black power

noun, often capitalized B&P

Definition of black power

: the mobilization of the political and economic power of American blacks especially to compel respect for their rights and improve their condition

Examples of black power in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

When, in the late 1960s, the counter-culture began to bloom – black power, gay lib, women’s lib – drag followed suit. Joey Nolfi,, "See RuPaul, Bianca Del Rio, more in exclusive excerpts from Drag: The Complete Story book," 16 Sep. 2019 In another evocative dual portrait, circa 1966, Tames caught Rep. Adam Clayton Powell Jr. and black power activist Stokely Carmichael sharing a private laugh in the white marble corridors of the Rayburn House Office Building. WSJ, "‘In Mid-Sentence’ Review: An Ad Hoc Genre," 18 June 2019 Then, during the black power movement of the ’60s and ’70s, natural hair became a front-and-center statement. Collier Meyerson, WIRED, "The YouTubers Who Changed the Landscape for #NaturalHair," 18 June 2019 While standing on the podium during the medal ceremony, both men raised their fists in a black power salute that famously sparked outrage and ostracized them from the Olympics community. Aja Romano, Vox, "Beyoncé and Jay–Z paid tribute to black athletes — and black power — for Halloween," 1 Nov. 2018 That honor goes to Beyoncé’s couple’s costume with Jay Z, and their tribute to famous black athletes — and one famous black power moment. Aja Romano, Vox, "Beyoncé and Jay–Z paid tribute to black athletes — and black power — for Halloween," 1 Nov. 2018 The black power and radical feminist movements, along with the culture of protest among young people and students, provided models for revolutionary organizing in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Sascha Cohen, Smithsonian, "How Gay Activists Challenged the Politics of Civility," 10 July 2018 Her Coachella salute to black colleges and Greek life included an outfit that featured a purple-and-silver crest with images of Queen Nefertiti, a black bee, a black power fist, and a black panther. Elizabeth Wellington,, "For this Penn class that studies Beyoncé, Beychella was like an epic final exam," 17 Apr. 2018 Tommie Smith, the 1963 state winner in the 440, won the gold medal in the 200 meters at the 1968 Olympics and everlasting fame for his black power salute alongside John Carlos during the national anthem on the victory stand. Jerry Soifer,, "100 years of the state track meet: from future Olympic heroes to Johnny Mathis, a tapestry of talent," 29 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'black power.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of black power

1954, in the meaning defined above

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Last Updated

20 Sep 2019

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The first known use of black power was in 1954

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black power


English Language Learners Definition of black power

: the use of political and economic power by African-Americans especially as part of a social movement to promote equality and racial justice in the 1960s

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