How accurate is it to say that the Black Power movements of the 1960s achieved nothing for Black Americans?

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1 How accurate is it to say that the Black Power movements of the 1960s achieved nothing for Black Americans? An answer given a mark in Level 5 of the published mark scheme In the 1960s different Black Power movements, such as the Nation of Islam and the Black Panthers, grew up partly because many black people were dissatisfied with Martin Luther King s policies of peaceful protest. However, Black Power collapsed in the 1970s and achieved very little for black people, apart from improving their self-esteem. This is a very sound and focused introduction which summarises the rise and fall of Black Power in a few sentences. It also suggests that the achievements of Black Power were not very extensive. An important black power organisation was the Nation of Islam. This was led by Elijah Muhammad, who took over the movement in 1934 and built temples in black ghettos in the northern cities. Elijah Muhammad believed in a strong moral code, and disapproved of drinking, gambling and abusing women. He believed that black people should be completely independent from white people, and that blacks should protect themselves with force against whites. This attitude divided the NOI from King (who was called an Uncle Tom by the NOI) and from the civil rights movement. This division made the civil rights movement as a whole much less effective and meant that all blacks could not work together. The NOI did not achieve very much at all, but it did inspire many blacks in the poor parts of the cities. A good selection of information which explains the nature of the Nation of Islam and its policies. The ways in which the movement inspired poorer blacks could have been developed more extensively. Malcolm X became a member of the NOI while he was in prison for burglary. He was an important speaker for the movement until he left it in 1964 because he did not like the corruption and expensive lifestyles of its leaders. Malcolm was an inspiring orator who criticised King and advocated racial hatred and violence. He persuaded Cassius Clay (Muhammad Ali) to become a member of the NOI. In 1964 he went on the Haj, where he saw all Muslims behaving as equals, and he realised that Islam could bring people of different races together. This experience made him change some of his more extreme views. Malcolm X was murdered by the NOI in 1965 just when he was making his moderate views known. He did not achieve much for black Americans, but he did increase the profile of Black Power by appearing on television and in the press. He also highlighted the problems of the inner cities, and he became a role model for many young blacks to follow.

2 Precisely selected information summarises the importance of the role of Malcolm X. The ways in which Malcolm changed his views after the Haj might have been explained in more depth. Black Power became very radical in the mid-1960s because the problems in the inner-city ghettos became more widely known in the USA. Every summer there were inner-city riots when many people died and houses and stores were set on fire. King wanted to help these people, but he was unable to achieve very much, and so the blacks who lived in the ghettos turned against the civil rights movement. This led to the development of Black Power. Black Power rejected King s peaceful policies, and made blacks believe that they could control their own communities. One aspect of Black Power was the radicalisation of both the SNCC and CORE. Stokeley Carmichael became the leader of the SNCC, and was the first to use the phrase Black Power. Floyd McKissick became the leader of CORE. These new leaders were much more radical than the people they replaced. They expelled all whites from their organisations and began to call for black power, which meant confrontation with whites. Black Power did not last for very long, and did not achieve much for black people. Instead, it only increased the division among blacks. Precisely selected and detailed information on the mid-1960s and the rise of Black Power radicalism. Good focus on the leadership of different organisations. Another group which became prominent in the late 1960s was the Black Panthers. These were led by Huey Newton, who had a very radical policy of revolutionary communism. He had links with revolutionary and liberation movements in the rest of the world, and he wanted confrontation with whites, especially with the police, who often mistreated black people with violence and brutality. Many Black Panthers were armed, and there were often shootouts with the police which caused many deaths. The violence of the Black Panthers shocked many whites, and the government decided to destroy the Panthers before they became too powerful. This policy succeeded in the early 1970s. The Black Panthers achieved nothing for black people, but only alienated moderate blacks and whites, and gave a bad name to the whole of the civil rights movement. The role and significance of the Black Panthers are clearly understood. Some positive achievements might have been mentioned, such as the promotion of self-esteem. Black Power declined very quickly in the late 1960s because its organisation was very poor and it had little money to support itself. It also declined because the government preferred King s the peaceful methods to the violence and hatred of Black Power. Thus it seemed as if Black Power had not achieved anything of real importance for black people, and was a factor in the ending of the civil rights movement as a whole. However, it can be said that Black

3 Power did manage to achieve something for black people as a whole. Black Power leaders did try to help the people in the inner-city ghettos, and they did increase black pride and a sense of black nationalism. Malcolm X in particular was very important in raising the morale of many black people, and became a hero to young black people in the USA and around the world. A strong conclusion which does not simply repeat the points made in the body of the answer. The paragraph tries to weigh up and evaluate the achievements of Black Power in the 1960s. The answer is a sustained analysis of the various organisations which made up Black Power in the 1960s. The focus of the question is addressed directly, and the answer shows an understanding of the key issues involved. A few passages might be developed in a little more detail, but a mid-level 5 answer, awarded 26 marks.

4 How accurate is it to say that the Black Power movements of the 1960s achieved nothing for Black Americans? An answer given a mark in Level 3 of the published mark scheme Black Power was a movement which developed in the 1960s and wanted to improve conditions for black people throughout the USA. It had many well known leaders such as Stokeley Carmichael and Malcolm X and it was opposed to Martin Luther King s peaceful policies. It was very violent and quickly died out in the 1970s. This is not a strong introduction. Although it provides some relevant information about Black Power, it describes some features of the movements rather than considering whether they had any achievements to their credit. The most famous of the Black Power leaders was Malcolm X. His father was killed, probably by white racists, and he turned to a life of crime. After he was caught robbing from a house he was tried and sent to jail. When he was in prison he discovered the Nation of Islam and its leader Ellijah Mohammed. Malcolm converted to the NOI and when he was released he went and worked for them. He was a great speaker, and put forward ideas about black power and pride. This attracted thousands of blacks to the movement and made Malcolm a national figure. He told his audiences that they should not integrate with white people and should answer violence with violence. He also refused to accept King s policy of working together with white people to make changes in US society. This paragraph is essentially descriptive. The information on Malcolm X is correct and broadly relevant, though information on his early life is only marginally useful. However, there is only a hint of any achievements to his credit the reference to black pride. In 1964 Malcolm broke away from the Nation of Islam, because he disapproved of Elijah Muhammad s luxurious lifestyle. This placed his life in danger because Muhammad regarded Malcolm as a traitor who had to be punished. His house was attacked and his wife and children were all threatened. Also in 1964 Malcolm went on a pilgrimage to Mecca where he discovered that Muslims of all races treated each other as equals. This made a great impression on him, and when he returned to the USA he began to tone down his message of violence and confrontations. In 1965 Malcolm was assassinated by the Nation of Islam, and was mourned by millions of blacks. He had not achieved very much, but he tried to make blacks feel proud of who they were.

5 The passage is descriptive, but there is some relevant comment in the last sentence which links to the question of whether Black Power achieved anything. There were many other different groups which went to make up Black Power in the 1960s. Two of these were SNCC and CORE, which were both protest groups which aimed at improving working and living conditions for black people, and to make them equal to other races in the USA. These had been quite moderate organisations which were linked to Martin Luther King and the Civil Rights movement, but in the mid-1960s they were taken over by more radical leaders such as Stokeley Carmichael and became much more leftwing. Like Malcolm X, Carmichael refused all help from white people, and promoted two ideas: that black is beautiful and Black Power. These organisations gained support, especially from young people and from people living in inner cities. This was the first time that black organisations had really tried to improve conditions in the cities, but they were not able to achieve very much because they had no support from the government. Instead, there were many riots in the cities, such as the Watts riot of were killed and there was over $40 million of damage. Thus it is true to say that SNCC and CORE did not achieve very much at all. This is a reasonably effective paragraph. Although it focuses on describing the activities of SNCC and CORE, an important point is made which suggests that these organisations did not achieve much for black people. Thus a link to the question is established. Finally, there were the Black Panthers. They were led by Huey Newton, and they were extreme left-wingers who followed the ideas of Malcolm X. They wanted full employment, better housing and education, an end to police violence and freedom for all blacks in prison. They gave their members training in the use of guns, and went on patrol carrying arms. The Black Panthers were very powerful in the late 1960s, but there was a backlash against them in 1969 when 27 of their members were killed in clashes with the police. This meant the end of the Black Panthers as an effective movement. This is a descriptive paragraph which describes some of the features of the Black Panthers. While it is relevant to the question, it does not consider any achievements which might be attributed to the Panthers. In conclusion, the Black Power movement was very significant in the 1960s. It gave black people the option of a different approach to securing civil rights from that of Martin Luther King and his followers. King believed in peaceful protests, such as the Montgomery Bus Boycott and the March on Washington, and he helped obtain the passing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the first step towards full equality between blacks and whites in the USA. The ideas of Black Power were much more radical and violent, and the movement gained a lot of support among younger blacks, who were not impressed by King s

6 approach. Although Black Power did not achieve anything as important as the Civil Rights Act, it did provide an alternative programme for change. The conclusion is not strongly focused. It notes the difference between Black Power and the mainstream Civil Rights movement, but development on King s protests is not targeted to the question. There is some relevant comment towards the end of the paragraph on younger blacks, and on a different route to change, which might have been developed more in terms of achievements. The answer understands the focus of the question and does attempt to analyse the extent of the achievements which might be credited to Black Power. However, this analysis is not sustained throughout the answer, and is only implicit in places. The factual material here is accurate, but it does lack some relevance and depth in places. Not an analytical response, so not Level 4, but the answer shows the qualities of Level 3 quite securely. A mark of 18 is thus appropriate.

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