Please note! This essay has been submitted by a student.
Although black power had the same aims as all the others in the struggle for civil rights, however Black power groups had very different methods to getting to their aim. The Black power groups thought much like Malcolm X and were driven by his methods. Of course it becomes hard to have both a peaceful protest along with a violent one because this then sends an unclear message to the whites. One idea the whites would get would be that the black people are trying to cause destruction and overturn the white superiority by force. Yet the other message they are getting is that the blacks are not willing to use any form of violence as they are above this. Of course it is more likely that the whites will listen to the more influential group. This means there is therefore competition between the groups and therefore rivalry on who can get more supporters and become the more influential group.
One of the main problems of the struggle for civil rights was the fact blacks could not vote. Although they were legally allowed to, no action was taken place to enforce this and therefore voting ballots could simply deny, through either intimidation or impossible questions which therefore make them ‘illegitimate’ to vote. Martin Luther King’s explanation to why this was so important was simple, members of the jury are selected from those who have been allowed to vote, therefore technically speaking on the whites who had been allowed to vote were allowed as jury. This meant that in court in a case against a black person, the white jury would more often than not accuse the man/woman guilty based on their race. This worked vice versa whereby white men/woman would too be pronounced innocent because they were white. This meant that white people could get away with the murder of blacks very easily, as they did very often. This meant that Martin Luther King was very driven in doing whatever he could to get President Johnson to enforce the law that blacks could not be discriminated against whilst voting.
One of Martin Luther King’s key points was that he was not using violence and therefore showing up the extreme violence the President was allowing to happen and in some cases making happen. This was so that the president and the whites in general would be able to self-reflect and realise what they were doing and therefore to feel as they should…more than terrible! However Malcolm Xs movement was only proving blacks could be equally as brutal and therefore disproving and undoing what Martin Luther King was trying to do.
In conclusion, yes the Black groups were in fact a harm to the civil rights movement because they were only proving to the whites that they could be equally as brutal and therefore not winning anything. Violence would never win anyway because no matter what the US government would be able to overpower the black groups with their weaponry before the groups even had time to grow they would be killed and to achieve anything.