Black Social Movements Past and Present: A Comparative Analysis of the Black Arts Movement and the Hip Hop Movement

By Cromartie, J. Vern | Journal of Pan African Studies, April 2018 | Go to article overview

Black Social Movements Past and Present: A Comparative Analysis of the Black Arts Movement and the Hip Hop Movement


Cromartie, J. Vern, Journal of Pan African Studies


Introduction

During the 20th century in the United States of America (USA), Black people developed a host of social movements to address social problems they faced. In the first 25 years of the century, Black people developed the Pan-African Movement, Niagara Movement, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), Moorish Science Temple of America, New Negro Movement, Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA), African Blood Brotherhood for African Liberation and Redemption, and Harlem Renaissance as social movements. Between 1926 and 1950, Black people developed the Nation of Islam, Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), Council on African Affairs, and Peace Information Center as social movements. The period between 1951 and 1975 saw Black people develop social movements such as the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), Alabama Human Rights Movement (AHRM), Revolutionary Action Movement (RAM), Lowndes County Freedom Democratic Party, Black Arts Movement, Black Power Movement, US, Black Panther Party, House of Umoja, and the Hip Hop Movement (Du Bois, 1968; Garvey, 1923, 1986; Newton, 1973; Carmichael and Thelwell, 2003; Ahmad, 2008; Rogers, 2009; Aldridge, 2002, 2005; Wobogo, 2011).

This paper will focus on Black social movements past and present with special reference to the Black Arts Movement and the Hip Hop Movement. It will examine the Black Arts Movement as a social movement that emerged during the mid-1960s and lasted until the mid-1970s. It will also examine the Hip Hop Movement as a social movement which emerged during the early 1970s and has lasted to the present. This paper will present a comparative analysis of both social movements and identify their goals, ideologies, organization and status systems, and tactics. The comparative analysis will include an examination of both movements' internal development in the form of the incipient phase, organizational phase, and stable phase. Likewise, the comparative analysis will include an examination of both movements' external development in the form of innovation, selection, and integration. In addition, this paper will address some implications of the Black Arts Movement and the Hip Hop Movement as social movements. The methodology employed in this study consisted of a mixed methods approach, including the case study, participant observation, and a qualitative survey. Research techniques included direct observation, interviews with people involved in the two movements, and content analysis of primary and secondary source documents. (1)

As used here, the term "social movement" refers to an organized collective effort by a group of people to address a social problem. This definition of a social movement draws on the insight of Theodorson and Theodorson (1969) and Jary and Jary (2006). Theodorson and Theodorson have said that a social movement involves an "important form of collective behavior in which large numbers of people are organized or alerted to support and bring about or to resist social change" (p. 390). Jary and Jary have stated that a social movement is "any broad social alliance of people who are associated in seeking to effect or to block an aspect of social change within a society" (p. 575).

The term "social problem," as used here, refers to a social condition that (1) affects large number of people; (2) threatens the values of an influential group of people; and (3) can be solved through collective action. The definition of a social problem draws on the insight of Theodorson and Theodorson (1969), Jary and Jary (2006), Ladner (1973), Lauer (1976), Glynn, Hohm, and Stewart (1996), Loseke (2003), and Spector and Kitsuse (2000). Theodorson and Theodorson have related that a social problem is any "undesirable condition or situation that is judged by an influential number of persons within a community to be intolerable and to require group action toward constructive reform" (p. …

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