Has Black Nationalism Influenced the BTM?
Black Nationalism is a political and social movement, more prominent in the 1960s and early 1970s in the USA among some African-Americans. This movement can be traced back to Marcus Garvey’s UNIA of the 1920s, which sought to acquire economic power and to infuse into black Americans, a sense of community; the feeling of belonging to a group as well as group psychology.
Many adherents to Black Nationalism assumed the eventual creation of a Separate Black nation by African-Americans. As an alternative to being assimilated by the American Nation which is predominantly white, black nationalists sought to maintain and promote their separate identity as a people of black ancestry.
With such slogans as « Black Power » and « Black is Beautiful », they also sought to inculcate a sense of pride among black people as a global diaspora. Marcus Garvey firmly believed that « if you’re black, you’re African and if you’re white, you’re European ».
Black nationalist adherents were aware that their rights were ignored and denied, most of the world over. They were unable to relate to the American Nation’s ideology which basically ignored black people’s rights in most respects. As the saying goes, ‘if you don’t know where you are going, go back to where you come from.’ In this framework, we can assume that black leaders like William Monroe Trotter, W.Du Bois, or Marcus Garvey were inspired by the idea from the book of Exodus.
As mentioned in the Bible, Moses took his people to the Promised Land. Those leaders’ aim was to instill in black people as a race, a sense of pride. This sense of pride could easily be stripped away from these people without the other key component to nationhood, economic power among black. So, from the underpinning of these 2 principles, here we have the birth of black nationalism.
In the time of Marcus Garvey, black nationalism positively affected the lives of black people in the sense that they recaptured the identity they had lost during slavery times.
As previously stated, the Black Nationalist Movement gave Black-Americans and Black people globally, a feeling of belonging to a group and a sense of belonging to a community. These elements are crucial to the life of the individual.
As an example, we can take the idea of the creation of Liberia in West Africa (with the city of Freetown as its capital ). To this West African state, the Black Nationalist movement focused on the resettlement of 12 Million former slaves. The goal for these settlers was to return to their roots under the guidance of devoted leaders such as Garvey and men of the same thinking.
The idea of black nationalism still benefits black people in the modern era. This is because it has inspired many movements and organizations throughout the world. Nowadays, black people from all over the world unite, work and denounce the oppression that they undergo on a daily basis. «A prime, contemporary example of this is the Black lives matter movement.
Garvey’s Black Star Line was a Shipping company that established trade and business between America, Africa, and the Caribbean islands. Garvey’s shipping line could facilitate transactions for Black people who in a daily context would be placed under numerous restrictions.
One can assume that the idea of owning a boat was inspired by the « Arch of Prophet Noah »who symbolically wanted to preserve his people from danger.
The note on which we can end this piece is to say that black nationalism has helped black people, globally, to strengthen their self-confidence, sense of self-worth, and trust in their own ability.
Black Nationalist philosophy serves as a means of connecting all blacks, worldwide, to one identity, no matter where they may be around the World.
Article by: Kofaye Dakar,Senegal
Sources : Usatoday.com – History.com- Britannica- wikipedia- NY public Library ( Negro Moses) -Biography.com