November 21, 2014
Stokely Carmichael was born June 29, 1941 in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago. Carmichael lived with his two aunts and his grandmother and attended Tranquility Boys School until age 11. He then moved to the U.S and joined his parents in Harlem, New York and became the only black member of a street gang called the Morris Park Dukes. He said in an interview with Life he dated white girls and attended parties at Swank Park Avenue during this period in his life. After his family moved to the Bronx, he settled down. He discovered the lure of intellectual life. He was admitted to the Bronx High School of Science, a school for gifted youths. Carmichael was interested in politics then, especially the work of African American socialist Bayard Rustin whom he heard speak many times. He volunteered to help Rustin organize African American workers in a paint factory. He eventually alienated Carmichael. While he was in school the civil rights movement was gaining momentum. Alabama, successfully desegregated the city’s buses. During Carmichael’s senior year in high school, four African American freshmen from North Carolina staged a sit in at the white- only lunch counter in Woolworth. Some young people in New York City, including Carmichael, joined a boycott of the city’s Woolworth stores that were sponsored by the Youth division of the Congress on Racial Equality (CORE). CORE hoped that the boycott would pressure Woolworth’s owners to desegregate all of its stores’ facilities throughout the country. Carmichael traveled to Virginia and South Carolina to join anti-discrimination sit-ins because of his growing sensitivity to the plight of African Americans in the United Stated, especially south. He refused to attend white colleges and seceded to study at the historically black Howard University in Washington DC. At Howard from 1960-1964, Carmichael majored in Philosophy, Carmichael stayed in the south as much as possible sitting-in, picketing, helping with voter registration drives, and working alongside other leaders of SNCC. He was elected SNCC leader during the 1964 Democratic Convention. It advanced the idea that racial equality was not the answer to racism in America He died November 15, 1998 in Conarky, Guinea.
At a rally in Greenwood Mississippi in June 1966, Carmichael ended a speech with the slogan, “Black Power”. His use of the slogan at the park of the southern freedom struggle and the height of the urban unrest in the North helped generate the Black Power movement in the U.S. Journalists demanded that Carmichael define the phrase “Black Power”. A year later, Carmichael further developed the concept with Charles V. Hamilton, a professor at Columbia University. The book was called “Black Power: The Politics of Liberation in America”. Carmichael and Hamilton defined black powers as an instrument for social change by and for black people. They described the status of blacks in the U.S as the type of political, economic, and social colonialism.
Carmichael was known for his book “Black Power”. In 1967, this revolutionary work exposed the depths of systemic racism in this country and provided a radical political framework for reform: true and lasting social change would only be accomplished through unity among African Americans and their independence from preexisting order. An eloquent document of the civil rights movement that remains a work of profound social relevance 47 years after it was first published. He is known for novels about black power. He also has a book called “Ready for Revolution. This book recounts the extraordinary course of Carmichael’s life from his Trinidadian youth to his consciousness- raising years in Harlem...
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