online guide to the Civil Rights Movement in Kentucky Oral  …

Civil Rights Movement | Black History & Culture | PBS

Be inspired by the events and people that influenced the African American Civil Rights Movement with this special collection from PBS.

Women and the Civil Rights Movement – Coursera

Women and the Civil Rights Movement is a free online class taught by Dr. Elsa Barkley Brown of University of Maryland, College Park.

Songs and the Civil Rights Movement

Music and singing played a critical role in inspiring, mobilizing, and giving voice to the civil rights movement. ''The freedom songs are playing a strong and vital …