We must never let the sun set on the children of Africa.Decades later, this movement is still alive, yet not as prominent in mainstream media. It has shifted to the individual development rather than mass inspiration. And in responding to its environment, it has focused more heavily on black feminism.
Feminism has traditionally been an area of progressivism primarily for the white, economically privileged woman. Therefore, black feminism came about as a challenge to this narrative. Yet, unfortunately, women of colour are still a long way from combatting discrimination. The idea of ‘herstory’ springs to mind. Prominent women in the movement have often been overshadowed by the most dynamic actions of men. For example, Rosa Parks is remembered as the women that defiantly sat on a segregated bus. Martin Luther King Jr was the man responsible for starting and leading the Civil Rights movement. Although the movement had already begun in 1954 with the Brown v the Board of Education, Topeka case, Parks’ actions were the catalyst for radical change. She had been a member of the SNCC and was instrumental in organising rallies, the Montgomery Bus boycott and the appointment of Dr King as a leader. Yet her achievements are often remembered in isolation. This is why black women need black feminism as a way of asserting their capabilities primarily within the black community so that they are not reduced to just ‘Mothers of the Movement’.
The empowerment of women could lead to greater socio-economic status. Before Dr King was assassinated, he focused his attention on the economic plight of African Americans. Unfortunately, progress in this area has been plateaued. A proportion of black people continue to live in the cycle of poverty, and in order to solve this, fundamental economic policy changes are needed. But, the stereotypes linked to the economic situation of black people are more damaging to the credibility of the movement.
There is no doubt that significant progress has been made – many have sacrificed for the cause; however the goal of total equality has not yet been achieved. In order to reach it, we must start by breaking the internal segregation and discrimination in the black community, whilst simultaneously encouraging an atmosphere of pride of our blackness, especially among the young. Our history must never cease to be narrated and it must never make us uncomfortable. We must celebrate the rich diversity through many mediums such as Black History Month.
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