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Stokely Carmichael (June 29, 1941 - November 15, 1998), also known as Kwame Ture, was a Trinidadian-American Black activist and leader of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and the Black Panther Party. He later became a Black separatist and Pan-Africanist.
Born in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, Carmichael moved with his family to New York when he was eleven. While attending Howard University, he joined the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). He participated in the Freedom Rides of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) and was arrested, spending time in jail. He became chair of SNCC in 1966.
In that year, after the sniper shooting of James Meredith, Carmichael joined Martin Luther King, Floyd McKissick , and others to continue Meredith's march against fear . He was arrested during the march; on his release he gave his "Black Power" speech, using the phrase to urge Black pride and independence:
It is a call for Black people in this country to unite, to recognize their heritage, to build a sense of community. It is a call for Black people to define their own goals, to lead their own organizations.
In 1969, Carmichael and his then wife, the South African singer Miriam Makeba, moved to Guinea, in West Africa, and he became an aide to Guinean prime minister, Ahmed Sékou Touré. There, in 1971, he wrote the book, Stokely Speaks: Black Power Back to Pan-Africanism. This book expounds an explicitly socialist, Pan-African vision, which he retained for the rest of his life. In 1978, he changed his name to Kwame Ture to honor Kwame Nkrumah and Ahmed Sékou Touré.
He died of cancer at the age of 57 in Conakry, Guinea.
- The only position for women in SNCC is prone.
- The first need of a free people is to define their own terms.
- You see that honky McNamara on television? He ain't nothing but a racist. He says, "Yes, we are going to draft thirty percent of the Negroes in the Army. This is where they can have equal opportunity. Yeah. Yes. . .yes it's true that they are only ten percent of the population, but this is a better chance for them." When that honky talk about drafting thirty percent black people, he's talking about black urban removal—nothing else. Instructional Resource Center, University of Washington
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