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Scholars Day: April 15, 2009

Institutional Racism as a Transformative Device for Leaders of the Black Power Movement

Of paramount importance to any mass movement is the presence of a skilled and dedicated leadership core. The Black Power movement certainly had its share of strong leaders who operated across the nation, came from a variety of backgrounds, and were active in diverse political and religious organizations. By definition these men and women were true revolutionaries; demanding drastic and immediate changes in the way African Americans were treated by both the United States government and the nationís white majority. Regardless of their background, religion, or ideology, these men and women shared a common formative experience that led to their unwavering commitment to the cause. They all, at some point, were adversely affected by institutional racism. The life stories of H. Rap Brown, Assata Shakur, Robert F. Williams, Eldridge Cleaver, Elaine Brown and Malcolm X serve as classic examples of how institutional racism can be destructive and debilitating to mind and body, but ultimately act as a transformative device, creating strong leaders out of ordinary men and women. These revolutionaries chose to be warriors against racism instead of victims of it.

Presenter: Robert Hazen (Undergraduate Student)
Topic: History
Location: 123 Hartwell
Time: 1:45 pm (Session III)