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Stokley Carmichael

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Category: History Other

Autor: anton 21 March 2011

Words: 1320 | Pages: 6

Kwame Ture

( Stokeley Carmichael )

1941-1998

Kwame Ture was born of working class parents in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad on November 15, 1941. When he was seven years old, he migrated to New York City with his parents, and four sisters.. Ture was a brilliant student who excelled at the prestigious Bronx High School of Science, from which he graduated in 1960.

From 1960-1964 Kwame Ture studied philosophy at Howard University. At Howard he was exposed to some of the best minds in the African-American community, studying with such authors as the poet and folklorist, Sterling Brown, and the sociologist and editor, Nathan Hare.

This was period of powerful and creative social activism for African-Americans, and Howard University was one of its centers. The university had been the site of the NAACP's preparations and moot court arguments for the pivotal Brown v. Topeka Board case before the Supreme Court in 1954, and there was a strong human rights tradition among the faculty and student body.

Howard was the seat of the Non-Violent Action Group (NAG), a militant city-wide student protest organization that attacked racism in Washington, DC, rural Maryland and Delaware, where it was as virulent as in the deep south. As the leader of NAG, Ture brought the organization into an affiliation with SNCC (pronounced "snick,") the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee. The young people of SNCC had established their organization as the most militant of the civil rights groups in the south through such courageous tactics as the sit-in which defied the laws of segregation by taking black people into places

that were forbidden to them.

Kwame Ture's theoretical acumen, oratorical gifts and dauntless courage soon brought him to the leadership of SNCC. Shortly after leaving Howard in 1964, he and other NAG members joined SNCC in a "summer of action" in Mississippi, the state which had earned the reputation as the home of the most murderous white supremacists. Ture was then named regional coordinator of SNCC projects in the Mississippi delta, where he organized the voter registration of a people who had been denied the franchise since the end of Reconstruction.

1964 also was the year of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party, (FDP). The Democratic Party of Mississippi refused to accept African-American delegates to the national convention that year though the FDP candidates had met every legal and procedural standard impeccably. FDP's challenge at the

convention was irrefutably sound but the National Democratic Party defied every parliamentary rule and seated the all-white Mississippi delegation. The FDP remained a powerful force however, registering thousands of black Mississippians.

Kwame Ture was elected Chairman of SNCC in 1966, the year of the great march in Mississippi that was in support of James Meredith, who had been turned away from a court-ordered admission to the University of Mississippi Law School. The slogan, "Black Power" was the rallying cry of that March and Kwame Ture

was its primary exponent.

As the Chairman of SNCC, Ture was frequently asked to speak on campuses around the nation. His sharp intellect and persuasive speaking style enabled him to be a major influence on students and others who heard him. He also was a featured speaker at the major peace rallies of time, for he was an implacable foe of the American involvement in the Vietnam War.

A project for which Ture was field organizer was the Lowndes County (Alabama) Freedom Organization. It was during this project that the black panther symbol was first displayed which inspired Huey Newton and other California activists to organize the Black Panther Party. Ture worked closely with the Panthers and briefly served as their Chairman.

Kwame Ture had long been interested in Pan-Africanism, and was a serious student of the writings of the movement's leaders, particularly those of the post-colonial heads of state, Julius Nyerere of Tanzania, Guinea's Sekou Toure, and Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana. His name combines the first name of Nkrumah and the last name of Sekou Toure, both of whom he had the honor of working with, serving for a time as Nkrumah's secretary.

In 1968, he married the great South African singer, Miriam Makeeba.

His work with Nkrumah and Toure led him to found the All-African People's Revolutionary Party whose chairman he remained until his death. In his unflagging efforts to forge a diasporan coalition of African peoples who could stand against imperialism and exploitation, Ture attempted to develop unified social and economic ideology. His study of the writings of the Marxists and of the principles of African socialism led him to scientific socialism, which he advocated for the last thirty years of his life.

Unlike most of the radical activists of the '60's, Kwame Ture never compromised. His was a voice that would accept nothing less than true empowerment for his people even if that meant the dismantling of the

international order that hoards the world's resources and keeps most of its people down. He was especially unforgiving of American capitalism, which he saw as the greatest oppressor on Earth.

Even after his body weakened under assault of prostate cancer, his spirit never faltered and his commitment never flagged. To the end he worked to bring the various elements of the African-American community into coalition. To the end he answered the telephone, "ready for the revolution."

Although Stokely Carmichael was not the first to use the phrase "Black Power," he made it famous. Critical of Martin Luther King Jr's. peaceful approach, as chairperson of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) in the 1960s, Carmichael advanced a militant stand on civil rights. A native of Trinidad, Carmichael moved with his family to a mostly white neighborhood in the Bronx, New York, when he was 11. He graduated from Bronx High School of Science in 1960 and, four years later, from Howard University in Washington, D.C., with a bachelor's degree in philosophy.

In addition to studying philosophy, Carmichael became involved in civil rights protests during his years at Howard. He participated in demonstrations staged by the Congress of Racial Equality, the Nonviolent Action Committee, and SNCC. He was arrested as a Freedom Rider in 1961 and served seven weeks in Parchman Penitentiary for violating Mississippi's segregation laws. Carmichael returned to the South after college and devoted himself to the organization of SNCC's black voter registration project in Lowndes County, Alabama. There, he also founded an independent political party called the Lowndes County Freedom Organization that used the black panther as its symbol.

Carmichael became the chairman of SNCC in 1966. He catapulted into the national spotlight that August, when he ended a speech with a call for "Black Power." Black Power became a rallying cry for black protests during the 1960s and 1970s, and it also created a wedge between SNCC and more moderate civil rights groups. Defined in many ways, Black Power emphasizes independent political and economic development by blacks as a necessary element of social change. Carmichael and political scientist Charles Hamilton elaborate on the concept in their book, Black Power (1967).

A 1967 world tour to publicize the black struggle in the United States brought Carmichael more controversy in Washington, D.C. His passport was revoked for visiting Cuba and, when he returned to the United States, Carmichael faced indictment for sedition. He was never prosecuted, however. The following year, Carmichael became prime minister of the Black Panther Party.

In 1969 Carmichael began to focus his political activity on Africa. After the Black Panthers, he went to work for the All-African People's Revolutionary Party in Ghana. That same year, he and his wife, South African singer Miriam Makeba, went to live in the African nation of Guinea. In 1978 Carmichael took the first and last names of his mentors, Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana, and Ahmed SГ©kou TourГ© of Guinea. Now known as Kwame TourГ©, he continues to travel and lecture about U.S. imperialism, Pan-Africanism, and socialism. His second book, a collection of speeches and essays entitled Stokely Speaks, appeared in 1971.

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