For much of its seven-year existence, the Black Lives Matter movement has been seen by many Americans as a divisive, even radical force.
“When we started Black Lives Matter, it was really to have a larger conversation around this country about its relationship to black people,” said Patrisse Cullors, one of three black women who founded the Black Lives Matter Global Network, with chapters throughout the U.S. and in Britain and Canada.
Many Black Lives Matter activists feared it was a repeat of the Cointelpro era, when the FBI illegally conducted surveillance and sabotage against civil rights groups and other organizations suspected of having links to the Communist Party in the 1950s and ’60s.
Malik Shabazz, president of Black Lawyers for Justice, praised “Black lives matter” as “one of the most brilliant and creative phrases of our generation,” one that has won acceptance well beyond the movement.
“All Lives Matter,” from the start, angered some black activists who said it minimized the entrenched racism faced by black people.