- some african americans :
fought against discrimination by challenging its legality
stressed social and economic improvement above other goals, such as gaining the vote
aimed for integration, while others aimed for segregation
adopted peaceful methods, while others believed more in violence and direct action.
booker t. washington (1865-1915)
- washington was famous for both gaining the confidence of white americans and his moral authority among african americans. he stressed the importance of african americans relying on their own efforts to make progress, stating that the key was to demonstrate responsibility, to become educated and to become prosperous. - he did not campaign openly against discrimination in the south, but received support from wealthy businessmen and advised presidents on racial issues. in 1881 he founded the famous tuskegee institute to train teachers, and in 1901 he founded the national business league to encourage african american economic enterprise.
w.e.b du bois (1868-1913)
- du bois' view was that an african american elite - the 'talented tenth' - would spearhead a movement for radical political change. he co-operated with white reformers in the national association for the advancement of coloured people (the naacp, established in 1909) and led marches and campaigns for equal civil and political rights.
marcus garvey (1887-1940)
- garvey accepted the need for economic enterprise and improvement backed by greater education. however, he did not pursue the line started by du bois (and developed by martin luther king) of achieving equality within the system. rather, he saw a separate african american community, aware of its african roots and part of a wider pan african movement, as the goal. his universal negro improvement association was the first large civil rights organisation in the usa and was said to have 4 million members by 1920.
philip randolph (1890-1979)
- randolph followed du bois' ideas and also took some of the ideas of economic development and rallied black organised labour to the cause of civil rights. he believed in mass non-violent protest and was influenced by the civil disobedience campaigns in india, led by gandhi. he pressured the government to end discrimination in war production industries in 1941 by threatening a mass march. this was the first time an african american leader had managed to influence policy substantially.
martin luther king (1929-1968)
- king took up the tactics of marches and mass protests begun by du bois and randolph, and had similar dynamic leadership qualities to the charismatic garvey. he also co-operated with white liberals and used the tactic of non-violence. king brought a new fervor to the movement and an ability to use publicity and image effectively. key moments of king's leadership included :
forming the influential southern christian leadership conference (sclc) in 1957
the march in birmingham, alabama, his arrest, and his 'i have a dream' speech (1963)
the march on washington (1965)
the march from selma to montgomery (1965)
- king was assassinated in memphis in april 1968.
malcolm x and the black panthers
- malcolm x was of the separatist tradition. he worked with the nation of islam to promote the african heritage and was a powerful and influential leader. the black panther movement developed from this - huey newton and bobby seal founded the black panther party for self - defense in 1966 with a radical social programme, calling for equality and armed resistance to authority and white hostility. malcolm x softened his approach in later years, particularly after his trip to africa and the middle east and completing the hajj (the pilgrimage to mecca). like king, he was assassinated. he was killed in manhattan in 1965.