#BlackLivesMatter: A Necessary Movement Or The Revival Of Violent Black Nationalism?
There have been many different social movements that have sparked controversy throughout the history of the United States. The recent #BlackLivesMatter movement has received plenty of time in the limelight, and now is a good time to evaluate its worth and impact.
This effort goes back to the Civil Rights movement (if not 1492), but for simplicity reasons let’s start in 1960s when we have three prominent African American protest groups: the nonviolent Christian followers of Martin Luther King Jr., the “ballot or the bullet” Muslim followers of Malcolm X, and the Marxist Black Panther Party who sought for their own country within America.
Not to put down any of these movements, but it is the intent of their actions which we should consider before we discuss how they connect to #BlackLivesMatter. For starters, Martin Luther King Jr.’s movement stressed working within the political system, whereas the Black Panther Party fought against the political system. Malcom X and Elijah Muhammad’s Nation of Islam sparked a massive intellectual movement, but their influence was quickly subverted following X’s subsequent change of political ideology after his pilgrimage to Mecca and personal issues with Elijah Muhammad.
Each of these movements had leaders who were murdered or divided and conquered through various means. It is not specifically how these movements ended that is being discussed here, or any sort of justification for the murder of any political activist, but rather how they relate to the current #BlackLivesMatter movement.
Previous African American Movements And Their Intentions
Malcolm X was criticized for his constant comparison of white men to “devils” before changing his opinion during his pilgrimage to Mecca. In his autobiography (drafted by Alex Haley) he said that “…the collective white man had acted like a devil in virtually every contact he had with the world’s collective non-white man.” It’s important to keep in mind that X’s father was killed by being run over by a train. X blamed white supremacists for murdering his father in his autobiography.
Later on, X’s narrative changed to something more inclusive of all races: “The color-blindness of the Muslim world’s religious society and the color-blindness of the Muslim world’s human society: these two influences had each day been making a greater impact, and an increasing persuasion against my previous way of thinking,” referencing that his stance had changed and that there were factions of whites who were not racist. Malcom X had been known for his black nationalist ideology, but his evolving personality was murdered before it could fully be measured and assessed.
The Black Panther Party was an out-of-the-closet Marxist group that birthed a political revolution during the aftermath of the second Red Scare and was led by figures such as Bobby Seale and Huey Newton. The