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the Black Muslim World

The organization Nation of Islam began as a black nationalist movement in the 1930s, inspiring later groups.[10] Malcolm X is largely credited with the group’s dramatic increase in membership between the early 1950s and early 1960s (from 500 to 25,000 by one estimate; from 1,200 to 50,000 or 75,000 by another).[11][12] In March 1964, Malcolm X left the Nation due to disagreements with Elijah Muhammad; among other things, he cited his interest in working with other civil rights leaders, saying that Muhammad had prevented him from doing so.[13] Later, Malcolm X also said Muhammad had engaged in extramarital affairs with young Nation secretaries‍—‌a serious violation of the group’s teachings.[14] On February 21, 1965, Malcolm X was shot and killed while speaking at the Audubon Ballroom in Washington Heights, New York.[15] Three Nation members were convicted of assassinating him.[16][17][18]

After the Watts riots in Los Angeles in 1965, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee decided to break its ties with the mainstream civil rights movement. They argued that blacks needed to build power of their own, rather than seek accommodations from the power structure in place. SNCC migrated from a philosophy of nonviolence to one of greater militancy after the mid-1960s.[19] The organization established ties with radical groups such as the Students for a Democratic Society.

In late October 1966, Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale founded the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense. In formulating a new politics, they drew on their experiences working with a variety of Black Power organizations.[20]