An analysis of African American, feminist, and native American movements in the 1960s and 1970s
Johnson, Russell L.
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The purpose of the theses is to illustrate the analogy among African American, feminist, and Native American protest movements of the 1960s and 1970s in the United States, and particularly to examine the division between nonviolent/legal and militant/cultural approaches within each movement. The thesis uses primary and secondary sources to examine to what extent the black protest movement ideologically influenced feminism and Native American activism. Published document collections of the black civil rights movement, women’s movement, and Native American activism of the 1960s and 1970s, memoirs of participants, and movement manifestos comprise the bulk of the primary sources. An examination of the emergence of modern feminism and Native American activism against the backdrop of the black civil rights movement reveals that the resurgence of feminism and Indian activism in the 1960s and 1970s coincided with the black civil rights movement and reflected certain intersections with it as well as divergences from it. The black civil rights movement altered and expanded American politics by providing American women and American Indians with organizational and tactical models, along with ideas, inspiration, and confidence. The protests of these three groups are uniquely important because by protesting for a society in which the quality of human spirit is measured by standards of personal dignity, potential and performance rather than by arbitrary culturally imposed standards of place and role they helped America to live up to its democratic ideals.