Black Power Timeline

Fairclough says black power adopted all of the qualities of pre-1964 Malcolm X: -bitter critique of nonviolence -call for black separatism -denunciation of white people (But AF says throughout the movement most blacks knew that these ideals were impratical/impossible) "in some respects... Black Power flowed from the success of the Civil Rights Movement, and was a logical extension of it. Having achieved legal equality, blacks needed to unite, and to organise effectively, in order to maximise their political and economic power"-AF


Was Black Power a failure?
Willaim Van Deburg says absolutely wasn't => it fuelled an upsurge of black consciousness that had profound adn constructive psychological benefits. Fostered grassroots aciviism + national political action. Most of all affected culture -> music, art, literature, fashion

"Black Power was a dead end" - movement veteran Andrew Young
Gerald Horne said it promoted a cult of black masculinity that was anti-intellectual, misogynic, and violent and "anti-white"
Clayborne Carson makes a similar assessment

Number of black white collar workers goes from 10% to 18%

1940 - 1960

SOME increase in black prosperity

About 4 million blacks leave South for North

1940 - 1965

Black population of Chicago went from 8% to 27%
Washington DC from 28% to 63%

Prof Phillip M. Hauser said the sheer numbers "made the Negro in-migratoy stream relatively unassimilable"
-> would eventually climb up ladder but "it requires time- measured in human generations rather than years"

Almost 10% of black workers unemployed


Black unemployment twice the white level throughout the 1960s

Opinion polls show anti-black racism widespread


Before any riots, Fairclough points out
show "anti-Negro prejudice is widespread and deeply rooted in the US, extending to the vast majority of ordinary, well-meaning Americans"

Similarly police studies showed that almost 3/4 of all officers held "extreme" or "considerable" prejudice against black people

Birmingham Campaign


Fairclough says it triggered a significant "White backlash"

Proposition 14 passed in California


only months before Watts riot

repealed a recently enacted fair housing law
-> white resistance to housing desegregation

Urban rioting is an "annual recurrence" in the North

1965 - 1968

Clayborne Carson says despite this SNCC proved "unable to transform racial anger into local movements that could be sustained"

"the riots did not necessarily indicate that most blacks were alienated from the political system: they were explosions of anger against police brutality that evoked brutal overreactions by the police and National Guard" -AF

Johnson escalates Vietnam war

1965 - 1966

Difficult to hold onto the doctrine of non-violence, says Fairclough

Black participation in work force at 77%


10% lower than 20 years earlier

=> dropping out of legal employment going to gangs instead

Fairclough says a big part of it was white discrimination, despite fair employmemnt laws throughout north
Construction industry was virtually impossible for black to get a union card
plumbers union 99.8% white


Disturbances in New York, Philadelphia + Rochester


(dwarfed by Watts)

Watts Riot

August 1965

Huge riot in Watts, LA after a black man's mother was supposedly hit while he was being arrested
"They'd never treat a woman like that!" the crowd that gathered

Six consecutive days of urban violence
looting + burning stores, attacking firemen, battling police, assaulting white people
Estimated $200 million in property destroyed
4k people arrested
34 dead

Everyone shocked bc it happened amid the LA palm trees

Fairclough says the "burn baby burn" chants of the riots appeared to express a "visceral hatred of white people"
Although, can overemphasise. Not a single white person died during the riots

Fairclough acc says they had "every reason to be" more committed to non-violence considering the gains of the Johnson administration

Cause was police brutality?
-> 2.5 years preceding Watts riot police had shot + killed 65 people in LA
Of the victims (writes Gerald Horne) 27 were shot in back, 25 were unarmed, 23 were suspect of a non-violent crime, 4 had committed no crime, all but one case the verdict was "justifiable homicide"

Fairclough says during the riots the police abandoned "all restraint"
-> had big white support + built up big "exotic" arsenals
Police Chief William Parker during the Watts Riot said "we're on top and they are on the bottom"

McCone commission releases report

December 1965

Fairclough said tittried to downplay the singiicance of the riot
called the riot "senseless"
Claimed criminal vandalism, not purposeful protest
Made light of discrimination by LA police

argued only 10k people were involved in riot
Faiclough calls this a "riffraff theory"
it "badly misstated the riot's significance"
If the figure was really 10k rioters, then 40% of them were arrested -> "plainly absurd"
=> more likely 80k people involved

Bayard Rustin pointed out was a protest
-> attacked property rather than people, singling out white-owned stores seen as exploitative

Robert Blauner called it a "mass rebellion against colonial status"

"lack of remorse" from black people after the riot
"many blacks felt a positive pride in having seized control of the streets and given the police... a bloody nose"
"the mood of Watts last week smacked less of defeat than of victory and power," -Newsweek


Failure of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party challenge


Fairclough says for many members this was the "last straw" -> they had tried the legitimate rout

Mississippi Freedom Summer


SNCC sent 900 white students to Mississippi
-> AF says many blacks resented the volunteers for their middle class backgrounds, missionary attitudes, superior education, and for the media interest they attracted

Sexual relationships between white + black staff members "complicated and exacerbated interracial tensions"
-> white female volunteers "persistant and aggressive" advances
=> if refused, called racists often

AF says the addition of so many white staff members with freedom summer meant that SNCC "lost its basic identity" for man blacks

By this time "few SNCC workers clung to a pure ideal of non-viollence


Lowndes County Freedom Organisation founded


in Alabama, by Stokely Carmichael
A third party
has its symbol as a black panther

-> refused to be part of republicans/democrats
"you don't imitate white politics, becasuse white politics are corrupt"-Carmichael

Julian Bond barred from his seat in the Georgia House of Representatives

January 1966

bc he endorsed SNCC's stand for black power (was a former SNCC member)

-> required two supreme court decisions to end this "egregious violation of the democratic process"-AF
Shows how opposed white opnion was to SNCC's stance

SNCC is an "exhausted, demoralised and divided organisaiton"


says Fairclough
By this time

-> growing number believing that non-violence had failed

SNCC members have "battle fatigue" by this time


-> disilusionment after so much struggle

Stokely Carmicahel chair of SNCC

May 1966

succeeds John Lewis

After the Atlanta Project had been saying white people shouldn't be part of the movement under Bill Ware
(AF says even Carmichael + his supporters saw the Atlanta project's views as extreme)

But "SNCC no longer had any interest... in seeking common ground with white liberals, or in interracial coalitions of any kind"-AF
Now also rejected integration -> Carmichael said it was just tokenism, " a subertfuge of white supremacy"

Carmichael calls for "Black Power"

June 1966

In response to the assassination attempt against James Meredith

Whites had only been involved in the March bc King said he would not take part if weren't allowed

King was v against the slogan
and "struggled to retain his position as a unifying force at the center of the Civil Rights Movement"
AF says he failed -> was just a debate between sides which Clayborne Carson called "more of a clash of emotions than ideas"

The vagueness of the term meant that whites quickly condemned
Time called it a "new racism" that was "alsmost indistinguishable from the wild-eyed doctrines of the Black Muslims"

Roy Wilkins condemned it as racist "We of the NAACP will have none of this"
Randolph, Bayard Rustin + Whitney Young, head of the National Urban League denounced the slogan also ("although less stridently")
-> only CORE supported SNCC "of the major civil rights organisaitons"

Clayborne Carson says Carmichael used lots of "purposeful amiguity" with his speeches to "fan the flames of controversy"
But AF says soon his calls for violence became explicit "when you talk of Black Power, you talk about brining this country to its knees"

AF describes SNCC as "moribund" by this time


H Rap Brown replaces Carmichael as head of SNCC


AF says that by this time SNCC had "lost all restraint"

SNCC's presence in South "virtually disappeared


By this time says AF

"it was stranded in a no man's land of the revolutionary consciousness without a revolutionary situation"-Richard H. King

SNCC passes out of existence


AF says this "showed how difficult it was to translate Black Power into a pratical program that could win popular support"


Floyd McKissick Becomes CORE Leader


Supported SNCC with the Black Power slogan

Black Panthers

-exemption of black men from military service
-release from jail of all black prisoners
-an end to police brutality
-a UN supervised plebicite on the future of the "black colony"
-"land, bread, housing, education, clothing, justice, and peace"

"the Panthers exuded charisma and were immensely photogenic"-AF
"they turned profanity into a form of political rhetoric"-AF

Attracted youths from the street gangs + politicised them
attracted wider support by patrolling ghetto neighbourhoods to deter police discrimination
free breakfast for needy children
recruited doctors + med students to staff free health clinics
conducted voter registration programs
set up "Liberation Schools" for black children

US and Black Panther Part for Self-Defense founded


(United Slaves)
Both in California

Both inspired by Malcolm X + supported black nationalism
"both not only amassed weapons but used them"-AF

"it recruited the same kind of people as the Nation of Islam"-AF talking about Black Panther Party
Black panther denied that they were anti-white + said were willing to ally with white radicals -> called US' emphasis on African Culture "pork chop nationalism"

Suprise best seller *Quotations of Chairman Mao Tse-tung*


"power grows out of the barrel of a gun"

"but these new Black Power groups were more likely to use their guns against each other than against whites"-AF

Armed Panthers PRotest in the state capitol in Sacramento

2 May 1967

30 of them, armed
in protest to a bill which restricted public display of guns
-> made national news

COINTELPRO cracks down on Panthers

October 1967 - December 1969

Encouraged by Nixon

Kenneth O'Reily writes "party members engaged police officers in more than a dozen fireights.... and at least two policemen and as many as ten panthers died"

"FBI agents also played a major role in destroying the Black Panthers"-AF
-tapped phones
-recruited spies + informers
-utilised lots of "covert action" techniques -> like it had used against KKK + Communist Party
-> one way was to spread rumpours of infidelities

"Hoover's pursuit of the Black Panthers was unique... in its total disregard for human rights and life itself"-Kenneth O'Reilly

AF calls the suppression of the panthers "overkill"
"the Panthers' talk of revolution was largely bombast"-AF
"the Panthers' violent language and fearsome slogans were not meant to be taken literally. The notion that the Panthers presented a revolutionary threat to America was absurd"-AF

Huey Newton kills John Frey

28 October 1967

AF says the panthers used a police of "harassment, brutality, and racism, by shadowing (the Oakland police) patrols"
=> sometimes would go into clash between panthers + police e.g. here

"off the pig!" what they shouted

"But the Panthers usually got the worst of it"

>300 panthers arrested in this year alone


Gun battle between Panther + US

17 January 1969

Part of a feud between the two organisations incited by FBI

2 panthers died

Feud continued with at least 2 more panthers dying

Panthers Fred Hampton and Mark Clark killed

4 December 1969

By police
Hampton was asleep in bed
Clark fired a single round before being "felled by a hail of bullets"-AF

Huey Newton killed by a drug dealer


"The Panthers made guns, however, the focus of their identity and appeal"-AF
-> carried them around in public

AF says they found it hard to thrown of previous habits
-> they engaged in "extortion, robbery, prostitution, drug trafficking" and other illegal shit
-> enforced internal discipline through beatings

AF says NEwton became "a cocaine-addicted autocrat who committed acts of brutal and sadistic violence, including murder"

King's Efforts in the North

Blacks in white neighbourhoods in Chicago harassed

1945 - 1964

met with "harassment, arson attacks, physical assaults, and at least a dozen riots"

Supreme Court bans "restricitive covenants" in housing


Still happens regardless
Fairclough says there remained a "dual housing market"
Politiicans quietly kept all black/all white housing projects

Illinois governor calls out National guard in Cicero


Arrival of blacks in sattelite town of Cicero triggers rioting
-> blacks departed

Fairclough says the federal gov "silently acuiesced" segregation


Until this time

Mayor Daley denies the existence of Ghettos in the North


-> different ethnic + national groups preferred to live with their own kind, he said

Andrew Young + James Bevel talk to black youths


about non-violence in Rochester, NEw York after a riot there

"what is all this Jesus crap?"-response

Chicago Freedom Movement

1965 - 1967

"In moving north... the SCLC had to contend with apathy, skepticism, and outright hostility"
"housing was perhaps the strongest and most visible expression of racial discrimination in the North"
"where housing was concerned, racial discrimination in the North lost its subtlety; it was raw and open"

Fairclough says MLK used the "brilliant tactic" (as he had in the South) of non-violently provoking violent response

"on one level, Daley simply outfoxed King. Yet the SCLC's failure in Chicago had deeper causes"
-> SCLC was Southern mainly, so didn't know how to effectively mobilise so many people (1.5 mil black people in Chicago)
-> used to dealing with imbred retards like Bull Connor -> Mayor Daley was "a subtle, skillful politiican, who opposed the Civil Rights Movement with kind words and smart gestures rather than fire hoses and billy clubs" => part of the politicla machine
-> North was far more "hard-edged" and "secular -> black church not as much prestige + influence
-> Ralph Abernathy siad "we were particularly disturbed by the youth gangs" -> brutal

But Fairclough says the "more profound" reason for the failure was "white people, not blacks"
-> "sympathy for the civil rights movement seemed to evaporate whn it crossed the Mason-Dixon line"-AF

Bayard Rustin said the Civil Rights movement now had to go "from protest to politics"

"the first and only real attempt... to mount a major campaign of nonviolent direct action in the north"-AF
-> confirmed that "white racism was too deep, and too violent, to be susceptible to the moral appeal of nonviolent protest"

"In the north, bitterness and disillusionment seemed to rule"-AF
Harlem high school student told a group of visiting high schoolers from Mississippi "turning the other cheek is a load of trash. Up here we understand what snake is biting us" -> north followed Malcolm X far more

King arrives at Watts

17 August 1965

I the aftermath of the riot

"Go back where you came from" was typical response to his preaching of non violence

85% of whites think demonstrations were "hurting the Negro cause"


like King's

Riot in Chicago West Side ghetto

July 1966

King clearly can't control these gangs

Heckled + cursed when he tried to stop it

Mayor Daley forced to negotiating table

26 August 1966

says Fairclough
Reached a "summit agreement"
after King had exposed the depth of the racism in Chicago (White mobs burned cars, hurled bricks, and bodily assaulted the marchers"

But having diffused the crisis, Daley quickly ignored the agreement
"King was bitterly dissapointed by the betrayal"

King is assassinated

4 April 1968

"it was an incalculable loss"-AF

Poor Peoples' campaign

May 1968 - June 1968

With Ralph Abernathy as head
AF says it was a complete "shambles"
-> failed entirely, embarassing
the SCLC's shanty town became a "gang-infested jungle"
"the SCLC never recovered from the fiasco"
Can never know if King's presence would have helped