Origins of Funk Music

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In the 1960s it was a hard time for black Americans. There was a revolution being driven by two well know black civil rights leaders. The first phase of the revolution was driven by a young Islamic black man, Malcolm X, who was a spokesperson for the Nation of Islam. Malcolm X was adamant that blacks needed to take care of their own business. In the issue of black integration in American culture. Malcolm X had the ability to reach any one member of the black nation in America. This revolution was cut short on a sad day in February of 1965, when Malcolm X was assassinated. This left a void in the hearts of the people who he had touched upon in his revolt. This was where things began to get funky.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the revolution there was a young man known Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The revolution in which he was leading was a revolution rather different than the one of Malcolm X. Dr. King's revolution was one in which all blacks and all whites could work together. He spoke of this in his infamous speech I Have A Dream. Though the two leaders were rather different, they fed off each other's roles, which in turn provided possibly the strongest leadership since the Harlem Renaissance, until the death of Malcolm X.

After the death of Malcolm X the movement started to get funky. It seemed as though after the assinaition of Malcolm X, the revolution's focal point began to change. The movement began to head towards a more intense, and nitty gritty level. It seemed as though all the non-violent organizations such as the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, the Congress of Racial Equality, as well as the Christian Leadership Conference had little hold on what was about to happen to the movement. The death of Malcolm X brought a new direction in the movement. In a society of a violent system it was hard for young blacks to take charge in an non-violent organization, it seemed to be a hypocrisy. And the idea of tolerance was wearing thin for the whole generation.

Later on in the year, around August, the first of many large-scale riots began to break out. The first one was in Los Angeles, California and lasted for a little over three weeks. This single riot killed 39 people during its wrath of burning block after block. This riot was in a sense a sign of the new revolution to come, due to the song "Burn, Baby Burn" by the Creators, being played in heavy rotation on one of the Los Angeles radio stations. These riots sparked a investigation by the federal commission to study the causes of this riot. After that, rebellion became the current method of protest all across black America.

The violent method of protest lead to a movement know as Black Power.

The phrase "Black Power" was brought to the scene during a march on the roads of Mississippi. The march was know as the "Freedom from Fear" march led by James Meredith in the year 1966. "Black Power!" was a phrase that was chanted throughout the entire march. Soon after starting his march, Meredith was shot by sniper. After this, the phrase "Black Power" developed into a political manifesto, used by many black Americans. Following this, Stokely Carmichael challenged the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee to abandon its ties with its white benefactors and to take the philosophy of "Black Power." Carmichael had suggested this in a speech which he had given shortly after his release from prison. He also pleaded for, "black people in this country to unite, to recognize their heritage, and to build a sense of community" He advocated that African Americans should form and lead their own organizations, and urged a complete rejection of the values of American society.

After this speech the Student Nonviolent Coordination Committee severed their ties from the white community, in 1966. It began to advocate mainly black led institutions in the fight for "Black Power," no longer being referred to as civil rights.

The phrase "Black Power" began...
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