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Carmichael, Stokely

Page history last edited by PBworks 16 years, 2 months ago


Stokely Carmichael





Quick Facts

Birth  June 29, 1941
Hometown  Trinidad, Port of Spain
Occupation  Black Rights Activist
Death  November 15, 1998


In a land where African Americans were sadly downtrodden, a wave of noise for black rights was rising.  Blacks were now allowed to die for their country in war.  They were even playing in the major leagues of baseball (see Jackie Robinson).  They were citizens of the United States of America, yet they were still considered inferior.  This would become a thing of the past.  The 1960's brought a huge amount of leaders to the front of the war against racism.  One of these leaders, Stokely Kwame Ture Carmichael, would even go so far as to suggest that whites and not blacks were in fact the inferior race.  His life was a battle for the end of racial persecution.



The Life of a Leader


Early Life

Stokely Carmichael was born in a Port of Spain, but his parents moved with him eleven years later to New York.  During his time in New York, his family interacted with the middle class white families in the area.  Carmichael did not yet know that he would eventually shun the whites with whom his family now lived with.  It didn't take long for this realization to settle in.  While he was attending Howard University in the early 1960's he began to show an interest in the Civil Rights Movement.  He rode in the first freedom rides that swept the nation.  Because of these rides, he and his colleagues were often beaten and arrested.  He served his first jail time in Mississippi during this time period.  It would not be the last time he found himself behind bars.


A Leader Emerges

In 1964, Carmichael participated in the project called Freedom Summer.  Because of these efforts, along with the efforts of Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson, The Civil Rights Act of 1964 became law on July 2.   Shortly after this, in 1966, Carmichael was named the national chairman for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC).  As a leader of a major civil rights activist group, he took part in the freedom marches led by Martin Luther King Jr. and other black leaders of the time in the summer of 1966.  Towards the end of this march he was arrested and jailed for the twenty-seventh time of his life.  When he was released a few days later, he made the speech that made him famous.  This speech became known as Carmichael's "Black Power" speech.  In this speech he basically called for the end of persecution of non-whites around the world, as well as establishing his radical thinking of completely disowning whites as leaders (or as anything involving blacks for that matter).  One year later he teamed up with a fellow black activist, Charles Hamilton, and wrote a book based upon the idealogy of black power.  Finally, in 1968, he had become too racist against whites to remain in a nonviolent organization, so he moved his loyalty from the SNCC to the Black Panthers.  In this group he was named the "honorary prime minister."  Even these radicals weren't extreme enough for Carmichael, however, because he split with them on the basis that they allowed radical whites to join their movement.  During this time period Carmichael emphasized a rejection of all white culture and criticized others, including Martin Luther King Jr., for their non-violent stances on the Civil Rights Movement.





Radical Aversion to American Culture

Stokely Carmichael was officially against everything white in America or anywhere else.  Many black leaders accused him of "reverse racism."  Carmichael maintained that Africans around the world would only have peace if they returned to their homeland and had a socialist community there- free of white persecution.  However, he could not make the move until after his passport was returned to him, for it had been confiscated at the start of the Vietnam War for speaking out against American involvement.  When it was returned he did indeed move to Guinea and changed his name to Kwame Ture, in honor of two African leaders of his new home.  He worked as an aide to the Guinean prime minister, which caused his arrest in 1984 by Guinea's new military leaders.  This was his last stint in prison and it only lasted for three days.  He then died fourteen years later of cancer, still a believer in the African Revolution that never occured.





Why Stokely Carmichael Matters


Historical Impact

Stokely Carmichael is listed with other infamous black activists such as Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcom X.  He was a radical leader in a time when the United States of America and the world needed radical change with regards to racism.  He coined the terms "black power" and "black beauty."  He was a very influential leader who lead two important factions of the Civil Rights Movement, the SNCC and the Black Panther Party.  Without leaders like him, the United States could very well have remained separated by black and white to this day.  It has been said that Stokely Carmichael lived a poor life while still raising much needed financial support for the cause that he was so dedicated to.


How We Remember Stokely Carmichael


    • The lack of segregation itself is attributed partly to this man.  He was a leader of the SNCC during the peace marches that helped bring about the passage of the Civil Rights Act into law.
    • "Black Power" and the "Black Beauty" are terms associated with Carmichael


Stokely Carmichael Worksheet




Back to List of Prominent Individuals



Page created by: Jim R.

Avon High School, Avon, Indiana

Date created: April 6, 2008




Comments (6)

Anonymous said

at 7:10 am on Apr 7, 2008

The introduction was awesome, it really caught my attention and made me really interested to read more about your individual. I like the paragraphs on the page, all of it looked very clean and organized. I also like the first picture, very catchy.

Anonymous said

at 7:13 am on Apr 7, 2008

I really like your page. I can tell that you put alot of time in your page, your links are good too. I wish I could see what the video is.

Anonymous said

at 7:14 am on Apr 7, 2008

The opening picture instantly made me want to read your wiki. You had very good, in depth information about what Carmichael stood for and what he was against. The organization was great, and your wiki was very easy to follow.

Anonymous said

at 7:21 am on Apr 7, 2008

The introduction and the historical impact sections were really good at presenting the information in an interesting way. The wiki was easy to follow and informative.

Anonymous said

at 7:03 am on Apr 10, 2008

Great organization! Your wiki was very informative, without being overbearing. You really championed this project!

Anonymous said

at 7:22 am on Apr 10, 2008

Like always, you overachieved on this project Jim. Carmichael's impact on history is clear. You tied him well to Jackie Robinson. The only suggestion I can make is to include links to Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, and maybe even Howard University.

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