© 2016 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.
Civil Rights Movement: "Black Power" Era

Civil Rights Movement: "Black Power" Era

Challenges & Opportunities

Available to teachers only as part of the Civil Rights Movement: "Black Power" Era Teacher Pass

Civil Rights Movement: "Black Power" Era Teacher Pass includes:

  • Assignments & Activities
  • Reading Quizzes
  • Current Events & Pop Culture articles
  • Discussion & Essay Questions
  • Challenges & Opportunities
  • Related Readings in Literature & History

Sample of Challenges & Opportunities

In 1963, civil rights activists celebrated the vision of racial harmony voiced by Martin Luther King at the March on Washington. Within just a few years, a different movement had emerged with a more militant, less optimistic message. The transition from the one movement to the other opens up several opportunities for inquiry.

  • Did something go wrong?
  • Was the federal government too slow to respond to the demands of the "peaceful" civil rights movement?
  • Or was this second "black power" phase inevitable?
  • Would racial progress have advanced more smoothly if King's vision had continued to define the movement?
  • Or had this approach done all that it could? Had this movement reached it limit?

There's a lot to consider here, and as you explore these questions, you will have the opportunity to encourage your students to take a hard and fair look at the participants in this phase of the movement. They have been both romanticized and vilified, which will make your discussion all the more lively.

Tense Topics & Modern Connections

Lively discussions are a good thing, but it's important to note that emotions can run high when you take on issues of race and discrimination. Setting boundaries up front to make sure all comments are respectful could be a good strategy.

Current events, such as deaths of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Eric Garner, and Freddie Gray, and the emergence of the Black Lives Matter movement, will surely add fuel to an already fiery discussion topic, but these events will also provide you a modern connection to the Black Power Era. Many of the questions you may ask your students about that time can be adapted to address these contemporary happenings.