Radical Road

Theme: Radical Movement. These are the people and events that took a more violent and radical approach for equality during the Civil Rights Movement.


These are people.

Elijah Muhammad

1897 - 1975

Born Robert Poole in poverty in Sandersville, Georgia, Muhammad dropped out of school in the 4th Grade to work to support his family. Since he was young, Poole saw extreme prejudice and violence against blacks. As a grown man in 1923, Poole moved his wife, kids and himself to Detroit, Michigan where he met Wallace D. Fard, founder of the Nation of Islam, eight years later. When Poole converted to Islam, Fard gave him the name Elijah Muhammad. Muhammad took over the organization after Fard went missing in 1934; he adopted Fard's principles of segregation and blacks being the superior and original race. His life ended on February 25, 1975.

Malcolm X

1925 - 1965

He was the lieutenant of the Nation of Islam, a radical group against non-whites, and was the close colleague of the leader, Elijah Muhammad. However, they had an argument in 1964, prompting X to go on a pilgrimage to the holy city of Mecca. There he saw white and colored Muslims praying side-by-side, making him reevaluate his beliefs; when he returned to the US, he left the Nation of Islam and founded the Organization of Afro-American Unity, emphasizing the importance of black nationalism or pride instead of segregation. One year later at a huge gathering in New York City, X was shot and killed.

Here is link to a video:

Eldridge Cleaver

1935 - 1998

Cleaver was a writer for the movement and a member of the Black Panther. He was sent to reform school multiple times for stealing and selling marijuana; he went to prison for having marijuana in 1954. It was there he created his own philosophy for politics; after Cleaver was released in 1957, he raped multiple women of both black and white races and was sent to jail again for assault in 1958. Cleaver continued to further his philosophical ideas by writing in prison and his essay were published in Ramparts magazine. This caused him to much attention and support from others who successfully pressured the court to release him in 1966.

Muhammad Ali

January 17, 1942

He was born as Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr. As a kid, he experienced racism in Louisville, Kentucky, and it affected him greatly on wanting to do something. After his bike was stolen, Clay learned boxing and eventually became a heavyweight champion. He was a sensation, but shocked the world by announcing his membership in the organization, the Nation of Islam. Clay even changed his name to Muhammad Ali after his mentor, Elijah Muhammad. Ali began calling for black pride and resistance against white dominance. However, after studying the Qur'an and learning Orthodox Islam, Ali began speaking out against his earlier beliefs and calling for integration within America.

Huey P. Newton

February 17, 1942 - 1989

Newton helped established the Black Panther Party for Self Defense in 19766 with Bobby Seale. This party believed violence was the way to social change and took a militant way of operating. After coming with the rest of party to the California Legislature fully armed to protest a gun bill in 1967, Newton caught the attention of the world. He was arrested multiple times throughout his life. The party usually watched arrests-in-progress to look for abuse from white police officers and fought if they found any. Newton was accused of killing a white policeman and arrested; it took three trials for him to be acquitted, mainly due to public pressure of setting him free. However, Newton had more criminal charges while the party was crumbling and escaped to Cuba in 1971. He returned in 1974 and was shot and killed a decade and a half later in Oakland, California.

Events and Organizations

These are the events and organizations

Nation of Islam


It was founded by Wallace D. Fard, who was believed to be an incarnation of Allah. The organization wanted to raise economic, political and moral standards for the non-whites of America. When Fard mysteriously disappeared in 1934, Elijah Muhammad took over. The movement believed that whites were evil and colored people shouldn't associate with them. They have had a huge amount of prisoners and drug users convert, and they have also spent money for mosques, schools, apartment, etc. After Muhammad's death in 1975, his son took over and turned the Nation into the Black Muslim movement, which supported integration. However four years later, Louis Farrakhan recreated the more radical Nation of Islam, calling for segregation.

Watts Riots

August 11, 1965 - August 17, 1965

It was a six day riot in Watts, California. Watts was a very underdevelopment African American neighborhood in South Central Los Angeles, where the citizens had poor houses, high unemployment rates and inadequate schools. On August 11, 1965, Marquette Frye was arrested by Lee W. Minikus, a white Highway Patrolman, for supposedly being under the influence while driving. The bystanders were so enraged that a riot broke out, and it spread even outside of Watts. It took six days for 14,000 California National Guard troops to calm it down. In total, 34 people died, more than 1,000 people were injured and about 4,000 people were arrested.

Youth International Party


Known as Yippies, members of the group were white radicals who were college-educated people that complained the way society and politics worked. They caused many large-scale public disobedience by creating wild stunts like dropping money in the New York Stock Exchange. Many members, including the leaders Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin, were arrested after a riot caused by a police break-up of an event. The organization was ceased afterwards but some other and new members have made "second waves" that continue today.

Yellow Party

1968 - 1975

This was the movement of the social and economical rights that was really based on Asian Americans. During the Civil Rights Movement, other minorities also faced discrimination like African Americans. This was mainly due to the Vietnam War; the war caused discrimination for any race that was Southeast Asian. So they decided to take action when they saw the African Americans revolutionize their rights; in fact, some Asian-Americans helped the radical black movements. A Japanese American who spent years in an internment camp and was a military veteran, Richard Aoki, was founding of the Black Panthers (see Black Power and the Black Panther Party) and supplied weapons. Many college students around the country protested and demanded classes teaching their heritages' histories; by 1970, 70 campuses had organizations that fought for Asian American. When the Vietnam War ended, so did the main power of the movement.

Black Power and the Black Panther Party

1968 - 1980

During the early 1960's, young African Americans ignored and rejected Dr. MLKJ's ideas of non-violent protests. This caused the Black Power Movement, time where blacks were rapidly gaining rights and more standards in America in different ways. The biggest example of the movement was the Black Panther Party, a group that used African American justice to justify their use of violence and aggressiveness. There were authors and writers that explained the movement and the lives of African Americans to help support the cause. In sports, there were protests for the movement, most notably when John Carlos and Tommie Smith gave a salute with their Black Power gloves at the Olympic Games victory stand. There were also political advances as well, when African Americans were trying to for Congressmen and President.

Olympic Black Power Salute

16 October 1968

In the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City while the American national anthem played, gold-medalist Tommie Smith and bronze-medalist John Carlos at the medal podium bowed their heads and raised their fists with black gloves on them. This symbolized the rights of African Americans in America; while the whole world watched in amazement and excitement, US citizens were angry. Both men were suspended from the US team and received death threats from people. However, they never apologized for their actions stating that they were only acknowledging the American flag and it wasn't a symbol for hatred.

Here is a link to a video: