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1960's

How did the Black Power Movement help or hurt the advancement of equal rights? As the 1960s wore on, many began to view the nonviolent approach of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. as ineffective. A sense of pride and self-reliance began to take shape,... As the 1960s wore on, many began to view the nonviolent approach of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. as ineffective. A sense of pride and self-reliance began to take shape, and the phrase "Black Power" seemed to echo the feelings and desires of the younger generation. Dr. King and his supporters feared that Black Power would only deepen the racial divide and alienate white supporters of their cause, which it ultimately did. However, those in favor of the new mantra saw it as a declaration of independence from white society and as a shift in African American consciousness. African Americans were beginning to unapologetically take pride in their blackness. This new departure from the nonviolent civil rights movement would eventually give rise to the Black Panther Party, whose primary goal was to protect the black community from outside racism and violence.

1970's

How important is access to quality education? Although school segregation had been outlawed by the Supreme Court in 1954, many children still attended schools that were racially divided simply because they lived in segregated areas. White schools... Although school segregation had been outlawed by the Supreme Court in 1954, many children still attended schools that were racially divided simply because they lived in segregated areas. White schools tended to have better funding and in turn offer a higher-quality education than those with predominantly African American students. Beginning in 1974, African American students in Boston were bussed to schools in white neighborhoods and white students to black neighborhood schools, as a means of providing an equal education to every child. This drastic change was met by outrage from many white parents, who threatened to boycott and protest this decision. As school bussing and desegregation efforts began to take place nationwide, many parents of white children began to enroll them in private schools or moved to other predominately white areas.

1970's - 1990's

How did the rise of Hip-hop impact American culture? To those on the outside, neighborhoods hit hardest by Reagan policies seemed to consist only of rubble, poverty, drugs, and hopelessness. Little did many outsiders know, within these urban communities... To those on the outside, neighborhoods hit hardest by Reagan policies seemed to consist only of rubble, poverty, drugs, and hopelessness. Little did many outsiders know, within these urban communities an entirely new culture was taking shape, one that would soon captivate the world. In the projects of New York City, young African Americans began to express themselves through their clothing, hairstyles, dance, and music in what would come to be a known as Hip-Hop. What began as an underground movement soon caught the attention of mainstream media, and the first Hip-Hop record, “Rapper’s Delight” was released in 1979. This new form of expression energized the black community by giving it its own voice. Hip-Hop would soon evolve into a worldwide phenomenon and provide African Americans with a platform to speak their minds and tell the world just what was taking place in their own backyards—the good, the bad, and the ugly.

1980's

"Excellence is the best deterrent to racism." Why? As a people, African Americans have made great strides in a relatively short span of time. Their presence is felt in nearly every facet of American life. Yet with so... As a people, African Americans have made great strides in a relatively short span of time. Their presence is felt in nearly every facet of American life. Yet with so much influence and success, it remains a shocking reality that harsh inequalities sewn deep within the fabric of this country still threaten many of their daily lives. In the 1980’s with the crossover success of figures such as Oprah Winfrey, Michael Jackson, and businessman Robert Johnson, it seemed as though race relations were getting better and the days of marching against injustices would soon be far behind us. However, in many ways, the new heights blacks reached in the 1980s were deceptive, and only a portion of black America was experiencing prosperity during this time. The rest were still coping with the impact of the Reagan cutbacks, the increasing rates of both unemployment and underemployment, and the beginning of what would come to be known as the “crack epidemic.”

2000's

What impact does the media have on public perception of crime? On August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans, Louisiana. Thousands of people, many of whom could not afford to evacuate the area before the storm, found themselves without food,... On August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans, Louisiana. Thousands of people, many of whom could not afford to evacuate the area before the storm, found themselves without food, water, or shelter. It soon became apparent that the overwhelming majority of those displaced were African Americans. Many watched their television screens as New Orleans residents convened in the Superdome in hopes of refuge and as the dead bodies of men, women, and children floated alongside those seeking shelter. After days of seemingly little to no progress, many Americans began to acknowledge what many feared.: that once again race and class affected the care and resources afforded to the victims; that because the majority of residents were poor and black, the country had all but forgotten about their plight and disregarded their suffering. The people of New Orleans quickly realized that they were on their own and began to do what they could to survive, including getting food, medicine, and other much-needed supplies from abandoned stores and homes. What some saw as basic means of survival, the media reported as looting, thievery, and criminal behavior. Once again, African Americans were villainized and misrepresented by mainstream media’s biased reporting and failure to tell the complete story.

2008 - 2010

How did the election of Barack Obama affect American Society? The election of the nation’s 44th president, Barack H. Obama, was a day that many African Americans never thought they would live to see. For those who fought and gave... The election of the nation’s 44th president, Barack H. Obama, was a day that many African Americans never thought they would live to see. For those who fought and gave their lives for the equality of black people, the victory seemed to be the culmination of their efforts and dedication. Because of those who came before us, younger generations can now look to the president and his family and believe that anything is possible. Obama’s election marked a defining change in this country, one that was long overdue. However, while many celebrated the progress, the election of President Obama gave rise to much hatred and racism that had often been swept under the rug.

2014

Why was the death of Michael Brown so significant? Racial profiling is one of the many tragic realities faced by African Americans on a daily basis. This bias can result in senseless deaths at the hands of those who... Racial profiling is one of the many tragic realities faced by African Americans on a daily basis. This bias can result in senseless deaths at the hands of those who took an oath to protect and serve the community. On August 9, 2014, 18-year-old Michael Brown was gunned down by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri. After the shooting, Brown’s body remained in the street where he fell for four hours. Amid the chaos, many bystanders took cellphone videos, which were then posted on various social media sites for all of the world to see. The shocking images brought back memories of generations past, when police and others stood by as the bodies of black men and women were left on display to terrorize the communities from which they came. Outraged protestors took to the streets and were met by what many viewed as an unwarranted military response of tanks, weapons, and riot gear.

2014 - Present

What role should activists play in civil right causes? For generations, the relationship between the African American community and the police has been tense to say the least. The mistrust from both sides has led to countless avoidable tragedies,... For generations, the relationship between the African American community and the police has been tense to say the least. The mistrust from both sides has led to countless avoidable tragedies, many of which have gone unchallenged if even acknowledged at all. The August 2014 death of teen Michael Brown displayed what many saw as an abuse of power by the police, as they allowed for Brown’s body to be left on a residential street for hours after the shooting. The country was shocked as protestors in suburbs were met by a militaristic response complete with tanks, assault rifles, and tear gas. With the help of technology, and social media platforms in particular, people from around the world gained an unfiltered look into just what was taking place in Missouri and across the country, where blacks were being terrorized in many similar ways. Created by three young black women, the powerful slogan “Black Lives Matter” unified the black community while reminding the world that despite America’s seeming disregard for the state of the African American community, black lives still had value.