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African-American History Sharecropping Was Not Term Paper

Pages:10 (2799 words)



Topic:African American

Document Type:Term Paper


Thus, the New Negro Movement refers to the new way of thinking, and encompasses all the elements of the Negro Renaissance, artistically, socially and politically (New).

The Harlem Renaissance changed the dynamics of African-American culture in the United States forever, for it was proof that whites did not have a monopoly on literature, arts and culture (Harlem). The many personalities of the era, such as composer Duke Ellington, dancer Josephine Baker, writer Jean Toomer, and artist Horace Pippin, not only helped define the New Negro Movement, but they inspired future generations of artists and writers such as Alice Walker and Toni Morrison (Harlem).

Civil Rights Movement

When Rosa Park refused to give up her seat on a Montgomery bus, the African-American community united in what is referred to as the Civil Rights Movement, which was the beginning of the end of American apartheid (Munro 2005). This movement was led and championed by Martin Luther King, Jr., and other activists, who advocated non-violent resistance.

During this era, the political realities in the United States both helped and inhibited the agenda for black equality (Munro 2005). Author John Munro writes that during the decade before Montgomery, "the dissolution of the black left created a situation in which struggles for racial justice were able to proceed provided that movement demands were couched within the confines of liberal discourse" (Munro 2005). In other words, "critiques of political economy and foreign policy were deemed unacceptable," and integration into the existing economic hierarchies received hesitant, "but increasing support from the federal government" (Munro 2005). Following World War II, the United States was occupied trying to sustain the international system of free enterprise, which meant helping the devastated economies of major countries, containing communism, securing international markets, acquiring sources of raw materials, and establishing military hegemony (Munro 2005). Due to the Soviet spotlight on racism within the United States, and the African-American community's reluctance to believe American claims of freedom and democracy, the U.S. post-war agenda was impeded by the issue of racial segregation (Munro 2005). Thus, the circumstances of the Cold War era actually gave African-Americans a real chance to end the Jim Crow era of the South (Munro 2005).

Martin Luther King, Jr.'s philosophy and commitment of nonviolent resistance became the mantra for the Civil Rights Movement. Believing this was the only means of achieving social justice, he emerged as the most beloved leader of the movement (Martin).

As a seminary student, King believed that philosophies such as "love your enemies" applied to individuals, not to nations, however after studying Mahatma Gandhi, he realized that "the Christian doctrine of love operating through the Gandhian method of nonviolence was one of the most potent weapons available to oppressed people in their struggle for freedom" (Martin). However, it was not until the Montgomery bus boycott that he realized the full power of this action (Martin).

King believed that nonviolent resistance was not a cowardly path, and the intent of these methods was to gain understanding and awaken moral shame within white society (Martin). Thus, King was striving for reconciliation through peaceful means, not bitterness through violence (Martin). He believed that the tension was "between justice and injustice," and that victory was "victory for justice and the forces of light" (Martin).

Accepting violence without retaliating with violence, led to "tremendous educational and transforming possibilities" that would become powerful tools to change society (Martin).

King stressed that the "universe was on the side of justice," and that human beings have a "cosmic companionship" with God, thus the nonviolent activist must have faith that justice is in the future (Martin).

With the world watching, the Civil Rights Movement marched across the South and ended racial discrimination.

Black Power

Black Power is a political slogan that was popularized by Civil Rights activists, but it was writer and publisher, Robert F. Williams, who first used the term in its political context (Black). Mukasa Dada, an organizer for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee gained the support of thousands of African-Americans when he shouted the phrase (Black). The focus of black power advocates was improving the status of all African-Americans (Black).

There were many member of the SNCC, such as Stokely Carmichael, who became dissatisfied with the nonviolent approach advocated by Martin Luther King, Jr. And other moderates (Black).

Because the membership in the SNCC was fairly younger than that of the other civil rights organizations, they were generally more outspoken and increasingly inclined toward more militant means of protest (Black).

Moreover, SNCC members observed that whites did not hesitate to use violence against African-Americans, and moreover, "accomodationist" civil rights strategies had not secured proper concessions for blacks, thus more and more militant voices came to the forefront as the Civil Rights Movement progressed (Black). They rejected the moderate means of cooperation, integration and assimilation of King and others (Black).

Rejecting King's Gandhi means of nonviolence, this younger generation advocated the path of another African-American activist from a century before (Black). According to Abolitionist Frederick Douglass, those individuals who claim to advocate freedom, but depreciate agitation, "are men who want crops without plowing up the ground. They want rain without thunder and lightning. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters....Power concedes nothing without demand. It never did and it never will" (Black).

The Black Panther Party is perhaps the most noted Black Power organization to emerge during the Civil Rights Movement. The Panther Party was founded by Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale in 1966, and embraced a doctrine of armed resistance to the oppressions by American society, as well as a socialist doctrine (Black1). Yet, the party attracted membership of such diverse ideology that the party base often clashed with the leadership (Black1). Among the Panthers' principles was the call for exemption from military service, contending that it was simply another way that African-Americans were being victimized by the white U.S. government (Black1). During the years when the Party was most active (1966-1972), several police departments hired many more African-American police officers, some of whom played significant roles in shutting down the Party's activities (Black1).

Black Power advocates argue that assimilation/integration actually robs blacks of their heritage and dignity, and most advocates today have not changed their argument (Black). Most critics claim that blacks did not assimilate into mainstream society by King's path, nor by the measures of Black Power, but became more oppressed by the black middle class and ruling class (Black).

Perhaps the best-known Black Power group today is the Nation of Islam, and another noted group is the New Black Panther Party, which was formed in Dallas, Texas in 1989 (Black). In 2004, a new "National Alliance of Black Panthers" was formed by the grassroots activism of the original Panthers, but is not otherwise related (Black1).

Works Cited

Black1 Panther Party. Retrieved October 03, 2006 at

Black Power Movement. Retrieved October 03, 2006 at

Crew, Spencer R. (1987 March 01). The great migration of Afro-Americans, 1915-40.

Monthly Labor Review. Retrieved October 03, 2006 from HighBeam Research Library.

The Great Migration. African-American World. Retrieved October 03, 2006 at

The Great1 Migration. Retrieved October 03, 2006 at (

The Harlem Renaissance. Retrieved October 03, 2006 at

Marcus Garvey. Retrieved October 03, 2006 at

Martin Luther King's Philosophy of Non-Violent Resistance. Retrieved October 03, 2006 from

Munro, John. (2005 March 23). Black Bourgeoisie at 50: Class, Civil Rights, and the Cold War in Black America. Tennessee TRIBUNE. Retrieved October 03, 2006 from HighBeam Research Library.

The New Negro. Retrieved October 03, 2006 at

Riddle, Wesley Allen. (1995 December 22). The origins of black sharecropping.

The Mississippi Quarterly. Retrieved October 03,…

Sample Source(s) Used

Works Cited

Black1 Panther Party. Retrieved October 03, 2006 at

Black Power Movement. Retrieved October 03, 2006 at

Crew, Spencer R. (1987 March 01). The great migration of Afro-Americans, 1915-40.

Monthly Labor Review. Retrieved October 03, 2006 from HighBeam Research Library.

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