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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