Essay on Factors Leading to the Demobilization of the Black Power Movement

Essay on Factors Leading to the Demobilization of the Black Power Movement

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Mayor Richard Hatcher of Gary, Indiana proclaimed “[the] ‘70’s will be the decade of an independent black political thrust” during the Black Political Convention of 1972 (Carson, et al. 1991, 492). This thrust would inevitably come forms of social, political, and economic changes that invariably relied less on Black Power rhetoric and more on inclusionary opportunities for blacks in majority White American spheres. Undoubtedly, many factors led to the demobilization of the Civil Rights Movement and Black Power, however, three reasons relating to black leadership and three relating to the national climate prove most influential. Black leadership changes involved older leaders capitulating to racism, the persecution of Black Freedom leaders, and the emergence of Black Elected Officials as a sign of increased political incorporation. As for the national climate, this country witnessed a resurgence of white supremacy groups, the emergence of a Black middle class, and the election of Richard Nixon, who brought his Law and Order rhetoric to the Oval Office.
Prior to the transformative decade of 1970, African Americans involved in certain industries continued to find their chances of upward mobility and corporate inclusivity challenged by the unrelenting racism of labor unions. In one instance, no black leaders operated in an officer’s position in the steelworkers’ union, leading many to understand that white power structures were not an effective way of moving through the channels of union representation (Marable 2007, 113). The racism trade unions surprisingly led to members of the Old Guard of the Civil Rights movement placing the blame on blacks for their lack of involvement, especially as Bayard Rustin declared, “blacks themselves ...


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...nges throughout the national climate demonstrated the many problems facing the newest generation of Black Freedom fighters, especially as numerous forces worked against their efforts to establish cohesive national presence.



Works Cited

Carson, Clayborne, David J. Garrow, Gerald Gill, Vincent Harding, and Darlene Clark Hines. 1991. The Eyes on the Prize: Civil Rights Reader : Documents, Speeches, and Firsthand Accounts from the Black Freedom Struggle 1954-1990. New York City, New York: Penguin Books.
Marable, Manning. 2007. Race, Reform, and Rebellion: the second Reconstruction and beyond in Black America. Third. Jackson, Mississippi: University Press of Mississippi.
Eyes on the Prize. 1990. Power to the People. Episode Number 14. Directed by Louis Massiah
and Terry Kay Rockefeller. Written by Louis Massiah and Terry Kay Rockefeller. Narrated by Julian Bond. PBS

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