The struggle for civil rights has always been one of the ongoing issues peculiar to human society. The unfair distribution of power and privileges combined with the discrimination of a certain social class resulted in numerous conflicts and skirmishes aimed at the improvement of the status and acquisition of new rights. War of Spartacus, the French and October revolutions, and a number of other civil conflicts could be taken as the clear evidence for this statement.
However, the evolution of society conditioned the appearance of more civilized ways to manifest dissatisfaction with the current situation and to attain the reconsideration of the existing model. The protests obtained the new character. Furthermore, the development of humanistic approach promoted the increase of peoples self-consciousness. In these regards, the 20th century could be characterized by the blistering growth of various civil rights movements that conditioned the significant changes in the structure of society and reconsideration of the status of discriminated minorities. The rise of Black Nationalism also results from these processes.
Speaking about the evolution of this movement, it is crucial to describe the relevant background. The 50s of the 20th century could be characterized by numerous significant processes in society that could not but impact the mentality of people. The Cold War conditioned the great tension in the international relations and resulted in the outbreak of the Vietnam War. This conflict became the turning point in the development of various social movements (“The Vietnam War and the Civil Rights movement” para. 2).
The unpopular image of this war, cruelty of American troops, and numerous war causalities triggered the growth of peoples dissatisfaction with the existing policy and situation. Moreover, being the democratic state, the USA still suffered from the manifestations of racism and biased attitude towards African-Americans (Morris 35). Therefore, this social group comprised the significant part of the US army and had to lay down their lives for the state that did not provide them with the equal rights.
The above-mentioned factors conditioned the cognitive dissonance related to the proclaimed values and the real state of society. People were not able to accept the fact that their basic values and needs could be ignored by the state that adhered to the outdated stereotypes. Using the advocacy of democracy as the cause of war in Vietnam, the USA was not able to guarantee civil rights for its own population (Morris 54). Moreover, black Americans believed that defending democracy abroad they would be able to receive it at home (Dierenfield 45). All these facts promoted the rise of dissatisfaction that turned into the mass demonstrations aimed at the improvement of social status and acquisition of certain civil rights. This movement became one of the most significant events that changed the history of the USA.
The fact is that there were a number of unique factors that conditioned the great significance of these protests and helped to attain success. First, the mass character of these manifestations obviously had an overwhelming impact on the US society. At that period of time African-Americans comprised about 10% of the states population (Mintz para. 3). It meant that 19 million people were not satisfied with their status and demonstrated their desire to change the existing model and attain reorganization of society (Mintz para. 7). Additionally, they all had the great expectations related to the results of their protests and their future. For this reason, the civil rights movement became the popular phenomenon that seized all states. Moreover, the new forms of the protest that implied the usage of various legal methods and involvement of means of media to highlight the most significant events also promoted the increase of the process significance.
There were several important stages of the development of this very movement. The initial phase began on December 1, 1955. Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat to a white man and was jailed for this action (“Civil Rights Movement” para. 6). This event triggered the a black community boycott against the existing rules and segregation. Yet, it was just the beginning of the great process. The scale of the new movement was so significant that it could be characterized as the revolution aimed at the radical changes in the society. Being tired of segregation and double standards, representatives of black communities started to realize their real power and accepted the necessity of real actions needed to obtain the same rights as the other members of society had.
Nevertheless, the importance of the above-mentioned processes is evidenced by the results achieved due to the involvement of thousands of people. The first obvious goal was the significant improvement of the state of black population and acquisition of new rights (Williams and Bond 87). African-Americans demonstrated their power and the role they could play in the development of the state. However, the civil rights movement also conditioned the drastic changes in the mentality of people which resulted in the appearance and evolution of Black Nationalism.
Defying the term, it could be considered as the ideas and movements that are focused on the achievement of separate statehood for African Americans (“Black Nationalism” para. 1). Besides, while the majority of African leaders worked in civil rights movements to guarantee the integration of black people into the US society, there were also attempts to promote black communities independence and power (Smallwood 2). Malcolm X and a number of other activists reconsidered the vision of the future development of society and came to the idea of an independent statehood that will guarantee African-Americans the same rights and privileges (Smallwood 2).
This movement became significant in the 60s while its roots could be traced back to the end of the 19th century. However, the radical changes in the structure of society and acquisition of new rights could be considered the factors that renewed the interest towards this idea and promoted its rise. One realizes the great role civil rights movement played in the formation of this ideology and its further spread. Having understood their real power and significance, some African-American activists obtained the desire to take it a step further and struggle for the complete separation and independence of the US society.
Altogether, the dramatic changes in the American society caused by civil rights movement triggered the rise of the ideas o Black Nationalism. Having realized the importance of struggle and being supported by some significant achievements, African- Americans activists obtained the idea of the creation of the new society which should be independent of the old one. In these regards, the changes in peoples mentality resulted in the acquisition of new and sometimes dangerous ideas related to the further radical changes of the US society.
Black Nationalism. n.d.
Civil Rights Movement. n.d.
Dierenfield, Bruce. The Civil Rights Movement: Revised Edition. New York: Routledge, 2008. Print.
Mintz, Steven. The Civil Rights Revolution: Interpreting Statistics. n.d.
Morris, Aldon. The Origins of the Civil Rights Movement: Black Communities Organizing for Change. New York: The Free Press, 1984. Print.
Smallwood, Andrew. Black Nationalism and the Call for Black Power. n.d.
Williams, Juan and Julian Bond. Eyes on the Prize: America’s Civil Rights Years, 1954-1965. New York: Penguin Books, 2013. Print.