In the 1970s, there was a wider diversity of movements that followed some of the victories from the 1960s. In your initial post, identify and describe a particular movement or challenge from the...
In the 1970s, there was a wider diversity of movements that followed some of the victories from the 1960s. In your initial post, identify and describe a particular movement or challenge from the 1970s. How did this movement differ from the movement in the early to mid-1960s? What new challenges did they face? How did their tactics differ? What victories did they achieve?
The Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s was largely aimed at exposing the injustices African-Americans faced in society, while the social justice movements of the 1970s concentrated on agitating for political and economic rights for African-Americans. In the 1960s, sit-ins and other forms of non-violent protests largely held sway within the Civil Rights Movement.
In the 1970s, the Black Power Movement fought against discriminatory actions in the housing, employment, and academic industries. Groups connected to the Black Power Movement joined in lawsuits with other oppressed groups to effect changes in employment practices. These groups managed to bring about the introduction of ethnic studies programs or African-American Studies programs on college campuses as well as affirmative action programs to protect the rights of minority applicants in employment, military service, and the college admissions process.
The Congressional Black Caucus was created by Shirley Chisholm in 1969 to galvanize the voices of new African-American legislators on behalf of their minority constituents. It continued to grow in scope and power in the 1970s.
Now, although the demonstrations of the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s were largely peaceful, the 1970s ushered in a new, radical approach towards the civil rights struggle. Groups associated with the Black Power Movement such as the Black Panthers agitated for violence to end racism as they saw it. Members of the Black Power Movement strongly felt that the traditional Civil Rights Movement produced minimal results and at too slow a pace.
They wanted to see immediate changes, namely full employment, free health-care, and adequate educational opportunities for African-Americans as well as an end to what they termed police brutality in their communities. To that end, members of the Black Panthers formed neighborhood patrols to monitor police activity in their neighborhoods and to fight back against what they saw as police encroachment into their territories. The Black Power Movement favored the use of violence, while the traditional Civil Rights Movement favored non-violent means to secure the rights of African-Americans.
Even though the Black Power Movement agitated for and won many rights for African-Americans, it faced many challenges. Irrespective of new laws, every industry that employed African-Americans organically developed its own variant of occupational segregation; frustrated that their concerns were largely ignored in the process of integration, white Americans fought back indirectly by ostracizing or ignoring African-American colleagues. In the schools, black children were largely underserved and their potential for achievement disregarded. This led to many entering the working world unprepared to navigate a newly automated and industrialized workplace.
For the Black Panthers themselves, internal divisions and external attacks eventually led to its demise as a worthy political force. For more information, please refer to the links below.
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The feminist movement of the 1960s was dominated by white women. Betty Friedan's The Feminine Mystique, written in 1963, is often credited with initiating this movement. The Feminine Mystique documented the toll that having nothing meaningful to do had on well-to-do white housewives. It had little connection with the reality of most black women's lives. Friedan founded the National Organization of Woman in 1966 and was its president for its first four years.
In 1973, a group of black feminists founded the National Black Feminist Organization, a group which did not feel that the 1960s feminist movement or the 1960s civil rights movement met their needs. They reacted against the main feminist organizations, such as NOW, for being run by white women who were often, whether consciously or not, racist and discriminatory against black women. They also felt uncomfortable in the male-dominated civil rights movement, which they argued devalued women.They began to examine and articulate the intersectionalities between race, class, and sex. They also provided a home to lesbian feminists who also felt uncomfortable in mainstream feminist organizations.
As with many movements of the 1970s, black feminism (what would become womanism in the 1980s) sought to bring nuance to the generalized discontent with the social order expressed in the 1960s. In the case of black feminism, the goal was to foreground the particular needs of black and lesbian feminists. They faced the challenge of finding a place and a voice within the larger feminist movement, but their most pressing challenge was deciding on what the political goals of black feminists should be. The National Black Feminist Organization held conferences but eventually disbanded to be replaced by the National Alliance of Black Feminists. This group became more successful, worked for full equality for black women, and represented a victory for black feminism.
Black feminism's main victory, however, was to begin to popularize the idea that gender, race, and class were intertwined issues.