Stokely Carmichael
American activist
Stokely Carmichael
Stokely Carmichael was a Trinidadian-American black activist active in the 1960s American Civil Rights Movement. He rose to prominence first as a leader of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC, pronounced "snick") and later as the "Honorary Prime Minister" of the Black Panther Party. Initially an integrationist, Carmichael later became affiliated with black nationalist and Pan-Africanist movements.
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Stokely Carmichael's personal information overview.
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When 'Colored' Turned 'Black'
Huffington Post - 5 months
As a white teenage civil rights marcher in the 60's, I remember when 'Colored' became 'Black,' and suddenly I was an outsider. It was proposed that if we Caucasians could call ourselves 'White' and take pride in our various European heritages, former Negro slaves could call themselves 'Black' and take pride in their African heritage. However, with that Black and White distinction, an 'us' and 'them' mentality was also implanted. Black Nationalism I understood the concept of instilling pride in a people that had never known it, and promoting a feeling of 'community,' as Blacks began referring to themselves as 'brothers' and 'sisters.' But I had a problem with the 'Black Separatism' of Stokely Carmichael, advocating what looked to me like self-ghettoization. However, what 'Black Power' was actually advocating was a form of unionism. Like the labor union struggles with their corporate bosses, the American Negro was fighting for equal rights with the 'White' establishment. And ...
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Huffington Post article
The Distortion of Martin Luther King Jr.'s Legacy
Huffington Post - about 1 year
This past Martin Luther King Day, Donald Trump took the opportunity to pay tribute to Dr. King, who would have been 87 had he been alive today. As expected, the tribute was little more than Trump's usual campaigning, with Trump dedicating his campaign rally that day to King. Trump's tribute to King was only a symbolic move, but it's not wholly surprising since King has largely become a convenient political symbol. What King said or what he stood for seems to get distorted. Most people that know of King know of his famed "I Have a Dream" speech, but what of his other speeches? What of the King who criticized the Vietnam War or the King who was preparing a speech titled "Why America May Go to Hell." Martin Luther King has become such an iconic figure today that we forget that by the end of his life he was actually a very unpopular figure in the media. This is why I find it interesting how some people have tried to use King to attack the Black Lives Matter movement. This is the sam ...
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Huffington Post article
Peter Dreier: Rosa Parks: Angry, Not Tired; She'd Be 101 Today
The Huffington Post - about 3 years
The way we learn history shapes how we think about the present and the future. Consider what most Americans know about Rosa Parks, who was born 101 years ago, on February 4, 1913. Martin Luther King, Pete Seeger, Charis Horton, Rosa Parks, and Ralph Abernathy at Highlander Folk School's 25th anniversary celebration in Tennessee in 1957 In the popular legend, Parks is portrayed as a tired middle-aged seamstress in Montgomery, Alabama, who, at the spur of the moment after a hard day at work, decided to resist the city's segregation law by refusing to move to the back of the bus on December 1, 1955. She is typically revered as a selfless individual who, with one spontaneous act of courage, triggered the bus boycott and became, as she is often called, "the mother of the civil rights movement." That popular legend is misleading. Parks' defiance of Montgomery's segregation laws was not an isolated incident. It was part of a lifelong crusade to dismantle Jim Crow. She was ...
Article Link:
The Huffington Post article
Martin Luther King Jr.: Remembering a Committed Life
Huffington Post - about 3 years
A day at the mall. A three day weekend. This is how many Americans will spend Monday, January 20, 2014, the day chosen to commemorate the 85th birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Perhaps some will visit the King Memorial in Washington, D.C., the first permanent remembrance dedicated to an African American. There they can see the "Stone of Hope," a 30-foot granite statue of King, larger than those of Lincoln and Jefferson. He stands with his arms folded as he gazes thoughtfully into the future. It is a poor likeness of King, lifeless and cold. He has become just another forgotten figure in America's historical wax museum. Such memorials have stripped King of his humanity and overlook a life filled with so many obstacles that it is miraculous that he achieved so much. It might surprise those who know little about the history of the modern civil rights movement that King was not universally admired during his lifetime. On the contrary, those who detested him far outnumbered those wh ...
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Huffington Post article
Death at the Heart of Life
Huffington Post - over 3 years
He had been murdered at Hayneville, Alabama, on Friday, August 20, 1965. The following Monday, people started arriving at his hometown of Keene, New Hampshire, for his funeral service that would take place the next day. We gathered at the home of his mother on Summer Street, not far from St. James Church where his body lay in an open casket. Those of us who had seen him recently spoke to her about how much he meant to us. What did he mean to us? He had sought to be an instrument of reconciliation in the civil rights struggle. He had loved in the face of hate. A young man, he had offered his life. It had been taken. How many more lives would have to be sacrificed in the cause of justice? Jon was in jail in the Deep South on a civil rights charge. Released from jail, he and a few others with him were headed for a nearby store to buy food. A white segregationist bearing a gun loomed up in the street. Jon pushed aside a young African American woman with whom he was walking. He took t ...
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Huffington Post article
Listen to This Book: The Sights and Sounds of Black Power 1965-1975
Huffington Post - over 3 years
"It's not the best book of its kind, it's the only book of its kind" proclaims archivist, music producer, scholar, A & R Director, journalist, and author Pat Thomas. "There have been plenty of books exploring the sociopolitical meaning of the Black Power Movement and there are obviously tons of music books out there -- but never before has anyone blended the two -- especially with a focus on the actual political recordings of the era." Thomas' riveting Fantagraphics book (and companion CD/MP3 on Light in the Attic Records), aptly titled Listen Whitey: The Sights and Sounds of Black Power 1965-1975 is a stunning culmination of Thomas' five year journey to compile the definitive aural document of the Black Power Movement. History continues to repeat itself. Many crucial issues of the era which Thomas' tome vividly recounts: war, racism, sexism, economic inequality, and concern for the environment, among others, are still with us in 2013. And the music and poetry inspired by the Bla ...
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Huffington Post article
Siegel's <i>The Trials of Muhammad Ali</i> Is Simply Brilliant
Huffington Post - over 3 years
What, another movie about Muhammad Ali? There are so many. The Will Smith biopic Ali, the documentary on the Foreman fight in Zaire When We Were Kings, the other documentary Muhammad Ali: Through the Eyes of the World, even this month's HBO release Muhammad Ali's Greatest Fight directed by Stephen Frears. But what Bill Siegel has done in The Trials of Muhammad Ali is something unique and, yes, worth getting out to see. The key is that Siegel has dug in to the central point, the elephant in the room that is so often set to the side in Muhammad Ali stories. And that is his political and religious commitment, his resistance to the draft that so shook up the establishment. Yes, he was an incredible boxer -- someone who used his speed and strategy to outfight much bigger and stronger opponents. Yes, he was a delightful media figure -- a young man who freestyled poetry and boasted extravagantly while he mugged for the cameras. But the reason he was transcendent, the reason he is remembered ...
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Huffington Post article
Grambling University Football Boycott: Canary in a Coal Mine
Huffington Post Sports - over 3 years
When my father started out in the 1930s, the coal mines he worked in Harlan County, Kentucky did not feature ventilation systems, so the miners would bring a caged canary into new coal seams. Canaries are especially sensitive to methane and carbon monoxide, which made them ideal for detecting any dangerous gas build-ups. As long as the bird kept singing, the miners knew their air supply was safe. A dead canary signaled an immediate evacuation. I thought about that exercise last Saturday when the football team at Louisiana's Grambling State University boycotted practice, leading to the cancellation of the homecoming game against longtime rival, Jackson State, in Mississippi. The embattled Tigers have had three head coaches in one month, its players are peeved about facilities and are very grumpy about their grueling travel requirements: an all-around atmosphere of wobbliness grips the program that Coach Eddie Robinson coached for 51 years during which time it became known as the winni ...
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Huffington Post Sports article
William H. Lamar IV: The Role of HBCUs in the Marches on Washington
Huffington Post - over 3 years
History is a political enterprise. All who set out to chronicle the past are motivated by ends that some are honest enough to disclose, and others are deluded enough to deny. I prepared for the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom by reading serious works of history. David J. Garrow's magisterial Bearing the Cross is regarded as one of the best biographies of Martin Luther King, Jr. His research is exhaustive, and his storytelling is captivating. In his chapter on Birmingham and the March on Washington, Garrow tells the story of the march from above, through the thought and actions of noted leaders like King and Rustin and Randolph and Wilkins. By no means does Garrow ignore the throngs of ordinary people who descended upon the Federal City and gave the march its power, but he focuses his work on the big names and their struggles, successes, and failures. William P. Jones' recently published The March on Washington: Jobs, Freedom, and the For ...
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Huffington Post article
Peter Dreier: The Little-Known Story of 'We Shall Overcome'
Huffington Post - over 3 years
"We Shall Overcome" serves as the background music for most of the past week's TV and radio programs documenting the history of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, which occurred 50 years ago. But few Americans know the background of the song, which links together Black trade union activists, a radical training school for activists, college students who started the Southern sit-in movement, two folk singers, and a president of the United States. The story of that song, which has became an international anthem for human rights, reveals the civil rights movement's remarkable and complex tapestry and its lasting influence. The song's origins go back to a refrain that slaves would sing to sustain themselves: "I'll be all right someday." Southern Black churches adopted the song and by 1901 a Methodist minister, Charles Tindley, published a version entitled, "I'll Overcome Someday." In 1945, Black members of the Food, Tobacco, and Agricultural Workers Union from ...
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Huffington Post article
Mark Anthony Neal: Reflections: The Supremes and the Politics of Image
Huffington Post - about 4 years
The meteoric rise of The Supremes in the 1960s can be best measured in the context of singular tragic events in American history: When President John F. Kennedy was murdered in Dallas in November of 1963, few knew who The Supremes were, yet when Dr. Martin Luther King was murdered in Memphis in April of 1968, Diana Ross and the Supremes appeared on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson to help bring sense to the tragedy. That many of the front-line Civil Rights activists like Bob Moses, Diane Nash, Stokely Carmichael and the Greensboro Four -- Joseph McNeil, Franklin McCain, Ezell Blair, Jr., and David Richmond -- were barely out of high school, like The Supremes, is a reminder of how these young folk literally changed the world. While no one will ever mistake the Freedom Summer of 1964 for a groundbreaking appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show, the Supremes and Motown were waging a battle on behalf of African-Americans within the realm of image making. The success of the Sup ...
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Huffington Post article
Peter Dreier: Rosa Parks: Angry, Not Tired
The Huffington Post - about 4 years
The way we learn history shapes how we think about the present and the future. Consider what most Americans know about Rosa Parks, who was born a century ago, on February 4, 1913. In the popular legend, Parks is portrayed as a tired middle-aged seamstress in Montgomery, Alabama, who, at the spur of the moment after a hard day at work, decided to resist the city's segregation law by refusing to move to the back of the bus on December 1, 1955. She is typically revered as a selfless individual who, with one spontaneous act of courage, triggered the bus boycott and became, as she is often called, "the mother of the civil rights movement." That popular legend is misleading. Parks' defiance of Montgomery's segregation laws was not an isolated incident. It was part of a lifelong crusade to dismantle Jim Crow. She was a veteran activist and part of a local movement whose leaders had been waiting for the right moment to launch a campaign against bus segregation. In hindsigh ...
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The Huffington Post article
David Tereshchuk: Rosa Parks Centennial -- Untold Story Clouds Legacy
Huffington Post - about 4 years
I get to tell a little-known story on TV this weekend. Just ahead of the centenary of Rosa Parks' birth, when she will be feted throughout the nation as "Mother of the Civil Rights Movement," I report for PBS on a terrible injustice being done to her memory. The U.S. Senate has designated that day, Monday February 4, as Rosa Parks Day "to inspire all people of the United States" but meanwhile, seven years after her death, her own records of her extraordinary life lie hidden and inaccessible to the public and scholars alike, in a drab New York City warehouse. In a screengrab here from my broadcast (on "Religion and Ethics NewsWeekly" -- check local billings for airtime this weekend) I am surrounded by boxes in that warehouse, containing some of the estimated 8,000 items that comprise this sequestered collection. And hers was indeed an extraordinary life, marked by much more accomplishment (and many more surprises) than purely her brave and famous triggering of the M ...
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Huffington Post article
February 1, 2013: The Rosa Parks Papers
PBS Religion and Ethics - about 4 years
  Read an excerpt from “The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks” by Jeanne Theoharis DAVID TERESHCHUK, correspondent: When Rosa Parks died just over seven years ago, prominent national figures celebrated her as the ordinary citizen who herself achieved fame by transforming the cause of Civil Rights through one simple act. A black woman in Montgomery, Alabama refusing to give up her seat on the bus to a white man. But many of Mrs Parks’ admirers believe her true nature has not been fully recognized since her death. For one thing, too little account is taken, they think, of her strong involvement in the African Methodist Episcopal church. That involvement, says author of a new Parks biography, Jeanne Theoharis, was matched with a deep faith that called her to action. Dr. JEANNE THEOHARIS (Author, The Rebellious Life of Rosa Parks): It is a faith that requires people to act in the world. And that December day she makes this incredible stand. ROSA PARKS: (Interview from Pacifi ...
Article Link:
PBS Religion and Ethics article
Dion Rabouin: Black History Month Has Been an Epic Failure
Huffington Post - about 4 years
Malcolm X was fond of saying, "Our history did not begin in chains." Yet every year that's where Black History Month lesson plans in schools across America begin. They begin telling the story of our history -- black history -- in chains. Young black school children don't learn that our people mapped, calculated and erected some of the greatest monuments ever, like the pyramids, the sphinx and the obelisks (after which the Washington Monument is modeled) or that our people were literally the lifeblood of some of history's greatest civilizations. They don't learn that calculus, trigonometry and geometry all trace their origins back to African scholars. Black History Month lessons never begin with Haile Selassi I, ruler of Ethiopia, who could trace his ancestry to King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba and beyond that to Cush in 6280 B.C. Never mind that Selassi actually has the most ancient lineage of any human being in history. Black History Month lessons certainly never ...
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Huffington Post article
Peter Dreier: Martin Luther King Was a Radical, Not a Saint
Huffington Post - about 4 years
Today Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. is viewed as something of an American saint. His birthday is a national holiday. His name adorns schools and street signs. Americans from across the political spectrum invoke King's name to justify their beliefs and actions, as President Barack Obama will no doubt do in his second Inaugural speech and as gun fanatic Larry Ward recently did in outrageously claiming that King would have opposed proposals to restrict access to guns. So it is easy to forget that in his day, in his own country, King was considered a dangerous troublemaker. He was harassed by the FBI and vilified in the media. In fact, King was radical. He believed that America needed a "radical redistribution of economic and political power." He challenged America's class system and its racial caste system. He was a strong ally of the nation's labor union movement. He was assassinated in April 1968 in Memphis, where he had gone to support a sanitation workers' strike. H ...
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Huffington Post article
Gyasi Ross: Russell Means, Lightning and Sexiness: The Toughest Indian in the Whole Wide World
Huffington Post - over 4 years
"... after I die, I'm coming back as lightning," he said. "When it zaps the White House, they'll know it's me." -- Russell Means I never met Russell Means. I had the chance to meet him when I was a kid. In fact, I saw him a few times as a youngster, but I was so intimidated by him -- he seemed bigger than life -- I never actually went to speak to him. I heard a lot of things about him as I grew older; good stuff, bad stuff. However, he was somebody about whom, as Native people, everybody seemed to hold an opinion. When I heard of his passing, I was sad, just like when you hear about anyone of your heroes passing. I know members of his family, and that made it even more painful; yet, I thought it was appropriate the fashion and time in which he passed -- on his own terms, loudly, and with the world taking notice. I don't think that it was a coincidence that he passed at the exact moment that the National Congress of American Indians' Annual Conference was convenin ...
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Huffington Post article
Jacob Tobia: Following A Legacy: Walking 85 Miles In Protest Of Amendment 1
Huffington Post - almost 5 years
Over the past two weeks my knees have been getting a little sore, because with every step I take they bump up against a sandwich board that I've been wearing since early voting started. My sandwich board says, "I know you're super busy, but it's kind of my civil rights. Vote AGAINST Amendment One," and I've been wearing it around Duke University, encouraging my fellow students to vote against Amendment 1. If you haven't heard by now, Amendment 1 is a proposed amendment to the North Carolina constitution that would strip any legal recognition from all unmarried couples -- straight or gay -- potentially taking away the family rights of over 200,000 North Carolinians. As a 20-year-old gay North Carolinian who's been an activist since the age of 16, this isn't something that I could tolerate in my home state. So far, I've been doing my part to fight Amendment 1 by mobilizing students at Duke, where I chair Duke Together Against Constitutional Discrimination, our on-campus coali ...
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Huffington Post article
Timeline
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Stokely Carmichael
    FIFTIES
  • 1998
    Age 56
    Relying on a statement from the All-African People's Revolutionary Party, Carmichael's 1998 obituary in The New York Times referred to his survivors as two sons, three sisters, and his mother, without further details.
    More Details Hide Details
    In 1998, he told the Washington Post that he thought the total was fewer than 36.
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  • 1996
    Age 54
    After his diagnosis of prostate cancer in 1996, Ture was treated for a period in Cuba, while receiving some support from the Nation of Islam.
    More Details Hide Details Benefit concerts for Ture were held in Denver; New York; Atlanta; and Washington, D.C., to help defray his medical expenses. The government of Trinidad and Tobago, where he was born, awarded him a grant of $1,000 a month for the same purpose. He went to New York, where he was treated for two years at the Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center, before returning to Guinea.
  • FORTIES
  • 1986
    Age 44
    In 1986, two years after Sékou Touré's death in 1984, the military regime that took his place arrested Carmichael, for his past association with Touré, and jailed him for three days on suspicion of attempting to overthrow the government.
    More Details Hide Details Although Touré was known for jailing and torturing his opponents, Carmichael had never publicly criticized his namesake. For the final 30 years of his life, Kwame Ture was devoted to the All-African People's Revolutionary Party (A-APRP). His mentor Kwame Nkrumah had many ideas for unifying the African continent, and Ture used those ideas in a broader scope involving the entire African diaspora. He was a central committee member for the entire time that he participated in the A-APRP, and made many speeches in the Party's behalf. Ture did not simply study with Sékou Touré and Kwame Nkrumah. The latter had been designated honorary co-president of Guinea after he was deposed by the US-backed coup in Ghana. Ture worked overtly and covertly to "Take Nkrumah Back to Ghana" (according to the movement's slogan). He became a member of the Democratic Party of Guinea (PDG), the revolutionary ruling party of Guinea. He sought Nkrumah's permission to launch the All-African People's Revolutionary Party (A-APRP), which Nkrumah had called for in his book Handbook of Revolutionary Warfare. After several discussions, Nkrumah gave his blessing.
  • TWENTIES
  • 1971
    Age 29
    Carmichael remained in Guinea after separation from the Black Panther Party. He continued to travel, write, and speak in support of international leftist movements. In 1971 he published his collected essays in a second book, Stokely Speaks: Black Power Back to Pan-Africanism.
    More Details Hide Details This book expounds an explicitly socialist, Pan-African vision, which he retained for the rest of his life. From the late 1970s until the day he died, he answered his phone by announcing, "Ready for the revolution!"
  • 1968
    Age 26
    Carmichael had married Miriam Makeba, the noted singer from South Africa, while in the US in 1968. They divorced in Guinea after separating in 1973. Later he married Marlyatou Barry, a Guinean doctor. They divorced some time after having a son, Bokar, together in 1981.
    More Details Hide Details By 1998, Marlyatou Barry and Bokar were living in Arlington County, Virginia, near Washington, DC.
    Carmichael's suspicions about the CIA were affirmed in 2007, when previously secret CIA documents were declassified, revealing that the agency had tracked Carmichael from 1968 as part of their surveillance of black activists abroad.
    More Details Hide Details The surveillance continued for years.
    In 1968, he married Miriam Makeba, a noted singer from South Africa.
    More Details Hide Details They left the US for Guinea the next year. Carmichael became an aide to the Guinean president Ahmed Sékou Touré, and a student of the exiled Ghanaian president Kwame Nkrumah. Makeba was appointed Guinea's official delegate to the United Nations. Three months after his arrival in Guinea, in July 1969, Carmichael published a formal rejection of the Black Panthers, condemning them for not being separatist enough and for their "dogmatic party line favoring alliances with white radicals". Carmichael changed his name to "Kwame Ture", to honor the African leaders Nkrumah and Touré, who had become his patrons. At the end of his life, friends still referred to him interchangeably by both names, "and he doesn't seem to mind".
    Carmichael was present in Washington, D.C. the night after King's assassination in April 1968.
    More Details Hide Details He led a group through the streets, demanding that businesses close out of respect. Although he tried to prevent violence, the situation escalated beyond his control. Due to his reputation as a provocateur, the news media blamed Carmichael for the ensuing violence as mobs rioted along U Street and other areas of black commercial development. Carmichael held a press conference the next day, at which he predicted mass racial violence in the streets. Since moving to Washington, D.C., Carmichael had been under nearly constant surveillance by the FBI. After the eruption of riots, Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation J. Edgar Hoover instructed a team of agents to find evidence connecting Carmichael to these events. He was also subjected to COINTELPRO's bad-jacketing technique. Huey P. Newton suggested Carmichael was a Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) agent, a slander that led to Carmichael's break with the Panthers, and his exile from the U.S. the following year.
  • 1967
    Age 25
    Carmichael visited the United Kingdom in July 1967 to attend the Dialectics of Liberation conference.
    More Details Hide Details After recordings of his speeches were released by the organizers, the Institute of Phenomenological Studies, he was banned from re-entering Britain.
    Carmichael lamented the 1967 execution of Marxist revolutionary Che Guevara, saying:
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    In May 1967, Carmichael stepped down as chairman of SNCC and was replaced by H.
    More Details Hide Details Rap Brown. SNCC was a collective and worked by group consensus rather than hierarchically; many members had become displeased with Carmichael's celebrity status. SNCC leaders had begun to refer to him as "Stokely Starmichael" and criticize his habit of making policy announcements independently, before achieving internal agreement. According to historian Clayborne Carson, Carmichael did not protest the transfer of power and was "eager to relinquish the chair." (It is sometimes mistakenly reported that Carmichael left SNCC completely at this time and joined the Black Panther Party, but those events did not occur until 1968.) During this period, Carmichael was targeted by a section of J. Edgar Hoover's COINTELPRO (counter-intelligence program) which focused on black activists; the program promoted slander and violence against targets that Hoover considered to be enemies of the US government. Carmichael accepted the position of Honorary Prime Minister in the Black Panther Party, but also remained on the staff of SNCC, and attempted to forge a merger between the two organizations. A March 4, 1968 memo from Hoover states his fear of the rise of a black nationalist "messiah" and notes that Carmichael alone had the "necessary charisma to be a real threat in this way." In July 1968, Hoover stepped up his efforts to divide the black power movement. Declassifed documents show a plan was launched to undermine the SNCC-Panther merger, as well as to "bad-jacket" Carmichael as a CIA agent.
    Carmichael joined King in New York on April 15, 1967, to share his views with protesters on race related to the Vietnam War: The draft exemplifies as much as racism the totalitarianism which prevails in this nation in the disguise of consensus democracy.
    More Details Hide Details The President has conducted war in Vietnam without the consent of Congress or the American people, without the consent of anybody except maybe Lady Bird.
    For a time in 1967, Carmichael considered an alliance with Saul Alinsky's Industrial Areas Foundation, and generally supported IAF's work in Rochester and Buffalo's black communities.
    More Details Hide Details SNCC conducted its first actions against the military draft and the Vietnam War under Carmichael's leadership. Carmichael popularized the oft-repeated anti-draft slogan, "Hell no-We won't go!" during this time. Carmichael encouraged Martin Luther King Jr. to demand an unconditional withdrawal of US troops from Vietnam, even as some King advisers cautioned him that such opposition might have an adverse effect on financial contributions to the SCLC. King preached one of his earliest speeches calling for unconditional withdrawal with Carmichael seated in the front row at his invitation. Carmichael privately took credit for pushing King towards anti-imperialism, and historians such as Dr. Peniel Joseph and Eric Dyson agree.
  • 1966
    Age 24
    At an SDS-organized conference at UC Berkeley in October 1966, Carmichael challenged the white left to escalate their resistance to the military draft in a manner similar to the black movement.
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    During the controversial Atlanta Project in 1966, SNCC, under the local leadership of Bill Ware, engaged in a voter drive to promote the candidacy of Julian Bond for the Georgia State Legislature in an Atlanta district.
    More Details Hide Details Ware excluded Northern white SNCC members from this drive. Initially, Carmichael opposed him and voted against this decision, but eventually changed his mind. When, at the urging of the Atlanta Project, the issue of whites in SNCC came up for a vote, Carmichael ultimately sided with those calling for the expulsion of whites. He said that whites should organize poor white southern communities, of which there were plenty, while SNCC focused on promoting African-American self-reliance through Black Power. Carmichael considered nonviolence to be a tactic as opposed to an underlying principle, which separated him from moderate civil rights leaders such as Martin Luther King, Jr. Carmichael criticized civil rights leaders who called for the integration of African Americans into existing institutions of the middle-class mainstream. Now, several people have been upset because we've said that integration was irrelevant when initiated by blacks, and that in fact it was a subterfuge, an insidious subterfuge, for the maintenance of white supremacy. Now we maintain that in the past six years or so, this country has been feeding us a "thalidomide drug of integration," and that some Negroes have been walking down a dream street talking about sitting next to white people; and that that does not begin to solve the problem; that when we went to Mississippi we did not go to sit next to Ross Barnett; we did not go to sit next to Jim Clark; we went to get them out of our way; and that people ought to understand that; that we were never fighting for the right to integrate, we were fighting against white supremacy.
    Carmichael became chairman of SNCC in 1966, taking over from John Lewis, who later was elected to the US Congress.
    More Details Hide Details A few weeks after Carmichael took office, James Meredith was shot and wounded by a shotgun during his solitary "March Against Fear". Carmichael joined Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Floyd McKissick, Cleveland Sellers and others to continue Meredith's march. He was arrested during the march and, upon his release, he gave his first "Black Power" speech, using the phrase to urge black pride and socio-economic 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. According to historian David J. Garrow, who won a Pulitzer Prize for his book Bearing the Cross: Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, 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 1966, several LFCO candidates ran for office in the general election but failed to win. In 1970, the LCFO merged with the statewide Democratic Party, and former LCFO candidates won their first offices in the county.
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  • 1965
    Age 23
    In 1965, working as a SNCC activist in the black-majority Lowndes County, Carmichael helped to increase the number of registered black voters from 70 to 2,600—300 more than the number of registered white voters.
    More Details Hide Details Black voters had essentially been disfranchised by Alabama's constitution passed by white Democrats in 1901. After Congressional passage in August of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the federal government was authorized to oversee and enforce their rights. But there was still tremendous resistance by whites in the area, endangering activists. Black residents and voters organized and widely supported the Lowndes County Freedom Organization (LFCO), a party that had the black panther as its mascot, over the white-dominated local Democratic Party, whose mascot was a white rooster. Since federal protection from violent voter suppression by the Ku Klux Klan and other white opponents was sporadic, most Lowndes County activists openly carried arms. Although black residents and voters outnumbered whites in Lowndes, their candidate lost the county-wide election of 1965.
    During the period of the Selma to Montgomery Marches, he was recruited by James Forman to participate in a "second front" to stage protests at the Alabama State Capitol in March 1965.
    More Details Hide Details Carmichael became disillusioned with the growing struggles between SNCC and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), who opposed Forman's strategy. He thought SCLC was working with affiliated black churches to undercut it. He was also frustrated to be drawn again into nonviolent confrontations with police, which he no longer found empowering. After seeing protesters brutally beaten again, he collapsed from stress, and his colleagues urged him to leave the city. Within a week, Carmichael returned to protesting, this time in Selma, to participate in the final march along Route 80. He initiated a grassroots project in "Bloody Lowndes" County, along the march route. This was a county known for white violence, where SCLC and Dr. King had tried and failed to organize its black residents.
    Instead he began exploring SNCC projects in Alabama in 1965.
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  • 1964
    Age 22
    Having developed aversion to working with the Democratic Party after the 1964 convention experience, Carmichael decided to leave the MFDP.
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    In her memoir, Mary E. King wrote that Carmichael was "poking fun at his own attitudes" and that "Casey and I felt, and continue to feel, that Stokely was one of the most responsive men at the time that our anonymous paper appeared in 1964."
    More Details Hide Details Carmichael appointed several women to posts as project directors during his tenure as chairman of SNCC; by the latter half of the 1960s (considered to be the "Black Power era"), more women were in charge of SNCC projects than during the first half.
    While the remark was made in jest during a 1964 conference, Carmichael and black-power activists did embrace an aggressive vision of manhood — one centered on black men's ability to deploy authority, punishment, and power.
    More Details Hide Details In that, they generally reflected their wider society's blinders about women and politics. When asked about the comment, former SNCC field secretary Casey Hayden stated: "Our paper on the position of women came up, and Stokely in his hipster rap comedic way joked that 'the proper position of women in SNCC is prone'. I laughed, he laughed, we all laughed. Stokeley was a friend of mine." A former SNCC worker identified only as "Tyler" on the Internet claimed: "I will forever remember Stokely Carmichael as the one who said 'the position of women in the movement is prone'. This viciously anti-women outlook is another reason why all of these nationalist movements went nowhere."
    In November 1964 Carmichael made a joking remark in response to a SNCC position paper written by his friends Casey Hayden and Mary E. King on the position of women in the movement.
    More Details Hide Details In the course of an irreverent comedy monologue he performed at a party after SNCC's Waveland conference, Carmichael said, "The position of women in the movement is prone." A number of women were offended. In a 2006 The Chronicle of Higher Education article, historian Peniel E. Joseph later wrote:
    At the end of Freedom Summer, Carmichael went to the 1964 Democratic Convention in support of the MFDP, which sought to have its delegation seated.
    More Details Hide Details But, the MFDP delegates were refused voting rights by the Democratic National Committee, who chose to seat the regular white Jim Crow delegation. Carmichael, along with many SNCC staff members, left the convention with a profound sense of disillusionment in the American political system, and what he later called "totalitarian liberal opinion." Jews had comprised a disproportionate number of the white supporters of the southern civil rights movement. The subsequent rejection of white activists from groups like SNCC and CORE, accompanied by ideological factors such as the shift in emphasis to a revolutionary anti-colonialist struggle, and anti-Zionist sympathy for the Palestinians, led to a permanent souring of relations in America between blacks and Jews. Although he stated in his posthumously published memoirs that he had never been anti-semitic, in 1970 Carmichael proclaimed: "I have never admired a white man, but the greatest of them, to my mind, was Hitler."
    He also worked closely with Gloria Richardson, who led the SNCC chapter in Cambridge, Maryland. During a protest with Richardson in Maryland in June 1964, Carmichael was hit directly in a chemical gas attack by the National Guard and had to be hospitalized.
    More Details Hide Details He soon became project director for Mississippi's 2nd congressional district, made up largely in the counties of the Mississippi Delta. At that time, most blacks in Mississippi were still disenfranchised. The summer project was to prepare them to register to vote and to conduct a parallel registration movement to demonstrate how much people wanted to vote. Grassroots activists organized the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party (MFDP), as the regular Democratic Party did not represent African Americans in the state.
    In 1964, Carmichael became a full-time field organizer for SNCC in Mississippi.
    More Details Hide Details He worked on the Greenwood voting rights project under Robert Parris Moses. Throughout Freedom Summer, he worked with grassroots African-American activists, including Fannie Lou Hamer, whom Carmichael named as one of his personal heroes. SNCC organizer Joann Gavin wrote that Hamer and Carmichael "understood one another as perhaps no one else could."
    In a 1964 interview with author Robert Penn Warren, Carmichael reflected on his motives for going on the rides, saying,
    More Details Hide Details I thought I have to go because you've got to keep the issue alive, and you've got to show the Southerners that you're not gonna be scared off, as we've been scared off in the past. And no matter what they do, we're still gonna keep coming back.
  • TEENAGE
  • 1961
    Age 19
    At 19 years of age, Carmichael was the youngest detainee in the summer of 1961.
    More Details Hide Details He spent 53 days at Parchman Farm in "a six-by-nine cell. Twice a week to shower. No books, nothing to do. They would isolate us. Maximum security." Carmichael said about the Parchman Farm sheriff: The sheriff acted like he was scared of black folks and he came up with some beautiful things. One night he opened up all the windows, put on ten big fans and an air conditioner and dropped the temperature to 38 degrees 3 &deg;C. All we had on was T-shirts and shorts. While being hurt one time, Carmichael began singing to the guards, "I'm gonna tell God how you treat me," to which the rest of the prisoners joined in. Carmichael kept the group's morale up while in prison, often telling jokes with Steve Green and the other Freedom Riders, and making light of their situation. He knew their situation was serious.
    Along with eight other riders, on June 4, 1961, Carmichael traveled by train from New Orleans, Louisiana, to Jackson, Mississippi, to integrate the formerly "white" section on the train.
    More Details Hide Details Before getting on the train in New Orleans, they encountered white protestors blocking the way. Carmichael says: "They were shouting. Throwing cans and lit cigarettes at us. Spitting on us." Eventually, they were able to board the train. When the group arrived in Jackson, Carmichael and the eight other riders entered a "white" cafeteria. They were charged with disturbing the peace, arrested and taken to jail. Eventually, Carmichael was transferred to the infamous Parchman Farm in Sunflower County, Mississippi, along with other Freedom Riders. He gained notoriety for being a witty and hard-nosed leader among the prisoners. He served 49 days with other activists at the Parchman State Prison Farm.
    In his first year at the university, in 1961, he participated in the Freedom Rides of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) to desegregate the bus station restaurants along U.S. Route 40 between Baltimore and Washington, D.C. and was frequently arrested, spending time in jail.
    More Details Hide Details He was arrested so many times for his activism that he lost count, sometimes estimating at least 29 or 32.
  • 1960
    Age 18
    After graduation in 1960, Carmichael enrolled at Howard University, a historically black university in Washington, D.C..
    More Details Hide Details His professors included Sterling Brown, Nathan Hare, and Toni Morrison, a writer who later won the Nobel Prize. Carmichael and Tom Kahn, a Jewish-American student and civil-rights activist, helped to fund a five-day run of the Three Penny Opera, by Berthold Brecht and Kurt Weill: Tom Kahn—very shrewdly—had captured the position of Treasurer of the Liberal Arts Student Council and the infinitely charismatic and popular Carmichael as floor whip was good at lining up the votes. Before they knew what hit them the Student Council had become a patron of the arts, having voted to buy out the remaining performances. It was a classic win/win. Members of the Council got patronage packets of tickets for distribution to friends and constituents. Carmichael's apartment on Euclid Street was a gathering place for his activist classmates. He graduated in 1964 with a degree in philosophy. Carmichael was offered a full graduate scholarship to Harvard University, but turned it down.
  • CHILDHOOD
  • 1952
    Age 10
    Born in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, Stokely Carmichael attended Tranquility School there before moving to Harlem, in New York, in 1952 at the age of 11, to rejoin his parents who had emigrated to the US when he was age two, leaving him with his grandmother and two aunts.
    More Details Hide Details He had three sisters. His mother Mabel R. Carmichael was a stewardess for a steamship line. His father Adolphus was a carpenter who also worked as a taxi driver. The reunited Carmichael family eventually left Harlem to live in Van Nest in the East Bronx, at that time an aging neighborhood with residents who were primarily Jewish and Italian immigrants and descendants. According to a 1967 interview he gave to Life Magazine, Carmichael was the only black member of the Morris Park Dukes, a youth gang involved in alcohol and petty theft. He attended the elite, selective Bronx High School of Science in New York, with entrance based on academic performance.
  • 1941
    Born
    Born on June 29, 1941.
    More Details Hide Details
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