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Text Box: Kwame Ture
Text Box:  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 (SNCC) and the Black Panther Party. He later became a black separatist and a Pan-Africanist.
Born in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, Carmichael moved with his family to New York when he was eleven. He went to Howard University and joined SNCC. In his first year at the university, he participated in the Freedom Rides of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) and was arrested, spending time in jail. He would go on to be arrested many times, losing count at 32.
After having helped organize voting rights drives in Mississippi in 1964, in Selma in 1965, and in Lowndes County, Alabama in 1966, he became chair of SNCC in 1966, taking over from John Lewis. A few weeks after Carmichael took over SNCC, James Meredith was shot by a sniper during his solitary "March Against Fear". 

Carmichael joined Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Floyd McKissick, and others to continue Meredith's march. He was arrested during the march; on his release, he gave his "Black Power" speech, using that 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."
While Black Power was not a new concept, Carmichael's speech brought it into the spotlight and it became a rallying cry for young African Americans across the country. SNCC embraced this new vision and gradually became more radical under his leadership.
Carmichael saw nonviolence as a tactic as opposed to a principle, which separated him from moderate civil rights leaders like Martin Luther King, Jr.. He was critical of civil rights leaders who simply called for integration of African Americans into the existing institutions of white middle class culture. Carmichael saw this as unrealistic and an insult to the culture and identity of African Americans.
According to Bearing the Cross (1986), David J. Garrow's Pulitzer Prize winning book about the Civil Rights movement, a few days after Carmichael used the "Black Power" slogan at the "Meredith March Against Fear", he reportedly told King, "Martin, I deliberately decided to raise this issue on the march in order to give it a national forum and force you to take a stand for Black Power." King responded, "I have been used before. One more time won't hurt."
In 1967, Carmichael stepped down from leadership of SNCC. He and Charles V. Hamilton wrote the book, Black Power (1967). He joined the Black Panther Party and became a strong critic of the Vietnam War. He traveled to North Vietnam, China, and Cuba. Carmichael was made an honorary prime minister of the Black Panthers in 1968.
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 honour African leaders Kwame Nkrumah and Ahmed Sékou Touré.
He died of prostate cancer at the age of 57 in Conakry, Guinea.
Stokely Carmichael is credited for coining the phrase institutional racism. Institutional racism (or structural racism or systemic racism) is a form of racism that occurs in institutions such as public bodies and corporations, including universities. In the late 1960s he defined the term as "the collective failure of an organisation to provide an appropriate and professional service to people because of their colour, culture or ethnic origin".[1]
Civil rights leader Jesse Jackson gave a speech celebrating Ture's life, stating: "He was one of our generation who was determined to give his life to transforming America and Africa. He was committed to ending racial apartheid in our country. He helped to bring those walls down". [2]
“In 1967, Presidents Ahmed Seku Ture and Kwame Nkrumah, through the intercession of Shirley Graham DuBois, invited me to attend the 8th Congress of the Democratic Party of Guinea (RDA). They invited me to live, work, study and struggle here in Guinea, an invitation which I readily accepted, despite tremendous criticism from almost every quarter. Thirty years later, I still live in Guinea, working, studying and struggling for the African Revolution. And I will continue to do so until the last second, of the last minute, of the last hour, of the last day. And it is my wish to sleep here in Guinea, eternally. I could never be ungrateful to the People of Guinea, nor Guinea's and Africa's incarnations - Ahmed Seku Ture and Kwame Nkrumah…we remain Ready for Revolution!” Kwame Ture

Credit: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


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