With the act stating and supporting the abolition of slave trade passed in 1807 by the United Kingdom parliament, a rigorous patrol was put in place across the Atlantic to enforce and implement the role. Now even though the act did not stop slavery itself it stopped the continuous importation of Africans into Europe, America and the West Indies. Before this act and its implementation, the 19th century had witnessed one of the greatest atrocities perpetrated by man against his fellow human being. People mostly from the sub-Saharan region of Africa were being shipped to America and the West Indies as slaves they were designated to work on plantations and households owned by white men. They worked day in day out through inhuman conditions and if any slave’s productivity is not up to expectation or the slave tries to escape or the slave misbehaves he or she is beaten, branded, mutilated and even killed depending on the crime.
Sexual abuse was also a dominant factor in slave ownership of the 19th century both male and female slaves were sexually abused by slave owners and handlers and if they resisted the might get themselves killed. Slaves were forced to reproduce and the children were added to the man power on the plantation even at a very young age. There are occasions in which masters and slave handlers fathered children with slave women, the children were considered slaves in some part of America while in some parts they were considered free. But it all depended on the conviction of the region.
The law guiding slave ownership had changed a number of times and there had been one or two slave revolts and the fully implemented slave trade abolition, slave owners had to improve the lives of their slaves by allowing them earn a fraction of what they produced this was so because they wanted to prevent the slaves from running away. Also slave owners went on to grant some of the slave’s freedom because of their dedication and hard work. They knew that a hopeful fellow is very determined no matter his situation so they gave them hope for freedom. With all the adjustment and restructuring, journals written by former slaves states through deferent accounts that the slave owners were strongly advised to instill fear in their slaves, to create a sense of personal inferiority, and deprive the black man access to education because if the black man gets an education he might decide to revolt because of the knowledge he poses so the only way to prevent that was to refuse him education.
The hopes of freedom started materializing when some slaves earned their freedom through the good will of their masters who allowed them to buy of their freedom with savings from their earnings over the years, others were granted freedom because of their obedience and loyalty, But a whole lot more found freedom by escaping through the underground rail road’s through the assistance of abolitionist who were sympathetic to plight of the black man. Also the 13 amendment of Abraham Lincoln in 1865, the reconstruction act of (1865-1877) And other factors lead to these slaves becoming free men and women.
But then what is the meaning of freedom if you are not allowed to shape your destiny as a race? The above concern had formed the basis for the foundation of the human right activities of the 1960s and 1970s. and it’s believed to still part of the reasons people come together to speak their minds on race issues around the globe, most especially as it relates to the black man and his need for self-determination that is both politically and socially.
The concept of Black power is predominantly associated with the African American society and their struggle against racism in a racially unbalanced society, the term was associated with the black movement because it was advocating for total freedom to decide how they wanted their political, social, and economic future to be like.
The early African American human right activist who became a voice for the black people living in America believed that the African American population deserved more than it was given, so they primarily were demanding for rights to vote for people who were going to represent them, people who could present policies that will benefit the African American population, they were demanding for better housing and healthcare, they wanted qualitative education for their children and equal job opportunities for their young men and women.
Throughout the history of Black power there has been no exclusive definition to the term; this is so because Black power meant different things to deferent people. For instance Wikipedia.com has an article that states that martin Luther king saw Black power as a term that has militant tendencies because it was not in total agreement with his non-violent resistance ideologies. On the other hand Wikipedia also outlined that Carmichael saw Black power as a term that will motivate black people to stand for their right and total freedom even if it involved violence, he also saw the term as a response to the slow pace of progress of the campaign against racial discrimination. Below are two popular definition of the term black power;
Dictionary.com defines Black power as, the political and economic power of the black Americans in solidarity, especially such powers used for achieving social equality.
Wikipedia.org also defined Black power as a political slogan and a name for various associated ideologies aimed at achieving self-determination for the African American.
Who then is the African American and how did he come to be? According to Wikipedia’s definition, The African American, referred to as black Americans or Afro-American, is an ethnic group of America (citizens or resident of the United States) with total or partial ancestry from any of the native population of the sub-Saharan African .
The racial struggle is still a factor to content with in our present generation because; racism today has taken a whole new dimension with sophisticated intellectual and institutional methods being deployed.
It is quite true that the African American film maker Right from the inception of film as a medium of telling stories have exhibited a certain level of awareness in terms of their race and culture, they have been able to pass the self-determination massage to their viewer through their individual film. Film makers like Lee Daniels, Tyler Perry, Spike lee etc. have been able to tell stories with African American oriented themes.
This study’s (article) intention is basically geared towards one fundamental question and that is; do the African American film makers understand the concept of black power as a concept for achieving self-determination for the black community and how have they been able to visually show it.
– See more at: http://wythuzprojekt.com/african-american-film-makers/#sthash.3b3tdULN.3qj7vP0o.dpuf