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Separation versus integration

Both black and white people were beaten and killed in the South as they worked to register voters and integrate services. With the rise of the Black Power (1965) separatist movement in the mid-1960s and riots in black urban neighborhoods, whites became less interested in pushing for civil rights for blacks, who seemed to be pushing hard enough on their own. The fiery Black Muslim leader Malcolm X called for blacks to separate themselves from whites; he was assassinated by a black man from another faction of the Nation of Islam. Other separatist leaders included Black Panther Huey Newton and Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee leader Stokely Carmichael.

Working for integration, not separation, was the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), chaired by Roy Wilkins. Latino farmworkers organized as well; Cesar Chavez founded the United Farm Workers (1972) in California.


Question: What was the Black Power movement?

Answer: The Black Power movement of the 1960s was some African Americans' rejection of integration in favor of black control over their own communities.

Martin Luther King's legacy

In 1968, a white racist assassin, James Earl Ray, killed Martin Luther King Jr. King left a legacy of inspiration and solid progress that is now as much a part of American culture as freedom and independence.

In the time since King's death, black income, education, and community participation has risen steadily. In 2008, America elected Barack Obama as the first black president of the United States. After 200 years of slavery and another hundred years of racist discrimination, America still has miles to go, but Martin Luther King Jr. showed the way.


Question: What were the leading black organizations (and their leaders) of the civil rights movement?

Answer: Important black civil rights organizations include the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (led by Martin Luther King Jr.), the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (headed by Stokely Carmichael), the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (chaired by Roy Wilkins), the Black Muslims (led by Malcolm X) and the Black Panthers (led by Huey Newton).

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