Black identity and politics are one of the most important parts of American history. The history of how the black community came together to fight for more inclusion in society shapes the whole history of America. However, certain important times are marked in history, and their events are kept and written in different sources to show the journey to where America is now. Some of these sources still need to be discussed. The sources contain important historical times before and after the 1950s and what happened that marked African Americans’ freedom. Periods like Harlem Renaissance, the Civil Rights Movement, and the Black Arts Movement brought people together to fight against unfair segregation, violence, and inequality in America (LibGuides).
How the Materials Explore Black Identity and Politics
This week’s materials have a lot of black history that sets off several discussions. The materials have information about the Harlem Renaissance, Civil Rights, and the Black Arts Movement. The Harlem Renaissance happened between the 1920s to 1930s. The exact time for its start is unknown as this period contained a series of happenings. Harlem was meant to be an area only Upper-class white people could live in, but later, conditions changed, and the white people started to migrate out of Harlem. Around the 1900s, middle-class black Americas started moving to Harlem, and soon enough, other families followed. This prompted a phase called the Great Migration, which marked the moving of a large number of the black community to Harlem (LibGuides).
The materials explore a period where the blacks took an interest in the entertainment industry and came together to do jazz music, dance, recite poems, art, and even fiction (LibGuides). This was important because the blacks could identify with certain unique sounds like jazz. During this period, the blacks published a poem, “The Negro Speaks of Rivers,” which was read by so many people. This gave them a voice in public, and it was their chance to speak about their experiences and strengths, talk to other black people, and unite the black community. This period of triumph was marked and named the Harlem Renaissance period. This period was important for the political world of the black community. Black people had a dream which was freedom. As Langston Hughes stated, “hold fast your dreams, for, without them, life is a broken-winged bird that cannot fly.” The materials also talk about the ending of the Renaissance, which was brought about by the high unemployment rates, which led to high crime rates around Harlem. Politics to unite and fight against one common enemy became hard because people needed to eat (LibGuides).
This week’s materials also explore the black identity and politics behind the Civil Rights Movement, which happened between the 1950s and 1960s. The movement was an extremely political movement aimed at abolishing disenfranchisement, discrimination, and racial segregation (LibGuides). During this period, blacks were allowed to commute and even go to school, but racial practices were still being enforced, which led to even more black people being hurt. The Civil Rights Movement era marked a non-violent approach to freedom for blacks. There were boycotts like the Montgomery bus boycott and marches like the Selma march, full of people who peacefully asked for freedom. As Malcolm X stated, “Any time you beg another man to set you free, you will never be free. Freedom is something that you have to do for yourselves.” Black people had to fight for their freedom. The materials explain how the black community put together a political phase that was aimed at making them equal (LibGuides).
A lot is mentioned about the black Arts movement and how this era was an era of violence. The black community was tired of the Afrocentric view of their community and wanted to fight back using any means necessary. Groups like the Black Panther were created, and the youth walked around with guns and fought back against the police. They were tired of being seen as unbelonging, and the peaceful protests were not working either. People like Malcolm X and Martin Luther King were important to this part of the fight (LibGuides).
How the materials critique racism
The materials detail how racism was a day-to-day struggle for the black community. The blacks were initially brought to America as enslaved people; even then, they were treated as property, not human beings. The materials clearly show how bad racism was and how the blacks were being denied simple privileges like the right to walk around freely, speak freely or even get an education. The struggle against racism is a long one and involves a lot of lives being lost and a lot of political campaigns and groups that were meant to unite America as a nation inclusive of the blacks. As Philip Randolph stated, “freedom is never given. It is won.” The black community had even gone to war for the Americans, but this did not change how they were viewed back home. The Harlem Renaissance, the Civil Rights, and the Black Arts movement were all meant to fight against racism and violence that the white community had refused to let go of (LibGuides). All the blacks wanted was to show the whites that the color of one’s skin had nothing to do with their character, intelligence, or way of living.
How the African American Culture is celebrated
This week’s materials celebrate African American culture by discussing how great it is and what the African Americans had to go through to develop a culture of their own. It took them a long time so they could have freedom and know what to do with their freedom and how to maintain it when they get it (LibGuides). The blacks came together and figured out that their bad experiences brought them together and unified the black community. The blacks knew they were all on the same side fighting against the same thing, which is why they could come up with movements, boycotts, meetings, and gatherings that worked towards one goal. As Martin Luther King stated, “Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.” This brought about a culture of strength, perseverance, regard for life, and even growth of one another. The materials celebrate just how far the black community has come and what they did to acquire what they have today.
The materials have broken down how the black community faced their enemies and how their journey to freedom has been painful. The white community held on to their beliefs, and it took the same struggles to change most white people from racist to revisionist. However, this was not easy for the white people as they were used to dominating and owning everything in the land of America. So thinking about sharing it with the blacks seemed catastrophic to them. The materials have been helpful and well-detailed regarding how the movements were formed and how some ended. All that one needs to know about the History of African Americans is the materials.
“African-American Rights Movements: Black Power Movement.” LibGuides at Montana State University-Billings, 23 Dec. 2020, https://libguides.msubillings.edu/c.php?g=902153&p=6492372&preview=d9b96c93043dc6af8095ab4db760c5fe.