Black nationalism  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Black nationalism (BN) advocates a racial definition (or redefinition) of national identity. There are different indigenous nationalist philosophies but the principles of all Black nationalist ideologies are unity and self-determination that is, separation, or independence, from European society. Martin Delany (1812-1885), an African-American abolitionist, is considered to be the grandfather of Black nationalism.

Inspired by the success of the Haitian Revolution, the origins of Black and African indigenous nationalism in political thought lie in the 19th century with people like Marcus Garvey, Henry McNeal Turner, Martin Delany, Henry Highland Garnet, Edward Wilmot Blyden, Paul Cuffe, etc. The repatriation of African American slaves to Liberia or Sierra Leone was a common Black nationalist theme in the 19th century. Marcus Garvey's Universal Negro Improvement Association of the 1910s and 1920s was the most powerful black nationalist movement to date, claiming 11 million members.

According to Wilson Jeremiah Moses in his famous work Classical Black Nationalism, Black nationalism as a philosophy can be examined from three different periods giving rise to various ideological perspectives for what we can today consider what Black nationalism really is.

The first period was pre-Classical Black nationalism beginning from the time the Africans were brought ashore in the Americas up to the Revolutionary period. The second period began after the Revolutionary War, when a sizable number of Africans in the colonies, particularly in New England and Pennsylvania, were literate and had become disgusted with the social conditions that arose out of Enlightenment ideas. We find in such historical personalities as Prince Hall, Richard Allen, and Absalom Jones a need to found certain organizations as the Free African Society, African Masonic lodges and Church Institutions. These institutions would serve as early foundations to developing independent and separate organizations.

The third period of Black nationalism arose during the post-Reconstruction era, particularly among various African-American clergy circles. Separated circles were already established and accepted because African-Americans had long endured the oppression of slavery and Jim Crowism in the United States since its inception. The clerical phenomenon led to the birth of a modern Black nationalism that stressed the need to separate from non-blacks and to build separated communities to promote racial pride and to collectivize resources. The new ideology became the philosophy of groups like the Moorish Science Temple and the Nation of Islam. Although the 1960s brought a period of heightened religious, cultural and political nationalism, still it was Black nationalism that would lead the promotion of Afrocentrism.

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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Black nationalism" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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