Black Power Ideologies

An Essay in African American Political Thought

John T. McCartney
Book Cover

PB: $34.95
EAN: 978-1-56639-145-0
Publication: Jul 93

HC: $54.95
EAN: 978-0-87722-914-8
Publication: Jun 92

Ebook: $34.95
EAN: 978-1-4399-0377-3

264 pages
6 x 9

Tracing the course of Black Power Movements from the 18th century to the present


In a systematic survey of the manifestations and meaning of Black Power in America, John McCartney analyzes the ideology of the Black Power Movement in the 1960s and places it in the context of both African-American and Western political thought. He demonstrates, though an exploration of historic antecedents, how the Black Power versus black mainstream competition of the sixties was not unique in American history. Tracing the evolution of black social and political movements from the 18th century to the present, the author focuses on the ideas and actions of the leaders of each major approach.

Starting with the colonization efforts of the Pan-Negro Nationalist movement in the 18th century, McCartney contrasts the work of Bishop Turner with the opposing integrationist views of Frederick Douglass and his followers. McCartney examines the politics of accommodation espoused by Booker T. Washington; W.E.B. Du Bois's opposition to this apolitical stance; the formation of the NAACP, the Urban League, and other integrationist organizations; and Marcus Garvey's reawakening of the separatist ideal in the early 20th century. Focusing on the intense legal activity of the NAACP from the 1930s to the 1960s, McCartney gives extensive treatment to the moral and political leadership of Martin Luther King, Jr., and his challenge from the Black Power Movement in 1966.


"An important study of the history of Black Power ideologies.... This thoughtful, provocative, and well-argued work is clearly written and will make a contribution to Black and American intellectual history."
Darlene Clark Hine, Michigan State University

"...deeply enrich(es) American historiography and take(s it)s place as part of what can be called a renaissance of interest in the study of African-American history."
In These Times

"Black Power Ideologies is a significant contribution to scholarship, for while there are hundreds of books on Black Power, this work takes the concept from the colonial era to the 1960s, and provides an accompanying political analysis to its historical development. McCartney's treatment of Black Power thought in the 18th Century is at once illuminating and path-breaking; no author has as yet extended the concept of Black Power beyond the 19th Century. This is must reading for those who wish to observe Black abolitionists and colonizers in a new and fascinating perspective."
John C. Walter, Director, Afro-American Studies, University of Washington, Seattle

Table of Contents


1. The Background to Black Power
Imbalances and Injustices Against African-Americans • Theories About Why Inequality Persists • The Context of Black Protest

2. Black Nationalist Thought in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries
The Colonization Movement: A Profile • Reactions to and Criticisms of Colonization • The Ideology of the Colonization Movement • The Tactics of the Pan-Negro Nationalists • Pan-Negro Nationalism and Beyond

3. The Abolitionist Movement
Early Abolitionism, 1645 to 1807 • Abolitionism from 1807 to 1870 • The Ideology of the Abolitionist Movement • Frederick Douglass: A Profile • The Political Thought of Frederick Douglass • The Tactics of the Abolitionists • Abolitionism and Beyond

4. The Politics of Accommodation
Booker T. Washington: A Profile • Booker T. Washington’s Philosophy of Education • The Social and Political Thought of Booker T. Washington • The Tactics of Booker T. Washington • Opposition to Booker T. Washington

5. Marcus Garvey and the Resurgence of Black Nationalism
Racial Equality by Integration: A Survey • Garvey’s Early Career • Garvey’s Later Career and the Garvey Movement • The Political Thought of Garvey • Garvey’s Organization and Tactics • Minor Expressions of Black Nationalism

6. Martin Luther King and Moralism
The Moralist Approach: A Profile • King’s Background and Intellectual Influences • King’s Philosophy of Nonviolence • The Political Thought of King • King’s Tactics • King and the Black Power Challenge

7. What Is Black Power?
The Range of Usages of the Term Black Power • Reshaping the Categories of Black Power • Commonalities in the Usage of Black Power • Martin Luther King, Jr., and Black Power

8. The Counter-Communalists: A Comparison and Analysis
Huey Newton’s Background and Intellectual Influences • The Political Thought of Huey Newton • Huey Newton and the Tactics of Counter-Communalism • Other Counter-Communalists on Tactics

9. The Black Power Pluralists: A Comparison and Analysis
Shirley Chisholm’s Background and Intellectual Influences • The Political Thought of Shirley Chisholm • Other Pluralists on the American System • Shirley Chisholm on the Obstacles to True Pluralism in the United States • Other Pluralists on the Obstacles to Democracy • Shirley Chisholm and the Case for Black Power Pluralism • Other Pluralist Visions of the Good Society • The Tactics of Pluralism

10. The Black Power Separatists: A Comparison and Analysis
Elijah Muhammad’s Background and Career • The Political Theology of Elijah Muhammad • Elements of Elijah Muhammad’s Political Theory • The Tactics of Separatism: The Black Muslims • Other Separatists on Tactics: Imamu Baraka and Imari Obadele I

11. A Critical Assessment of the Black Power Ideologies
The Paradoxes in the Goals of the Black Power Ideologies • Malcolm X and the Dilemmas of Black Power • The Life of Malcolm X and Its Meaning for the Black Power Movement • Black Power and Individualism • Black Power and the Intellectual • Permanent Contributions of the Black Power Ideologies


About the Author(s)

The late John T. McCartney was Assistant Professor of Government at Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania.