Cold War

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Category: World History

Date Submitted: 11/27/2012 11:11 PM

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1960s: The Civil Rights and Black Power movements

Please note that this section is detailed and we have broken it up into 3 pages:

• Background (this page)

• The Civil Rights Movement (USA)

• The Black Power Movement (USA)

Use the page navigation on the right or bottom of the page .


It is important to note that South African events do not occur in a vacuum, as we are part of a large continent and a much larger world. Therefore, what happens in the 'North' has a huge impact on what happens here. For this section, it is important to understand the international background, and what the world was like in the 1960s. This will help us contextualise the Black Consciousness Movement in South Africa in the 1970s.

Also, it is impossible to understand what happened in South Africa (the 'small picture') unless we understand what happened in international relations (the 'big picture') towards the end of the 1980s.

During the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s, world politics was dominated by the rivalry between the Soviet Union (Russia) and the United States of America. This rivalry was called the Cold War.

The content of the new history curriculum is structured to help us to understand the interaction between the world, the African continent and South Africa.

Background information Definitions: What is civil society?

Civil society consists of voluntary civic and social organizations and institutions. Civil society is separate from the state, and from business institutions. Civil society groups consist of ordinary people who take collective action around shared aims, interests and values.

Examples of these groups include charities, non-governmental organisations, community groups, women's organisations, faith-based organisations, professional associations, trade unions, self-help groups, social movements, business associations, coalitions and advocacy groups.

What are civil rights?

Civil rights are the protections and privileges...