What did the phrases "Black Power" and "Black is Beautiful" mean to black people in 1960? What did they mean to some white people?

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Sadly, many white people in the 1960s were extremely racist and were not in favor of giving black people equal rights. This can be seen in the resistance Martin Luther King Jr. faced in his attempts to bring equality. Peaceful resistance, such as the Selma to Montgomery marches, was met with much criticism, hatred and racial abuse.

Stokely Carmichael played an important role in the Civil Rights Movement. He was inspired by Malcolm X, which is why “Black Power” was very important to him. “Black Power” was the political slogan used in the 1960s by black people in order to demand more power and equality. Having been oppressed for such a long time, black people felt very strongly about wanting be treated equally to white people. However, the philosophy of “Black Power” goes a bit further, as it demands equality and self-determination. This dual meaning led to vicious animosity from some white people, as “Black Power” at its most extreme could be seen as a different version of segregation, where suddenly black people are discriminating against white people. In fact, even black people felt this philosophy was taking things too far, which is why many supported Martin Luther King’s less extreme approach instead.

“Black is Beautiful” was a movement that aimed to unite all black people in the claim that being black was nothing to be ashamed of. In the past, being black was often associated with being ugly, and being white was considered to be beautiful. “Black is Beautiful” encouraged black people to be proud of their heritage and appearance. It lead to increased self-confidence amongst black people. However, during the 1960s, many white people still kept referring to black people in derogatory terms and made fun of their physical appearance, which showed that to many white people, the “Black is Beautiful” movement meant nothing. However, particularly in the latter half of the 1960s, there was a growing number of white people who agreed with the ideas behind “Black is Beautiful”, who agreed that racial segregation is morally wrong and who supported the Civil Rights Movement.

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