United States History



Martin Luther King Jr. and many other Civil Rights advocates believed in a policy of militant nonviolence, or the idea that Jim Crow and racism could be defeated through civil disobedience, peaceful protests, loving your enemies, and self sacrifice.

The results of this policy -- arrests, beatings, and the gestapo tactics of belligerent police forces and racist government actions -- did not work for everyone.  Many African-Americans could not accept Dr. King’s desire to compromise with whites so that blacks could be participants in the American system, and instead they desired a form of Black Nationalism -- the idea that Blacks should have their own identity, culture, history, and perhaps even their own nation that is separate from white American society.

Many African-Americans became dissatisfied with militant nonviolence as a method of combating racism, and they began to embrace the idea of Black Power, an ideology that advocated for black separatism, empowerment, self-determination, and self-defense.

What differences existed between these ideologies?  What factors radicalized the African-American community to abandon militant nonviolence?  Who were the main personalities associated with Black Power?  Click on the links below to find out.


  1. Read Dr. King's words about militant nonviolence.

2. Read John Lewis' fiery speech criticizing government inaction and hypocrisy (the original version versus the censored version).

  3. Watch Malcolm X’s description of the reasons for Black Nationalism.

  4. Watch a segment of Malcolm X’s speech “Democracy is Hypocrisy.”

  5. Watch a clip from the documentary Black Power Mixtape (2012) that shows the radicalized nature of American society.

  6. Watch a segment of Stokely Carmichael’s speech, “We Ain’t Going.”

Answer all of the questions on your worksheet related to the links.

Beloved Community or Black Separatism?


Malcolm X Video 1

Malcolm X Video 2

Black Power Mixtape

Stokely Carmichael