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tv   History Bookshelf Peniel Joseph Waiting Til the Midnight Hour  CSPAN  February 23, 2019 4:00pm-5:31pm EST

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and will and a narrative history of black power in america. activists inspired by malcolm x. including the black panther party and civil rights leaders. recorded at clark university in massachusetts in 2007. [applause] thank you so much for this excellent turn out. these support from the community in terms of this series has always been just so impressive, so once again, thank you. what i would like to do is give a brief background of this series, which has now been going on for approximately 12 years, and
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there reflects a continuation of a tradition that we can actually locate has been initiated as far back as 1773. what i mean by this, when phyllis wheatley declares allegiance with her fellow black artists, one -- in her 1773 publication, on various subjects, religious and minor, religious and moral, sorry, which was actually the first book to be published by an african-american, she produced the earliest documented the observance of an african american intellectual community. the polen, in which she addresses this are just, and we know him as skip deo m, the m abbreviated reference to perhaps his master, the title to -- a young african painter on seeing his works, the palm of firms a phenomenal cultural happening in american society, one not only
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during its insistence but also revolutionary in its implications. weekend soarer cbo to track "and noble past, conduct by footsteps to a morsel fame, in late the soul and raised by wishful eyes. as these words disclose, the black intellectual community emerged as the discourse of optimism, one reflecting a spirit of resistance, resistance to suppression, on resolute in his challenge to institutionalize containment. consequently, when
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the higgins lecture series and african american culture was born some 12 years ago, we wish to establish and promote the work of all scholars addressing the history, the evolution, and the many dimensions of the african-american intellectual performance and out what. in short, with this series, we observe the critical and progressive spirit that regulates america's advancement of social tolerance and equality for its reflection a pioneering scholarship and progress of consciousness, african-american intellectual culture has effectively resonated both nationally, globally as a force of response, a force of checks and balances against cultural awareness and social inequity.
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it is a scale and the endurance of this legacy, so often overlooked that we hear celebrate in hosting this lecture series. tonight's speaker in our first lecture of the to the semester, is professor joseph peniel, professor -- that is peniel joseph. professor joseph who has been voted this year's emerging scholar by higher education has been named one of 2006 topped young historians by the history network. he received his bachelor's and arts from sunni stony brook, a double major in in african studies, and european history. he received his ph.d. from temple university in american history. can everybody still hear me. he is associate professor of african-american
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studies at brandeis university. he is editor of the black power movement, rethinking the civil-rights and black power, which came not from her rockledge in 2006. and is author of waiting until the midnight hour, a narrative history of black power in america and again 2006. this is a book that -- describes as "marking the dawn of a new black american history. nuance deeply researched and brilliantly insightful, it will become the new standard interpretation of black political culture in the 1960's. additionally gerald horner of the university of north carolina in chapel hill maintains that "in writing this wise and dazzling display of literary evidence, an expert excavation kummant peniel joseph has vaulted into the front ranks of
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interpreters of this nation's most explosive era, 1960's. so tonight, professor joseph is going to share with us aspects of that interpretation and will talk" waiting til the midnight hour, a black power movement in american democracy." please join me in welcoming professor joseph. [applause] >> thank you very much. thanks for being here. this is not air conditioned, as we can all see right now so we -- bear with me. i might have to take some frequent water breaks. thank you to the winston napier and clark university, and the humanities center for inviting me for this talk. waiting til
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the midnight hour, a narrative history of black power in america, is really a book that attempts to talk about black power within the context of american democracy, both democracy in the united states and internationally so what i'm going to do today is really talk about the civil-rights movement and black power and the way in which i argue that, to understand postwar american history, we have to understand what the black power movement called for, its successes, its failures and really the way in which, what it attempted to do in terms of redefining american democracy, the way in which its legacy and its legacies still reverberates today, one of those legacies is african-american studies, at least historically white and black institutions
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being institutionalized. and that is why we have such robust discourse is right now, all across the united states and across the world on black studies. that is one of the legacies i will talk about tonight. when we think about the years 1954 to 1965 weasely think of those years as the heroic period of the civil rights movement and when we think about this for wrote. mack of the civil-rights movement we have a specific cast of characters we think about. certainly we think about martin luther king jr. but we start on may 17, 1954 in terms of modern civil-rights movement with brown versus board of education of topeka kansas desegregation decision. 1955 to
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1956 we witnessed the bus boycott were a 26-year-old martin luther king jr. steps into the spot light. rosa parks famously gives up, refuses to give up her seat on the bus and we continue a march through this heroic era with the assassination or the lynching of emmet till, 14 years old, african american teenager from chicago who is live in money mississippi after really saying by baby to the wife of a white store owner. til's body is found in the bottom of the telehatch river with a 125 town cotton gin and then built tied around his neck. til's that is important because jet magazine, which is the african american working-class magazine of the postwar era is going to show til's body on the cover of its magazine. maybe -- mamie mostly til abouts your son to be viewed in an open casket to allow the world to see what they have done
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to our voice. 1957 we witness the little rock central high school crisis, where federal intervention is required to desegregate little rock high-school, and we are celebrating the 50th anniversary of that really this week. 1960, february 1, 1960, for african-american students sit in at the woolworth's lunch counter in greensboro north carolina and that is going to start a sit-in movement that is going to roll throughout the self in 1960, and it is going to lead to the origins of the student nonviolent barney committee. sncc is going to serve as a civil-rights movement shock troops that tend to use non-violent direct action to register african-americans to vote in some of the poorest and most dangerous and most rural areas in itself. in 1962, james
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meredith becomes the first african-american to enroll at the university of mississippi in oxford mississippi and zero missed erupts of three days of violence leaving one person dead at the prospect of meredith and rolling. 1963 is most often remembered as the spring of birmingham. in 1963 birmingham alabama is literally and figuratively on fire the prospect of public accommodations being desegregated. martin luther king jr. is going to be one of the leaders of the birmingham movement and is going to be local leaders like fred shuttlesworth, king famously is incarcerated and while he is in a birmingham prison, is going to write his famous letter from a birmingham jail, where answers critics who charge that the civil-rights movement is accelerating at a pace that is too fast. king is going to
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argued that black people can't afford to wait on the goodwill of white americans because waiting for full citizenship actually distorts and defames american democracy. in 1964 we see the passage of the civil-rights act and on august 6, 1965, the voting rights act is signed into legislation by lyndon baines johnson. that is the arc of the heroic period of the civil-rights movement. five days after the passage of the voting rights act, south central los angeles, the watts neighborhood in south-central los angeles, erupts. from august 11 to august 18th, there will be a week-long riot in los angeles. most historians looked at the watts uprising as the end of the deroy. mack a civil rights. by 1966, martin luther king jr.
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attends to desegregate housing in chicago and most historians say, the movement moves north. on june 16, 1966 and agreed with massachusetts, stokley carmichael, a young african american leader, is going to unleash the phrase black power during the civil-rights march in mississippi. it is a civil-rights march that begins when james meredith, the first black student at old met, jane merida attends de wafter mississippi on the one man march to prove that a black person can walk through mississippi and be safe. on the second day of this march, meredith is going to be shot down and seriously injured, and stokley carmichael and martin luther king jr. are going to attempt to resume the meredith march and it is going
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to become known as the meredith march against their and it is during that mertz stokley carmichael is going to unleash this phrase, black power. as soon as carmichael says this phrase black power, and remember carmichael says that after he is arrested, he is going to say this is the 27th time he has been arrested and it is all for civil-rights activity and what black people have to start saying now is black power. that very phrases going to scandalize american politics. newspapers, reporter's, journalist, pundits and movement leaders are going to be split over what exactly does the term mean. in the popular imagination, black power is usually seen as a movement
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that was island, was overly aggressive, was misogynisic, and mercifully short lived. black power is often accused of being waged by gun toting black militants, most notably the black panthers to practice politics without portfolio and threatened to drag down more promising movements for social justice. by the late 1960's, most historical accounts like power disappears from the american landscape, almost as quickly as it had first appeared. what i want to talk about tonight, and that is really like a preface for this talk, what i want to talk about tonight is really historicizing black power, going away from polemics, going away from assumptions and really following the evidence. historians really are like csi investigators. what
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we do for a living is to follow the evidence and that evidence that we marshal allows us to chronicle specific periods in history. now, where not journalists, so we also interpret and analyze. when we think about the black power movement, the evidence is all around us, in archives, fbi files, and among living participants who weekend interview and glean knowledge from, so this talk is really based on five years of research attempting to provide a comprehensive snapshot of the black power movement. to talk about black power to begin with, we have to talk about the early 20th-century, and when we think about the black power movement, we have to think about the largest mass black movement in american history, which is marcus garvey 's universal negro
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improvement association that really came to a high point in the 1920's. what is important for us about garvey, and garvey is some is that garvey is going to be a black political leader who argues that african-americans should utilize political self-determination to transform their state of being. for garvey political self-determination meant owning businesses, it meant education, and it also meant personal and cultural pride. garvey is going to be victimized by both internal and -- ineptitude and corruption and external indictments from the federal government. but the movement daddy helps to one leash is going to continue to reverberate throughout latin america, even during the great depression and
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world war ii years ago when we think about the great depression and world war ii years, these were years where radical democracy is progressing throughout the united states, and by radical democracy i mean in the 1930's and 1940's we see a multiracial movement for full citizenship that is going to stretch from harlem in new york city to the industrial shop floors of detroit michigan, to dixies cradle, a birmingham alabama, out west to the postwar boom towns of los angeles, san francisco and oakland. when we think about the 1940's, the key spokesperson for black militancy in the 1940's is paul robeson. paul robeson is the records and columbia trained athlete,
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scholar, and singer who uses his rich baritone to argue for radical peace movements all across the united states. paul robeson is going to be joined by the african-american luminary intellectual civil-rights leader, wvlt de dubois. dubois in the 1940's in his 70's. he is one of the founders of the naacp and had edited the journal, the crisis. he had broken with the naacp in the 1930's because dubois became increasingly radical. by dearly 1940's the naacp resuscitates dubois and really brings him back into the fold because dubois becomes part and parcel of the movements in the united states that attempts to connect anticolonialism are brought with antiraises some domestically. sometimes
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political leaders such as a philip randolph are going to call it a double v campaign,
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victory against racism at home and victory against fascism abroad. what is really interesting about the 1940's and 1930's is that the move to defeat fascism abroad really provides for some of the most robust the democratic rhetoric and alliances in american history, so we are going to see the liberal naacp align itself with the more radical council on african affairs, which is a proafrica lobbying group led by paul robeson. we are going to c w eighth dubois back in the fold of the naacp that had discarded him as to militant, all the decade before. two words that are really going to transform the freedom dreams that erupted in the 1940's and greatly curtailed them, and they also provide us the context for the modern black power era as well. cold war, when we think about the cold war, the cold war is really a hard piece through the threat of global nuclear warfare. the truman doctrine advocates a tantalizingly multiracial democratic movement in theory. in practice, when we
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think about the truman doctrine and its consequences, it is going to curtail freedom of speech and civil liberties and robust democratic movements for economic political and racial justice in the united states. .. discuss politics. robeson is going to be under virtual house arrest, starting in 1951 when the state department revoked his passport. he's going to be unable to the cold war is going to constrain the radical politics of the 1930's and 1940's. malcom x is going to provide a bridge between black political activists who come of age during the 1930's and '40's, the robeson generation, and a new generation of black political radicals. what's interesting about malcom x providing this bridge, is that as well, little in the 1940's, malcolm little was on the
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fringes of postwar freedom surges. malcolm little was a hustler, a thief, a convicted criminal, who spends six years in charlestown, massachusetts prison between 1946 and 1952. released from prison in 1952, malcolm little is transformed himself into malcom x, a muslim minister from a small religious nationalist set known as the nation of islam that had been inspired by marcus garvey's black nationalism of the 1920's. malcolm's connection with the nation of islam really provide him or brings him full circle. malcolm's father had been a garvey night and had been an advocate of black nationalism. and malcolm's biography claims his father was actually killed for his political activism in michigan. in 1954, the same year as the brown versus board of education decision, malcom x enters harlem. when we think about the period between 1954 and 1965, we usually think of that correct period of the civil-rights movement. malcom x is going to become the leader of
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a parallel movement with no name between 54 and 1965. that starts out as a local movement, expands into a regional movement and is quickly going to become national and international by the late 1950's. when we think about malcom x in our contemporary period, we think of malcolm only as an icon. we remember the spike lee movie in 1992 and we think of denzel washington breeding an audience, telling them how they had been bamboozled and cooled by white america. malcom x was much more than an icon. he was actually a grass-roots activist and political organizer. he's also an intellectual and a voracious reader, who as early as the 1950's, confronted american democracies jagged edges. and when i think about american democracies jagged edges what i mean by that is institutional racism, poverty, unemployment,
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illiteracy, a lack of opportunity. for malcolm, democracy's jagged edges require political self-determination. what's important for us to remember about malcom x is that even though he's part of a secretary in group called the nation of islam, for the decade that he's in that group, he is attempting to turn a secretary and or ramiro political group into a secular or expansive group. sometimes people will question and say if malcolm was so cosmopolitan, why didn't he lead the nation of islam earlier? my response is if you vote for a democrat or republican or any organization, do you believe every single thing that organization stands for? or articulate? no. you're a member of an organization because you believe that on the whole, the good outweighs whatever negative qualities it
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has. so what we think about malcolm x in the nation of islam i have to think the alliance with the group is always practical and pragmatic. between 1954 and 1959, malcom x is going to transform black politics in harlem. he's going to make alliances with radical journalists, political figures like the congressman adam clayton powell, jr.. and movie actors and cultural figures like james baldwin and lorraine hansberry. what's important about these alliances is that malcolm is going to argue that black liberation in america requires a political revolution that goes beyond the civil rights reform that's being advocated by southern civil-rights leaders most notably martin luther king, jr.. in the 1950's as well, malcolm is going to take important inspiration from global
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international revolutionary movement. none is more important than the 1955 afro-asian conference in been done indonesia. malcolm is going to argue that the bandung conference which attempt to form an independent access that is away from american stifled democracy and soviet-style socialism, malcolm's going to argue that notion of a ban on world can be applied to african-american struggles for citizenship in the united states. in the 1950's as well, malcom x is going to travel to chicago, detroit, los angeles, and other cities and meet with like-minded activists. detroit is a particularly robust city and rich city for these coalitions. black muslims started their first mosque in in
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detroit, is a muslim mosque number one is in detroit and malcolm's brother is the head muslim minister. but malcolm is also going to cot coalitions with activists like alan clay, jr. who is the christian minister who is going to later be the founder of black christian nationalism and is going to head of church which is called central congregation but is going to be renamed the shrine of the black madonna by the late 1960's, where a towering hero of an ebony mary
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and a caramel color baby jesus days down on parishioners. so when we think about malcom x, we have to think about malcom x has less of a political icon than an actual political organizer, who even during that correct period of the civil-rights movement is crafting his own brand of coalition politics. in late 1959, malcolm in the nation of islam are going to be unleashed to an unsuspecting national audience. and that's going to be via the documentary that's merited by mike wallace, we know who mike wallace is of "60 minutes", the hate that he produced. that the documentary is going to be broadcast in july of 1959 has a five part news beat series. now, is actually in africa while that the documentary is originally broadcast. he's in the middle east. he's 20 touring nigeria, sudan. what's important about the documentary that hate that produced is that it's going to announce the black muslims has really a group of black eight
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mongers. they're going to say they are practicing reverse racism. the talk about blond, blue-eyed devils. they say that white people are genetically predisposed to feelings of racism against blacks. but it's also going to illustrate malcom x's enormous personal and political charisma. and it's also going to have an unintended consequence. in african-american communities across the country, many are going to be attracted to the nation of islam's call for a robust self-determination. even if they are turned off by other aspects of the organization. so, 1959 becomes incredibly important for malcolm and the story of the black power movement. that same year war and hansberry's play a rising in the sun is produced on broadway. and lorain hansberry is usually not thought of as a black power advocate but i argue in waiting until the midnight hour that lorain hansberry's play is really a black power play. the
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protagonist of that play is usually thought of as walter lee younger, played on broadway and in the 1961 film by sidney. the protagonist from my perspective is beneath the younger. walter lee's 19 year-old sister and bettag is a feminist, a pan africanist and a radical democrat all rolled into one. because she's basically lorain hansberry's alter ego. when we think about moran hansberry in raising a son, what we see is as early as 1959 even before the formal start of the black arts movement in the early 1960's, orion hansberry through the way of raising in the sun as articulating an ideology and a set of beliefs that talks about black self-determination that argues that american democracy fundamentally has to be transformed if black people are too rajiv citizenship and connect that transformation to rapidly decolonizing africa. the
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third important defense and 1959 is going to be the cuban revolution. and the cuban revolution is precisely important because of the international dimensions that it brings to anti-racist struggles in the united states. occurring just 90 miles off the coast of florida, cuba for black radicals, provides inspiration that political change and political revolution is possible. in the early days of the cuban revolution, african-american radicals are going to visit cuba in hopes of establishing formal alliances. probably none is as important as robert f. williams. robert f.
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williams is the militant naacp leader from lonrho, north carolina, who in the late 1950's was engaged in a series of skirmishes with the plan in the tiny town of monroe, north carolina. lonrho had a population of 11,000 citizens, one-third of whom were black. and williams, as a resident of monrad, a veteran of the army and the marines and a formal industrial worker becomes head of the naacp of their in the mid 1950's. he sees very quickly that black people and monroe are under a state of siege. instead of becoming reticent at that situation, williams organizes and naacp chapters that attempts to desegregate the library, the pool and public accommodations in lonrho. the plan is going to target williams, his family and naacp members and williams is
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going to argue for self defense, what he calls arms self-reliance. now, not proactive violence the arms self-defense. the national naacp is going to come down hard on williams and suspend him for six months after in 1959 he says that black people must meet violence with violence in monroe, north carolina. in 1960, williams is going to take two trips to cuba. one trick is going to be by himself, and the other is going to be with the capri of black intellectuals, including a down 25 year-old leroy jones, later roca. carol chris, the author of the negro intellectual is also open to accompany williams. what's important about williams is his trip to cuba is the way in which eight reverberates across the united states. especially for individuals who are committed to a more radical interpretation of the struggle for racial justice
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in the united states. in september of 1960, fidel castro comes to holland. first black leader that he is going to meet with in harland is malcom x. this is very important. fidel and malcolm are going to talk and communicate through an interpreter for an hour-and-a-half and they're going to talk about the possibilities for radical pan african alliances between blacks, latinos, and african-americans in the caribbean and all over the world. now, is going to famously say that the dow castro is the only white person he never liked. but beyond that kind of the hyperbole what is important about fidel castro visiting harlem, is that even as early as 1968, we see the connections between revolutionary
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revolutions that are occurring abroad and black radicals who are really part of a local movement for black power in the united states. in 1961 the black power movement is going to really erupt for the first time nationally in a modern sense. and this is going to occur in february 1961 at the united nations in the aftermath of the assassination of patrice lumumba. lumber is the prime minister of the comco for two months in 1960. he's going to be deposed and and early 1961 he's going to be assassinated. africans are going to be the actual assassins, belgian officials are really going to place the order and there's going to be some cooperation with cia officials, american officials. african-american radicals in harlem are going to organize and disrupt the un's security council in february of 1961. and they're going to disrupt the security council
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when dozens of black americans including maya angelou, leroy jones, abbey lincoln are going to be marching in side of the security council up the same time that at least in some, the u.s. representative from the united states is speaking. 70 activists are going to take over the u.n. security council and this is going to make front-page news in "the new york times" and throughout the world. the law of the demonstration is incredibly important. even though alumax does not specifically appear at the demonstration, because the
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nation of islam disallows for over political participation, malcolm is going to meet up with the activists in the aftermath of la mumbai demonstration and he's going to tell them that he supports them, but he agrees with everything they have done and that he wishes that he could be involved in this kind of activism. malcolm is going to become increasingly, he's going to increasingly chafed at the idea that as a member of the nation of islam and as a
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political leader, he cannot be involved in this robust and activism. can i get a towel or something? it's a little hot appear. i think i'm perspiring at a rapid clip. i'm having a mix of the moment appear. between 1961 and 1965, between 1961 and 1965, malcom x -- excuse me -- it's the pitfalls of having a shaved head. [laughter] more poor's that exposed. between 1961 and 1965 malcolm is quinn to continue to lead domestic movement for black power. some important episodes here include the 1963 grassroots leadership conference in the chart michigan. this conference
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is going to take place two months after the march on washington and is going to bring together radical militants from around the united states in a call for radical self-determination. the freedom now party which is an independent black political party is going to be endorsed by malcom x and other leaders at this grassroots leadership conference. by the end of 1963, malcom x and the nation of islam are no longer going to be to get there. most historical accounts interpret the parting of the ways between malcom and the nation of islam on what malcom says in the aftermath of john f. kennedy's assassination. a famous quote chickens coming home to roost. complaints that he met the quota the quote referred to the violence that the united states was propagating all round of world being turned back on the very country that was propagating that kind of violence. basically malcolm referred to in promoting the fact that john f. kennedy
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had been assassinated by the very violence that the united states was unleashing at the bay of pigs and that by the very violence that was consuming civil rights workers in the south. elijah mohammed is going to subsequently suspend malcolm x and most historical accounts say the reason why malcolm was suspended and eventually the destination of islam by march of 1964 is because the '. i disagree. malcolm x leaves the nation of islam and is forced out of the nation of islam because of political and ideological reasons. throughout the 1950's and 1960's, malcolm x is trying to turn what is a very conservative religious nationalist organization into a movement that is robust that directly participates in civil rights activism and that is
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overtly militant. elijah mohammed is going to cut his losses by taking malcolm x of the nation of islam. it's not because of the remark he makes about john f. kennedy. by 1964, and the last year of malcolm's life, he is going to visit africa two times. the first, from april to may 21, 1964 and the second, from july, to november. during these visits and trips to africa, malcolm x is going to be increasingly pan-african in his orientation. he will argue that there are 22 million black americans in the united states who are not first class citizens and african leaders have to recognize that fact or else the revolutions that they are participating in africa become hypocritical. the pan-african framework or paradigm that malcolm articulates in 1964 is going to be utilized by black power activists in the late '60s and early 1970's. in innovative and
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creative and improvisational ways. 1965, malcolm x is assassinated on february 21, 1965 at the audubon, 168 street in harlem or spanish harlem, depending on how you want to interpret 168 st. or washington heights, really. malcolm's assassination in a way unleashes the formal start of the black arts movement. the day after his assassination, leroy jones, the poet, playwright, and militant is going to start the black art repertory theater and school in harlem. parts is an experiment that attempts to fuse radical politics with cultural production. jones is going to argue that in the aftermath of malcolm x. 's def, black art house to be political and it has to be informed by racial consciousness that interprets black americans as being products of a specific social, historical context. in the 1962 essay called the black is a country, jones argues that black
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americans have to take self-determination as something intrinsic to their very being and that they are part of a country that the united states has been pounding into their heads for 400 years, a country that he calls black. what's important about the black arts movement is that the notion of
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cultural politics of race is going to take on its own identity by the second half of the 1960's. the black arts movement is going to be informed by black power and at the same time, inform black power is going to inform black arts. in a way there's going to be a synergy between those two movements the proliferation of black self-determination in literature, and the arts, through black student unions and black studies all across the united states. now i want to talk about the classical period of the black power movement and by classical period i mean from 66 to 75, the period that is usually considered the high point of the movement. at the start of the stock i talked about stokely carmichael and stokely carmichael is credited with really unleashing that term black power in greenwood, mississippi on june 16, 1966. carmichael is a civil rights
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militant turned black power revolutionary. and by civil rights militant, and that between 1960 and 1966, stokely carmichael is one of the few americans of any color who actually bleed for american democracy domestically. and what i mean by pleading for american democracy is that carmichael believes in small deed democracy and that african-americans have the right, should have the right to vote, should have the right for economic opportunity, should have the right to safety, irrespective of skin color. he's going to join the student nonviolent coordinating committee in 1960, fresh out of bronx science in new york city. from 1960 to 1964 he's a howard university student and every summer he's committing himself to activism down south. he's going to spend the spring
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semester right after his freshman year he's going to spend almost eight weeks in mississippi's worst prison farm for participating in the freedom rights. that the rest in may of 19601 is the first one of 27 arrests between 1961 and 1966 for stokely carmichael. i preface my discussion on callable this way because bedtime carmichael says black power in greenwood, mississippi, he's experienced extraordinary things that most americans will never face. he's been a grass-roots organizer, living with share commerce and the mississippi delta. he's been an organizer small obscure counties like lowndes county in alabama. and for carmichael, he's going to write this in the january issue of the new republic in 1966 and the september issue of the new york review of 1966 for carmichael democracy is best etched in the faces of black
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sharecroppers. carmichael feels that its black sharecroppers in the delta and in alabama who provide democracy's best face and last hope. by the time he yells black power in june of 1966, he's come to believe that only through radical self-determination can the black vote be secured and achieved and only by black people interpreting their own destinies and identity can democracy be restored for all americans. when we think about stokely carmichael between 1966 and 1967, carmichael is not just a black power advocate, he's also the nation's be five leading antiwar protester. smick and stokely carmichael come out against the vietnam war early and often. schogol carmichael, not an, donnelley, who is going to innovate the chant hell no we won't go. before martin luther king jr. 's majestic april 4, 1967 anti-vietnam war speech in riverside church in new york city it's still klee carmichael and the fbi is falling. and actually, creating thousands of
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pages and bossier is on carmichael secretly and illegally to charge him with sedition and to arrest and incarcerate starkly, michael. between 1966 and 1968, the black power movement is going to be intrinsically stamped into the consciousness of the united states of america. through both stoke the car michael's activism and the iconic imagery of the black panther party for self-defense. and when we think about the black panther policy for self-defense, their roots are in the activism that carmichael was doing in moscow. it's an ounce county that carmichael and local activists started independent political party called the lowndes county freedom organization that was nicknamed the black panther party 1965 and 66. as late as 1965 in lowndes county there were only two black people registered to vote in a county of almost 3,000 people, where 80% of whom were black. two registered to vote. it is a county ruled by white supremacy, literally and figure. carmichael's attempt to bring
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indigenous rule to lowndes county is going to spark a movement that reverberates across the united states and that movement is going to find a particular expression in oakland , california among two activists huey p. newton and bobby seale who on october of 1966 are going to start the black panther party for self-defense. the black panthers are usually thought of as a violent anti-wide group. when we look at the panther's historic we what we see is that the panthers are like a surrealist painters attempting to real-world that they are imagining into being. there can to start off with a 10-point program that calls for full employment in the black community that calls for the end of the prolific incarceration of black men and women. it calls for land, peace, brad and justice and ends in a rhetorical forge that specifically quotes from the declaration of independence. when we think that the black panther party for self-defense, sometimes we think of them as only socialists or marxist or officially but there also democrats. they're also radical democrats arguing that
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the united states of america has to be radically transformed, if racial progress and social and political equality can be obtained. what's interesting about the panthers is that they're going to mix brio and bravado and belligerency with a more compassionate side. so the panthers become icons of a particular kind of revolutionary style and rhetoric of the late
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1960's, probably most visibly expressed by aldrich cleaver, sobel and ice by the phrase power to the people, all power to the people, but the knees those kind of rhetorical flourishes we see a group of young men and women by 1968, 69, 3 to 5000 all across the united states that are ultimately articulating a political ideology that sees the united states as a potentially restored superpower. and i say potentially because they are going to have huge criticism of the united states but the criticism is always connected to social political transformation. the black panthers and stokely carmichael become a very, very
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intriguing point of view in prison too few the year 1968. next year we celebrate or commemorate in some instances the 40th anniversary of 1968. and this is a particularly important year in american history. 1968, martin luther king, jr. is assassinated on april 4, thursday, april 4 1968 in memphis. bobby kennedy is assassinated a couple of months later. in february of 1968, and february of 1968, the tet offensive and vietnam really destroys lyndon johnson's chances of reelection. march dirty one, 1968, lbj announces he's no longer going to seek the democratic party's termination for the presidency of the united states. in may of 1968 we're going to see student strikes and protest all across the world. and the spring we see the uprising in tactless of akia and the proud spring. in july of
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1968 he vp newton is placed on trial for murder. and its newton's trial for murder he's going to be accused in 1967 of murdering and oakland police officer, newton is going to say that he was shot at. one officer was left dead, newton has a glut in the stomach and another is injured. newton is going to say it was a setup read his supporters are quick to say he's innocent and there's got to be a massive international campaign that's called a free huey p. newton movement. that summer of 1968 is an incredibly important summer. we're going to see newton and the panthers become iconic figures for not just black people, but the entire world. and multiracial icons as
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well. because we think about the black power movement, huey newton and the black panthers and stokely carmichael are going to be preceded by entire generations as transcendent anti-years. so we are going to find, radicals on the west coast. asian-american radicals, the american indian movement, native american activists. porter ricans, young lords in new york city. your went to find white radicals and activists, the young patriots and aspect of the new left and nds. when we think about black power there's a universal aspect to the call for black power by the late 1960's. there's a famous debate between the civil rights activist and soap carmichael in 1967 and ruston and carmichael are arguing the merits and demerits of black power. for ruston, black power really goes away from the universalism that's act core of his career
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and his political activist. carmichael's going to argue that black power represents universalism, universalism and black. for carmichael, that means that if black people have political power and black people are seen as human beings, then the reverberations for the world are going to be immense, important and prolific. by the late 1960's and early 1970's, the black power movement is going to infiltrate virtually all aspects of american society. a generation of black elected leaders all across the united states. mayors from gary indiana to cleveland, ohio, to an orleans, and atlanta are going to be elected on a tide of self-determination that's produced by both civil rights and black power. all across the united states we're going to see black studies programs and departments inc. universities
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like cornell, stony brook, brandeis university and all across the united states. the black power movement between 1970 and 75 becomes a movement for institution building and by institution building i mean we are going to see a neighbor roca and the congress of african peoples. we're going to see a movement to free and liberate west africa and southern africa, especially guinea-bissau and cape bird and angola and mozambique. we are going to see black elected officials such as congressman charnel stakes, richard hatcher, the mayor of gary, indiana, and amiri baraka
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formed a coalition whose high point is the national black political convention in gary, indiana and 1972. so when we think about this movement for black power by the 1970's it's going to come of age in a way that's profound, a way that has scope and depth and brass and a way that really transforms or understanding of postwar american history, the gerry agenda that comes out of the gerry convention calls for dramatic urban policies to transform not just black america, but urban america and domestic and foreign policies. i'm going to conclude, going to conclude this talk and bear with me here with the little five minute wrapup by talking about what does this all mean in terms of black power in american democracy? when we think about black powder, black power at its base redefines black identity and in the process, redefines american democracy. but in redefining american democracy, it also scandalizes american democracy. by scandalizing american democracy, black power in a very robust way challenges
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longstanding institutions. at times, threatens them. at times, threatens them. challenges the authority of long standing institutions in a quest to
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>> has its origins in the push for black studies and ethnic studies that comes out of san francisco state college and comes out of the activism of the black power era. the cultural expression that we still see, whether they are on hbo's debt poet she dreamt --
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, hip-hop, she dreamt we can connect those two just got haran, sonia sanchez, amiri baraka, the last poets, the last profits. groups that are originating out of this black power period. when we think about the black , in amovement pre-multicultural age where race shapes hope, opportunity, and identity, black power provided new words to shape new worlds. not only african-americans, for all americans who are committed to social, political, and racial justice. thank you. [applause]
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we are going to have some time for questions and answers. i would ask people who have questions to wait for the person with the microphone before you ask your question. [indiscernible] wanted to find out was what you felt was the influence of the freedom school and what role education played in the formation of that power? >> the freedom schools are ad hoc schools created in the south beginning in the early 60's. the freedom schools will spread throughout the u.s., both by snick, and other groups like the black panthers.
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they will have liberation schools. schools, the highlander folk schools, is a precursor to this. the freedom schools will be very important what the freedom , the great transcript of carmichael trying to teach basic reading and writing skills at these freedom schools. what freedom schools did in mississippi, alabama, the rural south, also philadelphia, and other places, was provide a of politicalkind pedagogy. the influence of the freedom schools was important. by the time we get to the late 1960's with groups like the black panthers, their liberation schools become more ideological than the freedom schools.
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the freedom schools attempted to show poor rural youngsters what they could do if they had an education. they didn't -- it wasn't an attempt to indoctrinate, per se. by the time we get to the late 60's, liberation schools are overtly saying these young people need a kind of racial consciousness and to know about malcolm x and marcus garvey. we will see the independent schools erupt in the late 60's and early 70's. malcolm x, liberation university. some of these schools still survive. institute ofhe positive education and third world press. those are black power organizations that continue to survive and thrive 40 years later. they were extremely important.
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don't be shy. >> two questions. maybe it's unfair to ask two. the black power movement has often been accused of misogyny. i wonder if you would speak about that. the second question, it will probably take another two or three books to answer, but can you talk about the demise of the black power movement and consequences as they unfolded for the next 30 years of no movement? >> no question, black power was misogynistic.
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at times, grossly so, no question. to historically conceptualize its misogyny, we have to look at two things. one, the larger context, in terms of american history, and see the social movements of this period were misogynistic. whether it's the civil rights movement, the peace movement, the new left, incredibly. there are certain black power organizations that have better track records than others. and the nonviolent coordinating committee is famous for being cal italian. aspects of both black and modern semitism come out with the conference in 1964, mary king and casey hayden. when we think about black semitism, third world women tonight's -- third world women's alliance, they are coming out of snic.
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it really depends on where you look. groups, especially certain groups of black nationalists, fell into a patriarchal mode of black liberation. black men were going to lead this revolution and women were going to be behind the black man leading the revolution. when we think about misogyny in the movement, it is there and present. at the same time, we want to give agency to black women artists baiting and shaping this movement. from that perspective, we see what somebody like sonya sanchez is doing, kathleen cleaver and angela davis. i argue during hansberry as early as the late 1950's. how are they shaping the direction and consciousness of the movement? ,ina simone, gloria richardson a saudi do hamer, who malcolm x oppose.
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misogyny is a major component. also a dialogue and confrontation that is challenging the misogyny. by 1970, tony cade edited an anthology, the black woman, it becomes a robust challenging. for certain male centered, sexist black power activists, the geography does not include women. black women like tony cade will say it does include us, and they will have a kind of black power feminism that doesn't see feminism and black power as mutually exclusive. when we think about black power and misogyny, we have to be critical, but also take of the complexity of that period. in terms of the movement's demise, it will be due to internal and external issues. thehe internal level,
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movement will have major contradictions, in terms of what it wants to achieve. some are talking about a revolution, that will mean even violent bloodshed. others say they want black economic empowerment. still, more say that they want independent institutions. there are other segments saying black elected officials need black power for them. internally, there is going to be major struggles. seernally, we're going to local and state authorities, and federal authorities, really have a hugely consequential impact. at times, we see that in the form of violence against certain black power activists, fred hampton and mark clark in chicago. at the time, it will cause black power activists to commit
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violence against each other. that becomes an example of an external and internal problem. at times, the very rhetoric of black power in some instances made it vulnerable to being coerced and infiltrated. at times, the rhetoric of violence led to aspects of that movement crumbling. >> you spoke about the black artists movement. you mentioned major figures. i wonder if you can talk more about the way in which forms of art were used by the black power movement to celebrate the general principles they
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represented? is going to be increasingly important as the 60's and 70's unfold. in a way, when we think about the black arts movement, it is going to have local expressions and national expressions. we have great new scholarships on this period. hereve one of the scholars , in fact. when we think about the black arts movement, i would start by talking about the poetry and the pros in a way. when we think about that, by the time of zero jones is talking about wanting poems that kill, we see the black arts in its expression and fidelity to a very specific notion of political and racial
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consciousness will surpass even the harlem renaissance, in terms of its expression, the multiplicity of its expression. provides aand prose context for institution building. when we think about black arts by the late 1960's, we see not only poetry and prose, but we see dudley randall and broadside press, third world press, an attempt to actually control the production of black art in service to a political revolution. black art will permit all aspects of black cultural production. there will be a mural movement, the black theater movement, a movement that attempts to argue that to think of black power and self-determination and revolution, one must think of the cultural production of the nation. it's interesting that i think
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black art activists thought of african-americans as a nation within a nation, different from the internal colonial thesis. in that sense, they felt the nation had its own cultural artifacts to document and connect with. africa becomes big, depending on the influence of specific black arts activists. notion ofanga's returning to the source. become very important. when we think about the black arts, i think the black arts at the national level gives us the expression, the visual expressions and iconography of the period that we have come to know. whether it's specific posters of baraka, the chicago wall of respect and the murals of respect.
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not just in chicago, but around the country. i think larry neal said it best, the black arts was the cultural expression of black power. for larry neal, the coeditor of black fire, the major anthology, the classic anthology with leroy in 1968. black power and black art went hand in hand. in waiting until the midnight hour, i tried to show the way in which culture and politics fed off of each other, that they were not mutually exclusive. >> as someone that studies the civil rights movement so in-depth and historically, i was wondering what your thoughts were on the jena six issue in peopleippi, where many
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say are reminiscent of the civil rights movement, including thousands of protesters one week ago headed by reverend al sharpton and jesse jackson. six is very important. incredibly important. incredibly reminiscent of the 60's and the 1970's. one of the things we forget very that after december 30 first, 1969, the 60's are not over. the 60's should be remembered as a metaphor. they don't start on january 1, 1960, and don't end in 1969. in the early 1970's, we will see real social protests. there are more people who protest against the vietnam war after 1969 than before. when we think about what occurred in louisiana last week,
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it's reminiscent of the way in which certain particular instances of racial injustices snowball and proliferate into that mobilization. what we saw in jena, louisiana is political mobilization. , ithis contemporary period doesn't have its organization between the mobilization at times. at the local level, there's plenty of organizing going on. great chance to travel around the country. i see local activists doing incredible things. at the national level, we don't see the same kind of organization that we had in the snic.ith groups like we certainly don't see the same militancy of a group like the panthers. as a teachablent
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moment to a young generation, a young multiracial generation, to see that even in their times, these social and political issues -- at its basic core, what is going on in louisiana is an issue of democracy. it's an issue of can american democracy be robust enough and invigorating enough to include all people, irrespective of for? the litmus test is always black people because the country is founded on racial slavery. it goes beyond black people, as well. very important, in terms of jena, that young people see they can participate. my students were very excited about that. many students all across the u.s. and the world found out about that story and participated in some way, even if they weren't physically there.
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now, we live in a world of virtual activism that is both good and bad. thesel activism allows stories to spread. at the same time, it leaves people to be too reticent about actively participate. you can become an activist just chance notgging participating. sometimes, you will have to participate. >> we have been talking a lot about the demise of black power. i was wondering your thoughts on the resurgence of black power, since we're coming to be in a more global world. especially of things like the concentration of core minorities in our central cities, and the rise of africans in schools. is it possible we are seeing a
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resurgence? or is it a stagnation of black power? >> in terms of resurgence of black power, we are seeing a resurgence on two different levels. on one level, it's an academic resurgence. the academy, and by the academy, i mean university trained historians and scholars, has really done a great job of really documenting and documenting the civil rights movement in a multiple number of ways. a much lesser job on black power. we see a newer generation of scholars who are interested in the period and trying to document it using the tools of a scholar. i would of politically, say we are seeing a resurgence of black power in certain locale.
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certain locales are having black power days, fort lauderdale just had one. in new york city, there are groups like the malcolm x grassroots movement and institute of the black world for the 21st century. they are examples of local black power activism. gleamed fromcan be this resurgence, and what i hope people get out of this, if you take the lessons learned from aspects of the shortcomings and failures of the original movement. context, there was a question about misogyny in the earlier movement that those who talk about black power in this contemporary context will avoid those kinds of pitfalls. era,inly in a contemporary with a super concentration of wealth and poverty, the
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aftermath of hurricane katrina. those images continue to haunt american democracy. when we think about black power, most often we write it out of the story of american democracy. i'm not saying all black power activists are radical democrats. there are some more feminists, black nationalist, marxist, socialists, liberal integrationist, some core,vatives, but at its it is part and parcel of this postwar american democratic experience. in its resurgence, i think it's connecting to contemporary issues that deal with race and poverty and democracy. in doing so, what we can hope to get out of that is a movement that really amplifies some of the best of that era while avoiding the pitfalls of its
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shortcomings and failures. >> you spoke about how hip-hop is influenced by the black panthers -- black power. how would you feel about today's mainstream hip-hop scene. in the 90's, there was somebody like tupac, whose most popular song was "changes." today, the most popular hip-hop song is talking about superman them --. do you think it is going backward? power's influence on hip-hop is present. certainly when we think about hip-hop in the 1980's, then influence we can see in a national context. groups like public enemy, songs like "fight the power."
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it was connected to the 1989 movie "do the right thing." we can see a very progressive vision. an, all these-cl groups talking about malcolm x. we had a rapper called paris who called himself the black panther in the 1990's. thec is a great example of connection between black power and hip-hop. kur, whoer was afeni sha had been in prison with tupac while she was present. she was attached to a case that became known as the panther 21, later acquitted, who were accused of plotting mayhem from new york city to new england. contemporary hip-hop is , extremelyorporate retrograde in a lot of ways. it's connections to the black power movement is probably a connection where it amplifies
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some worse aspects of that movement. certainly, contemporary mainstream hip-hop is not the only hip-hop. the fact that progressive rap artists like common can have a number one album, at least for a time, speaks to the different strains within hip-hop. istainly the face of hip-hop not a progressive face in our specific contemporary time. i think that there are specific reasons for that. specific reasons why the blackface projected throughout -- globally is the image of a thug. i don't think that's a black power legacy in that sense. i think it's a specific legacy in 2007 and its
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connections to corporate capital. the fact that so many young people don't have a memory of the legacy of the civil rights and black power era, which is why i think jena is so important. it integrates people to learn more about that period -- it integrates people to learn more about that period. >> could you explain the title of your book? >> "waiting till the midnight mid-60's, song circa motown. bookled -- i titled my that because one of my arguments is that the modern black power movement comes in the postwar period during the cold war period in the early 1950's. it's a period in america where
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midnight is ushered in for radical and progressive politics. moment, we seeme the seeds of that modern black power movement planted with malcolm x. in harlem and how they reverberate. it that because of that. in reading your book, a lot similar, on an ideological level with the rest of our movement in the caribbean. i was wondering if you came across any parallels or influences? >> when it comes -- i will speak about the caribbean in general, not just rastafari, although i think there are parallels. black power is going to
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influence politics in the caribbean. of blackbean influence power through the different activists, like stokely carmichael, who is from trinidad, certainly there's an earlier generation of caribbean activists like marcus garvey from jamaica and hubert harrison. different haitian, jamaican, west indian activists who tended to be more militant in a way at times than black americans. they were coming from all-black context in the caribbean. even if they were satellites of the british commonwealth and satellites of france, satellites of some superpower, they were relatively autonomous. black powerk about and its impact in the caribbean and in africa, we will see a huge impact. in the caribbean, stokely, go will be banned from trinidad, from much of the caribbean. there's a feeling that even though there are black leaders
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in places like jamaica, and jamaica bans activists like walter rodney, that these leaders are more radical than existing black leaders. eric williams in one context may be a radical as a prime minister, but there are other people saying they want a worker's movement and grassroots movement. give freeoing to health care and employment for all. from that vantage point, black power becomes something very frightening. most caribbean's don't want black power around them. .e will see that in africa, too by the time we look at the black consciousness movement of the is influencedo and impressed by black power as it occurs in the u.s. .here are some parallels the caribbean influence is a big part of this story, as well.
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thank you very much. [applause]
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