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April 1968

"Black Power": A Failure for Racial Integration—Within the Civil Rights Movement

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Psychiatry, Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston. Dr. Poussaint was formerly Southern Field Director, Medical Committee for Human Rights, Jackson, Miss. Miss Ladner is now at Washington University, St. Louis.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1968;18(4):385-391. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1968.01740040001001

LONG BEFORE the militant segments of the civil rights movement began their rumblings about "black power," it was obvious, especially in the South, that a crisis in "black-white relations" was emerging. Although problems of interracial relations within the civil rights organizations had existed, these had always been considered part of the dynamic process of moving toward true racial brotherhood and unity. Until very recently, all civil rights groups (including Congress of Racial Equality [CORE] and Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee [SNCC] zealously championed black-white solidarity. In fact, SNCC had as its emblem a white hand and a black hand clasped in brotherhood. Other groups, including CORE, had analogous emblems or slogans. The anthem of the movement, "We Shall Overcome," was rarely sung without including the stanza, "Black and white together, we shall overcome." All civil rights organizations were solidly committed to solving any

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