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Black Power Movement

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The movement formally arrived in Jackson, Mississippi, at the capitol, but grew out of six years of cumulative anger on the part of members of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). The Black Power Movement also known as the 1970’s Revolution was an attempt by people with varied interests to make plain the issues which the leaders of the day failed to address. It all started in October of 1968 when hundreds of university students and supporters led by the National Joint Action Commission (NJAC). Malcolm X, ‘Black Muslim’ group, Black Panthers. Groups like the Black Panthers and Malcolm X which had an ideology that leaned toward Black Nationalism and equality by any means necessary. The Black Power Movement set out to address these issues of unemployment, underemployment and worker exploitation. Has the Black Power movement progressed along, more alliances where sought out. Unemployed men and women and sectors of the strategic work force were the first to join the movement. They demanded justice by force if necessary whereas King’s ideologies work within the system and had a totally non-violent doctrine.

Their main target was major intuitions controlled by imperialist powers which were, the U.S.A, Canada and Britain and the People’s National Movement (PMN). It was said that the People’s National Movement had been in power for the last fourteen years and the country had still not experienced the transformation in the economic structure that the party had promised during the elections. The Black Power Revolution began with a 1970 Carnival band named Pinetoppers whose presentation entitled The “Truth about Africa” included portrayals of “Revolutionary Heroes” including Fidel Castro, Stokely Carmichael and Tubal Uriah Butler. The Black Power Movement instilled a sense of racial pride and self-esteem in blacks. Protests were taking place in many different Caribbean countries and in Trinidad they grew into a national movement including, not only university students, but also trade unionists and unaffiliated citizens who wanted justice at home as well. Blacks were told that it was up to them to improve their lives.

Black Power advocates encouraged blacks to form or join all-black political parties that could provide a formidable power base and offer a foundation for real progress. For years, the movement’s leaders said, blacks had been trying to aspire to white ideals of what they should be. Now it was time for blacks to set their own agenda, putting their needs and aspirations first. An early step, in fact, was the replacement of the word “Negro” (a word associated with the years of Slavery) with “black.” Many had looked to the People’s National Movement government to rectify the problems which had existed under slavery, indentureship and colonialism. However, the People’s National Movement merely perpetuated the existing system of oppression. It was a ‘Black’ government with a ‘Black face’ but its objectives and actions were for the benefit of the white capitalists at home and abroad. Black women in Trinidad had promoted the cause of the Black men who dominated the Black Power movement.

The NJAC (National Joint Action Commission) became a bigger thread to the People’s National Movement government as racial groups were united. It was not the unification that scared the People’s National Movement; it was the involvement of the workers and union organizers. If it had succeeded (a distinct possibility) a military coup might well have ushered in a socialist revolutionary government to Trinidad and Tobago. The same spirit of racial unity and pride that made the Black Power movement so dynamic also made it problematic—and to some, dangerous. Many whites, and a number of blacks, saw the movement as a black separatist organization bent on segregating blacks and whites and undoing the important work of the civil rights movement.

There is no question that Black Power advocates had valid and pressing concerns. Blacks were still victims of racism, whether they were being charged a higher rate for a mortgage, getting paid less than a white co-worker doing the same work, or facing violence at the hands of white racists. But the solutions that some Black Power leaders advocated seemed only to create new problems. But the Movement was not only about taking over the government, it was about changing the society of Trinidad and Tobago and it was a process which identified the need for education of the people, recognising that we had been subjected to a colonial education system and we needed to be able to look at ourselves and our country and our future from a different perspective. Other groups affected by racism developed similar movements. By the mid-1970s, the Black Power movement was for all intents and purposes over. There were arrests, and harassment of many of the movement’s members, gets much of the credit for the decline of the Black Power movement.

In conclusion, The Black Power Movement was an attempt to address plain issues that the leaders did not address and it gave people the ability to vote, Integration, affirmative action and equal rights in the work place. It instilled a sense of racial pride and self- esteem in ‘blacks’ and how to fight for what we wanted and what was right and also not to back down until we get it. In the Black Power Movement t the people of nation united and showed that they cannot be intimidated by just anything. This also helps future leaders of the country to see what was done in the past and what also can still be done in the future. It shows things that they still need to be done and it also make the government to realise that they must keep the promises they make especially when it effects a whole nation and their rights. We achieved equality for all men, regardless of skin colour.

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