The Black Power Movement emerged as a separate approach to the issues of civil rights and racial inequality. Those who were frustrated with the status quo, and with the slow progress of the non-violent philosophy, were often quick to back the more militant wing of the Black Power Movement. Some African-Americans felt very strongly that in order to change the status quo there needed to be a real physical threat from African-Americans looking to secure their fair share of power and liberty in America (Cone, 1997). Nowhere was this more apparent than with the Black Panther Movement. These people believed that the power that had been stolen by the whites during and after slavery needed to be forcibly taken back. The national response to this movement was one of fear, and many people saw the Black Panther Movement as illegitimated by the violence they so often advocated.
The Black Power slogan enjoyed a multitude of functions. It functioned as a call to arms for the Black Panthers while also helping to solidify black capitalism and intellectual attitudes in America during this time period. Many consider the Black Power movement to be a direct reaction or result of the Civil Rights Movement, and felt as though stressing Black Nationalism and pride at every level was, to a lesser degree, successful in changing the attitudes of Americans toward African-Americans (Cone, 1997). The impact of this movement can still be seen today. The culturally popular and change-affecting "Black is Beautiful' movement came from the Black Power movement, as did many of the cultural, social, and political attitudes that modern day African-Americans hold relative to their perception of their place in society (Cone, 1997). The Black Power movement helped to define "blackness" as a positive identity, instead of something to be ashamed of. It often functioned as a rallying cry for African-Americans caught up in the struggle for cultural equality directly after the Civil Rights Movement.
Cited: Cone, JH. (1997). Black Theology and Black Power. Orbis Books: Maryknoll, NY.