Black Power Ideologies

Black Power Ideologies: An Essay in African American Political Thought

Copyright Date: 1992
Published by: Temple University Press
Pages: 248
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  • Book Info
    Black Power Ideologies
    Book Description:

    In a systematic survey of the manifestations and meaning of Black Power in America, John McCartney analyzes the ideology of the Black Power Movement in the 1960s and places it in the context of both African-American and Western political thought. He demonstrates, though an exploration of historic antecedents, how the Black Power versus black mainstream competition of the sixties was not unique in American history. Tracing the evolution of black social and political movements from the 18th century to the present, the author focuses on the ideas and actions of the leaders of each major approach.

    Starting with the colonization efforts of the Pan-Negro Nationalist movement in the 18th century, McCartney contrasts the work of Bishop Turner with the opposing integrationist views of Frederick Douglass and his followers. McCartney examines the politics of accommodation espoused by Booker T. Washington; W.E.B. Du Bois's opposition to this apolitical stance; the formation of the NAACP, the Urban League, and other integrationist organizations; and Marcus Garvey's reawakening of the separatist ideal in the early 20th century. Focusing on the intense legal activity of the NAACP from the 1930s to the 1960s, McCartney gives extensive treatment to the moral and political leadership of Martin Luther King, Jr., and his challenge from the Black Power Movement in 1966.

    eISBN: 978-1-4399-0377-3
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-viii)
  3. Preface
    (pp. ix-xii)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xiii-xvi)
  5. I The Background to Black Power
    (pp. 1-14)

    The Black Power Movement of the 1960s in the United States was seen by most of its advocates as the latest in a series of efforts to correct the injustices that existed in almost every dimension of life between black and white Americans. To understand the Black Power Movement fully and to appreciate its suggestions for solving these injustices, it is necessary to give a brief overview of the injustices and describe the attempts to correct them previous to the Black Power Movement itself.

    Swedish sociologist Gunnar Myrdal in his 1940s workAn American Dilemmacarried out a comprehensive study...

  6. II Black Nationalist Thought in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries
    (pp. 15-31)

    The first movement that had as its purpose the eradication of injustices toward African-Americans was a movement that in contemporary language would be classified as Black Nationalist and Separatist. This was the Colonization Movement. In this chapter the Colonization Movement, or Pan-Negro Nationalist Movement, as the historian Hollis Lynch terms it, will be considered from the following perspectives. First, a profile of the movement will be presented, which will include a survey of its origins, its subsequent development, and its successes and failures. Second, the movement’s ideology will be described. Third, a brief review of some of the tactics used...

  7. III The Abolitionist Movement
    (pp. 32-53)

    The historical record shows that from the beginning of the African American presence in the United States, African-Americans and whites were calling for their integration into American society. This chapter will deal with the pre–Civil War movement centered on this theme, the Abolitionist Movement. In order to put the Abolitionist Movement in its proper context, the following format will be followed. First, a profile of the movement describing the major permutations and changes that it underwent will be given. Second, the Abolitionist ideology will be discussed. Third, a description of the life and thought of Frederick Douglass, perhaps the...

  8. IV The Politics of Accommodation
    (pp. 54-73)

    By the 1880s most African-Americans, the majority of whom lived in the South, had for all practical purposes been driven out of political life. Into this cheerless black world stepped an optimistic ex-slave named Booker T. Washington (1856–1915), whose message of hope called the “Politics of Accommodation” would capture the imagination of both blacks and whites for nearly thirty years.

    The power of Washington’s Accommodationist ideology within the black community, especially between 1895 and 1915, can be illustrated in many ways. Martin Duberman, in his book Paul Robeson, a well-written but controversial biography of the famous African-American artist and...

  9. V Marcus Garvey and the Resurgence of Black Nationalism
    (pp. 74-90)

    After the decline of the Politics of Accommodation, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the Urban League, and later the African-American union organization the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters were the major organizations committed to fighting for integration. The interracial NAACP was founded in 1910, after a white socialist, William English Walling, saw a race riot in Springfield, Illinois, in 1908. Most of the members of the Niagara Movement joined the new organization, although William Monroe Trotter declined because he was “suspicious of the motives of white people.”¹ The NAACP was made up of a “distinguished...

  10. VI Martin Luther King and Moralism
    (pp. 91-110)

    After the decline of the Garvey Movement, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), with its integrationist philosophy, continued to be the major organ of protest within the black community. The period between 1915 and 1955 is generally considered the most influential of the NAACP’s years, and its contributions can best be understood by examining the major strategies it used to advance African-American rights during those forty years. Its first strategy, employed between 1915 and 1948, was to increase African-American voting power by using the courts to strike down discriminatory laws preventing African-Americans from exercising the franchise....

  11. VII What Is Black Power?
    (pp. 111-132)

    The termBlack Powerhas a range of related but distinct meanings. Because of this it is impossible to find anyone summary definition that encapsulates the essence of the movement as a whole.¹ To seek the latter would at best yield a lowest common denominator of the Black Power ideologies, which if done well would describe that which is common to them, but at the same time such a definition would be so schematic that the unique value of each expression of Black Power would be lost. Instead of attempting to arrive at a summary definition of the Black Power...

  12. VIII The Counter-Communalists: A Comparison and Analysis
    (pp. 133-150)

    The Counter-Communalists are those proponents of Black Power who do not advocate a separate state for blacks but who argue that progressive change must come for the majority of the American people of all colors when the present system is restructured along more democratic lines. (As previously noted, for Counter-Communalists more “democratic” usually means more· “socialist.”) In the 1960s, certainly the most visible, if not the most articulate, advocate of Counter-Communalism was Huey P Newton, the leader of the Black Panther Party. Thus, to capture the essence of Counter-Communalism, we will compare the ideas and tactics of Newton with those...

  13. IX The Black Power Pluralists: A Comparison and Analysis
    (pp. 151-165)

    The Pluralists are those advocates of Black Power who argue that power in the United States is divided along interest and ethnic group lines, and the inability of African-Americans to obtain their requisite portion of economic and political power steins from their failure to mobilize themselves into an effective “ethnic-interest group” that stresses collective success over individual achievement. The Pluralist version of Black Power is designed to correct this deficiency. It should be noted that unlike the Counter-Communalists or Separatists, who argue that liberation cannot be achieved within the American system, the Pluralists believe that by working within the system...

  14. X The Black Power Separatists: A Comparison and Analysis
    (pp. 166-180)

    The Black Power Separatists are those advocates of Black Power who, like the Counter-Communalists, disvalue the American system of values, interests, and beliefs, but who insist that liberation for blacks can come only in a separate state. In this regard, Black Power Separatism can be described as a 1960s version of Garveyism, although as will become apparent, most of its manifestations lack the back-to-Africa goal that typified the Garvey Movement. Because the Nation of Islam was the largest and oldest Black Power organization of the 1960s calling for separation, and because it was directed from the 1930s by one man,...

  15. XI A Critical Assessment of the Black Power Ideologies
    (pp. 181-190)

    The preceding chapters have described various Black Power ideologies, their antecedents, and their competitors and made comparisons among them. This concluding chapter presents a critical assessment of the Black Power ideologies and considers their permanent contributions to American society.

    A frequent criticism that has been made of the Black Power ideologies, and a criticism having some merit, is that they are contradictory and vague. For example, the Counter-Communalists, especially the Black Panther version of the approach, see blacks as the vanguard for the transformation of America as a whole and insist that black gains can be made permanent only if...

  16. Notes
    (pp. 191-226)
  17. Bibliography
    (pp. 227-240)
  18. Index
    (pp. 241-248)