The following post will shade more light on Freedom Rider Stokely Carmichael. It will also answer questions such as ‘What did Stokely Carmichael fight for?’ ‘What do you admire the most about Stokely Carmichael?’ ‘Is he still alive?’ If so, what are they doing now?’
Stokely Carmichael was born on June 29, 1941, in Spain, Trinidad, and he later changed his name to Kwame Ture. He died in coronary Guinean on November 15, 1998. He was a western-Indian-born civil rights activist and leader of Black Nationalism in the U.S. in the 1960s, and he was also the originator of ‘black power, a rallying slogan. He moved to New York and attended high school in the Bronx; in 1960, he was enrolled at Harvard University (Bates, 2014). At Harvard, he joined the student nonviolent coordinating committee (SNCC) and a nonviolent action group.
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In 1961, he joined the freedom riders and traveled through the south challenging segregation laws in interstate transportation. Because of his participation as a freedom rider, Carmichael was arrested and jailed in Jackson, Mississippi, for about two months. However, after his graduation with honors from Harvard, he continued his involvement with the civil rights movement and SNCC.
What did Stokely Carmichael fight for
He helped organize the Lowndes country freedom organization, an independent political party, and assisted in an African American voter registration complaint. He and his associates from the SNCC supported a nonviolent approach as they supported Martin Luther King. However, they were frustrated when other civil rights activists were beaten and even murdered.
Why did Stokely Carmichael advocate black power
Carmichael became the chairman of SNCC in 1966; in the same year, he advocated for the founding of the Black Power movement, which compelled self-defense tactics, self-determination, racial pride, and political and economic power to all the black Americans (Carmichael et al., 1992). He spoke out against political and economic repression and denounced the United States’ involvement in the Vietnam War. As the chairman of the SNCC, Carmichael turned the movement in a sharply radical direction, and he made it clear that the white members were not welcomed into the committee.
When one of the activists was shot during a solitary walk, he and other committee members were pissed, and without fear, he introduced the black power movement after it was clear that the nonviolent approach was not working. According to him, black power was a call for black people to unite, recognize their heritage and build a sense of their community. However, this movement represented his break with Martin Luther King’s doctrine of non-violence and its goal for racial integration.
Stokely Carmichael’s quote from Black Power
During one of his speeches, he said, “when you talk about black power, you talk of building a movement that destroys everything western civilization has created”.
This term Carmichael created proven controversial and evoked fear in the white population. It was a call for the blacks to define their goals and lead their organizations. In 1967 he left the SNCC and became the prime minister of more radical Black Panther. He then spent more than two years moving around the country as he spoke and wrote essays on Black Nationalism, pan-Africanism, and black separation, which became his life cause. He helped establish the all-African people revolution party, an international political party dedicated to pan-Africanism and the plight of Americans worldwide.
What I admire most about Stokely Carmichael
What I admire most about Carmichael and the other freedom riders is their ambition, lack of fear, and love for the people of their community, whom they fought tirelessly for. Carmichael was ready to do whatever it took to ensure that the African American population was safe from racial discrimination and injustices imposed by the white civilization. As opposed to the other leaders, he was fearless and was ready to face the situation head-on and even use violence if necessary he was prepared to die; this is a trait that is not seen in many people, and it is what I admire most about this man.
Where are the freedom riders today?
Most of the freedom riders were killed or arrested in their quest for freedom. Those who survived, like Carmichael, fled to different parts of the world. After the movement, Carmichael changed his name, where he exiled with a Ghanaian leader Kwame Nkrumah; he distanced himself from the black panthers when more white activists started participating. He married a South African musician, later appointed as a guinea official delegate for the United Nations. After he arrived in Africa, he published a formal rejection to the panther members, and he condemned them for not being separatist enough.
The central Intelligence agency tracked Carmichael’s movement as part of the surveillance of the black activist board, and this continued for years. However, he remained in guinea but continued writing and speaking in support of international leftist movements. His essays were published in Stokely Speaks Black Power Back to Pan-Africanism; the essays expounded explicitly the vision of pan- Africa socialist that he retained all his life.
Bates, K. G. (2014, March 10). Stokely Carmichael, a philosopher behind the Black power movement. NPR.org. https://www.npr.org/sections/codeswitch/2014/03/10/287320160/stokely-carmichael-a-philosopher-behind-the-black-power-movement
Carmichael, S., Ture, K., & Hamilton, C. V. (1992). Black power: The politics of liberation in America. Third World Information Service.
Joseph, P. E. (2015). Response for Stokely: A life Author. journal of civil and human right, 1(1), 126-132. https://doi.org/10.5406/jcvihumarigh.1.1.0126