The Black Nationalism was a political and social movement that gained immense popularity, especially in the early 1960s and 70s. Black Nationalism is traceable from the era of Marcus Garvey’s Universal Negro Improvement Association during the 1920s. The movement had an objective to attain economic power to the blacks, and at the same time induce a sense of community, love, and togetherness among the black community. Most supporters of the Black Nationalism assumed the ultimate establishment of a separate black nation made up of the African Americans.1 On the other hand, others believed that the Black Nationalism movement would establish the assimilation of the black community to the American nation that was mainly dominated by the whites. However, the black people ensured that they maintained and encouraged their discrete identity as persons with black ancestry. The Black Nationalism has popular slogans like black is beautiful and black power that helped to instill a sense of pride in the midst of blacks.
The Black Nationalism movement was established to overcome the negative social forces evident in both the pre and post-slave society. The American history narrates how the Black Nationalism seeks numerous approaches that would enhance their potential by realizing opportunities for intellectual, political, economic, autonomy, and self-determination. The movement ensured that blacks fought for recognition and inclusion as American citizens and also advocated for their independence. The blacks protested against slavery, racial discrimination, and loss of employment, inequality, and injustice. The movement inspired a collective action of blacks grounded on heritage and shared concerns. Without Black Nationalism, it could have proved difficult to reduce the high levels of societal racism in the United States. The issue of Black Nationalism emerged after the black community was subjected to social, political, and economic oppression throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries.
The African American advocates hoped that they would install self-determination in the black community. As a matter of fact, the movement argued that there is no way any democratic society would promote slavery and forced labor. The formation of the Black Nationalism helped the Africans Americans to fight for their rights and this brought an end to the political, cultural, and social domination of the whites across America. The blacks believed that the foreign rule was meant to undermine their stay in the U.S. and without advocating for equality, they will be faced with numerous hurdles in their daily encounters as the whites were ruthless and inconsiderate. The Black Nationalism exemplified the aspiration to unite traditionally disunited black community and succeeded to unite them politically so as they could fight for their rights.2 All people with African origin came together and had one voice in airing their grievances.
The Black Nationalism gave rise to the Black Power Movements such as the Black Panther Party, the Revolutionary Action Movement, the US organization, the National Welfare Rights Organization amongst others. The nationalism movement was centered on cultural and political formations so as to galvanize millions of black individuals to advocate for equality and fairness. The movement fought for recognition so as they could end racism and reduce the high rates of poverty in the black population.3 During Black Nationalism movement, ghetto uprisings, prison rebellions, and campus unrest ensured that the administration adjusted their tough stance and recognize the rights of the blacks. The Black Power Organizations formed also enhanced leadership among blacks. Without the black revolt, it could have become difficult to reduce the high rates of discrimination and inequalities observed until the 1960s. The Black Nationalism led to the amendment of the U.S. constitution so as it could accommodate for equal rights to all people in America including the blacks. The black could now access education, improved health care, employment, and the right to life. Also, forced labor was prohibited and this ended the slave trade.
Black Nationalism created cohesion, harmony, integration, and togetherness in the black community and this can trace over 100 years ago. The leaders of the black community discovered alternate political and social ideology that prompted the elimination of racial discrimination to the communities of color. During the 20th century, Malcolm X and Marcus Garvey became dominant personalities who advocated for traditional Black Nationalism. These dominant figures in the black community influenced the black generation and organizations to formulate ideologies that addressed their grievances. During the late 1960s, calls for the establishment for Black Power led to a grassroots mobilization that raised various concerns.4 The Black Nationalism marked a turning point in American history since it ended white supremacy as the rights of the black people were recognized in the constitution. As a matter of fact, the movement expected the government to address the issues of poverty by ensuring that the black people had equal access to education and employment like the whites. Also, the movement fought for adequate housing since the communities of colors lived in suburbs and slums that lacked the basic amenities such as water and electricity.5 Police brutality is another area of concern that was raised since for a long period it had been subjecting the blacks to oppression. The blacks developed a collective social action that helped them to take ownership of their communities and put off those who looked down upon them.
Gilroy, Paul. The black Atlantic: Modernity and double consciousness. Harvard University Press, 1993
Irele, Abiola. “Negritude or black cultural nationalism.” The Journal of Modern African Studies 3, no. 03 (1965): 321-348.
Turner, Frederick Jackson. The significance of the frontier in American history. Cornell University Press, 1956.
Bracey, John H., August Meier, and Elliot Rudwick. “Black nationalism in America.” (1970).
Omi, M., & Winant, H. (2014). Racial formation in the United States. Routledge.
1 Gilroy, Paul. The black Atlantic: Modernity and double consciousness. Harvard University Press, 1993
2 Turner, Frederick Jackson. The significance of the frontier in American history. Cornell University Press, 1956.
3 Omi, M., & Winant, H. (2014). Racial formation in the United States. Routledge.
4 Irele, Abiola. “Negritude or black cultural nationalism.” The Journal of Modern African Studies 3, no. 03 (1965): 321-348.
5 Bracey, John H., August Meier, and Elliot Rudwick. “Black nationalism in America.” (1970).