Stokely Carmichael (June 29, 1941 – November 15, 1998), also known as Kwame Ture, was a prominent American figure in the Civil Rights Movement in the United States and the global Pan-African movement. He founded the Black Power movement, first while leading the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), later serving as the "Honorary Prime Minister" of the Black Panther Party (BPP), and finally as a leader of the All-African People's Revolutionary Party (A-APRP).
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- Ultimately, the economic foundations of this country must be shaken if black people are to control their lives. The colonies of the United States—and this includes the black ghettoes within its borders, north and south—must be liberated. For a century, this nation has been like an octopus of exploitation, its tentacles stretching from Mississippi and Harlem to South America, the Middle East, southern Africa, and Vietnam; the form of exploitation varies from area to area but the essential result has been the same—a powerful few have been maintained and enriched at the expense of the poor and voiceless colored masses. This pattern must be broken.
- They Head Start, Upward Lift, Bootstrap, and Upward Bound us into white society, 'cause they don’t want to face the real problem which is a man is poor for one reason and one reason only: 'cause he does not have money -- period. If you want to get rid of poverty, you give people money -- period.
- "Black Power" Speech at University of California, Berkeley (October 29, 1966)
- The time for running has come to an end. You tell them white folk in Mississippi that all the scared niggers are dead!
- Dr. King’s policy was, if you are nonviolent, if you suffer, your opponent will see your suffering and will be moved to change his heart. That’s very good. He only made one fallacious assumption. In order for nonviolence to work, your opponent must have a conscience. The United States has none.
- The death of Che Guevara places a responsibility on all revolutionaries of the World to redouble their decision to fight on to the final defeat of Imperialism. That is why in essence Che Guevara is not dead, his ideas are with us.
- in (1967), as quoted in Andrew Sinclair's Viva Che!: The Strange Death and Life of Che Guevara
- When white terrorists bomb a black church and kill five black children, that is an act of individual racism, widely deplored by most segments of the society. But when in that same city—Birmingham, Alabama—five hundred black babies die each year because of the lack of proper food, shelter and medical facilities, and thousands more are destroyed and maimed physically, emotionally and intellectually because of conditions of poverty and discrimination in the black community, that is a function of institutional racism.
Quotes about Stokely Carmichael
- only a young man would have been able to say it ("Black Power"). And only someone who was forged in a crucible outside the United States. It is very important to remember that Stokely, like Marcus Garvey, is West Indian and therefore his relationship to the deep South and all those highways was a very different one, profoundly different one. I admire Stokely very much, but his frame of reference from his childhood was not Georgia or Harlem, it's someplace else. He had another sense of identity which allowed him to say, as Martin Luther King could not and as Malcolm X had to say in another way, that if we don't have power, we can't change anything. That's a very good, logical statement coming from the West indies, and a very powerful statement coming from the deep South…It is very important that Stokely said it but what was even more important was the convulsion in the white American breast because he really put his finger on the root of the problem. They ain't never gonna give us anything. Such people never do give. They have to be menaced into doing it. They won't set us free until we have the power to free ourselves. That was the importance of it. What one has made of it is something else, on both sides of what we call the racial fence. The dues that Stokely had to pay behind it were extraordinary because it really got to the heart of the American problem, which is, who owns the banks? I'll put it another way. When the kids were marching down in the South, the North was vividly in sympathy with them. We knew that if it ever got to the North, the same Northern liberals, who praised all those kids on the highway and sent down all that money, would do the same thing in New York as was being done in Birmingham. And the same thing happened, except in New York, the enemy is in the bank. When the kids sat down in the bank, the very same policemen, for the very same reasons, did the very same things. That is when the movement changed. When Martin Luther King went to Chicago, they threw eggs at him and said we don't want dreams, we want jobs. ..The importance of what Stokely said, and the importance of what's been happening in the last ten years is that people in the street from Birmingham to New York, especially their children, have learned to understand the nature of the American hoax.
- 1973 interview in Conversations with James Baldwin edited by Louis H. Pratt and Fred L. Standley (1989)
- The civil rights movement's biggest drawback is that they don't have a group that pays its own way. They don't have a membership group. This is the kind of power that is needed. Malcolm X was an organizer, but Stokely Carmichael is entirely different. I don't see any building. The approach that Malcolm X used was the house meeting. He was doing those things that we know pay: being patient and just accumulating, committing people and so forth. He's gone, but his spirit continues.
- Cesar Chavez 1971 interview, anthologized in An Organizer’s Tale (2008)
- Marcus Garvey, Elijah Muhammad, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Stokely Carmichael, Amiri Baraka and other black male leaders have righteously supported patriarchy. They have all argued that it is absolutely necessary for black men to relegate black women to a subordinate position both in the political sphere and in home life.
- bell hooks, Ain't I a Woman (1981)
- As Kwame Ture often said: "We need each other. We have to have each other for our survival." Take this admonition seriously. We should use the occasion of the indictment announcement to gather and to continue to build power together. This is how we will win.
- Mariame Kaba, We Do This Til We Free Us (2021)
- Jan Goodman vividly remembers January 4, 1965, the day the U.S. House of Representatives was to vote on a resolution to "unseat" the Mississippi delegation. In addition to presenting the depositions, the MFDP had brought six hundred Black Mississippians to lobby on Capitol Hill. "We had one of the most beautiful demonstrations of all. A silent vigil on the day of the vote to unseat. It was led by Stokely Carmichael in his early days-this was slightly before full-blown Black Power, probably around six months. They had this very peaceful, nonviolent demonstration in the tunnels of Congress. It was really incredible to watch. When the congressmen, and they were all men, came through, they had to go through a phalanx of two lines of Black groups who were totally, totally silent. And just glaring at them. It was quite dramatic and quite terrific."
- Debra L. Schultz Going South: Jewish Women in the Civil Rights Movement (2002)