African American History Since 1865; HIST115-001
Throughout the long and often controversial history of the United States, blacks have been subjected to racial discrimination. From slavery to modern times there has been a divide between those of the African-American community and their Caucasian counterparts. In response to this, numerous Black Power organizations were created in order to bridge the gap and create a fair, equal environment. This led to the creation of two distinct parties, cultural nationalists and revolutionary nationalists, whose relationship could be compared to the Democratic and Republican relationship seen today. The US Organization represented the cultural nationalists, while the Black Panther Party was at the forefront of the revolutionary nationalists. The two organizations held separate ideas on how to promote civil rights, the strengthening of the African-American community, and self-defense. Despite this, each group fought for the betterment of blacks and contributed greatly to the Civil Rights Movement.
What is a civil right? It is a guarantee that equal opportunities and protection will be given under the law without discriminating due to race, religion or any other characteristic. [endnoteRef:1] However, this was not the case for blacks within the United States. Those of color were subject to the idea of separate but equal, but were denied both in many cases. The Civil Rights Movement took place in order to create laws allowing blacks to be equal to whites; however, though laws were created, this did not affect the way black were seen and treated. [1: Definition comes from the Encyclopedia Britannica and was written by Rebecca Hamlin, an assistant professor of Political Science at Grinnell College, Grinnell, Iowa. ] The one thing that all Black Power organizations had in common was the fact that they wanted to create a powerful bond within the community. By speaking and acting as one, there would be no way for the whites to ignore the voices of African-Americans. Cleveland Sellers said it best when he wrote, " What is Black Consciousness? More than anything else, it is an attitude, a way of seeing the world. Those of us who possessed it were involved in a perpetual search for racial meanings and the construction of a new black value system. A value system geared to the unique cultural and political experience of blacks in this country."[endnoteRef:2] Contrary to popular belief and what opponents of the cause would like you to believe, the US does not stand for united slaves. [endnoteRef:3] US refers to the divide that could be found in the nation us vs. them; blacks were us while whites were them. [endnoteRef:4] The founder Maulana Karenga was inspired by the likes of Minister Malcom X and philosopher Frantz Fanon to leave a lasting legacy behind despite facing adversity at every turn. Members of the organization wanted to not only reshape themselves but also the nation instead of be...