Democracy: Limitations and Possibilities dbq

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H. Black Power

Primary source:
Charles V. Hamilton, "An Advocate of Black Power Defines It," essay, 1968.
Background information: Many African Americans grew frustrated with the economic and social forms of discrimination they still encountered despite passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. In the face of their increasing restiveness, many black leaders invoked the term black power. In 1968, Charles V. Hamilton, professor of political science at Columbia, explained that the term meant different things to different people. [ . . . ]

Black Power is concerned with organizing the rage of black people and with putting new, hard questions and demands to white America. As we do this, white America's responses will be crucial to the questions of violence and viability. Black Power must (1) deal with the obviously growing alienation of black people and their distrust of the institutions of this society; (2) work to create new values and to build a new sense of community and of belonging; and (3) work to establish legitimate new institutions that make participants, not recipients, out of a people traditionally excluded from the fundamentally racist processes of this country. There is nothing glamorous about this; it involves persistence and hard, tedious, day-to-day work.

[ . . . ]
Charles V. Hamilton, "An Advocate of Black Power Defines It," New York Times Magazine, 14 April 1968, p. 22–23, 79–83.

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