Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Master of Liberal Arts (M.L.A.)

Degree Granting Department

Humanities and Cultural Studies

Major Professor

Eric Duke, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Cheryl Rodriguez, Ph.D.

Committee Member

K. Stephen Prince, Ph.D.


activism, Black Power, Civil Rights


This thesis examines a local activist group in the rural town of Belle Glade, Florida during the late 1960s and early 1970s. This research falls in line with many New Black Power studies. These New Black Power studies challenge existing notions of the Black Power and Civil Rights eras and their relationship to one another. It challenges the time frames, geography and ideology of both of the eras. This case study of a the group in Belle Glade is not the first to examine the similarities of the Black Power and Civil Rights eras, where many groups who affiliated with the Civil Rights Movement and shifted towards Black Power tactics, it does present an interesting dynamic of a group which self-identified as a Black Power group to an approach more associated with the Civil Rights Movement. The methods used in the in studying the COBY, the moniker of the group, included archival research from newspapers and city commission meeting minutes. Additionally, ethnographic research methods were also used in the form of personal interviews. This thesis will add to the scholarship of New Black Power studies by providing another example of groups in history which challenge existing notions of two distinct movements in the Civil Rights and Black Power eras.