“The job of a revolutionary is, of course, to overthrow unjust systems and replace them with just systems because a revolutionary understands this can only be done by the masses of the people. So, the task of the revolutionary is to organize the masses of the people, given the conditions of the Africans around the world who are disorganized, consequently all my efforts are going to organizing people.”~Kwame Ture

Stokely Carmichael (Circa 29 June 1941- 15 November 1998) popularly known as Kwame Ture 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. He popularized the term "Black Power."
                            Stokely Carmichael speaks at Garfield High School in Seattle during 1967.
Kwame Ture was born in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, on June 29, 1941. Carmichael rose to prominence as a member and later the chairman of SNCC, working with Martin Luther King Jr. and other Southern leaders to stage protests. Carmichael later lost faith in the tactic of non-violence, promoting "Black Power" and allying himself with the militant Black Panther Party.
                           Kwame Ture and Rev Dr Martin Luther King
Carmichael's parents immigrated to New York when he was a toddler, leaving him in the care of his grandmother until the age of 11, when he followed his parents to the United States. Carmichael's mother, Mabel, was a stewardess for a steamship line, and his father, Adolphus, worked as a carpenter by day and a taxi driver by night. An industrious and optimistic immigrant, Adolphus Carmichael chased a version of the American dream that his son would later criticize as an instrument of racist economic oppression. As Stokely Carmichael later said, "My old man believed in this work-and-overcome stuff. He was religious, never lied, never cheated or stole. He did carpentry all day and drove taxis all night& The next thing that came to that poor black man was death—from working too hard. And he was only in his 40s."
Young Carmichael. Stokely Carmichael, along with Charles Hamilton, are credited with coining the phrase “institutional racism”, which is defined as a form of racism that occurs through institutions such as public bodies and corporations, including universities. In the late 1960s Carmichael defined “institutional racism” as “the collective failure of an organization to provide an appropriate and professional service to people because of their color, culture or ethnic origin”.

                                  Stokely Carmichael
In 1954, at the age of 13, Stokely Carmichael became a naturalized American citizen and his family moved to a predominantly Italian and Jewish neighborhood in the Bronx called Morris Park. Soon Carmichael became the only black member of a street gang called the Morris Park Dukes. In 1956, he passed the admissions test to get into the prestigious Bronx High School of Science, where he was introduced to an entirely different social set—the children of New York City's rich white liberal elite. Carmichael was popular among his new classmates; he attended parties frequently and dated white girls. However, even at that age, he was highly conscious of the racial differences that divided him from his classmates. Carmichael later recalled his high school friendships in harsh terms: "Now that I realize how phony they all were, how I hate myself for it. Being liberal was an intellectual game with these cats. They were still white, and I was black.''
    Kwame Ture, formerly known as Stokely Carmichael, lectures on Pan-Africanism
Although he had been aware of the American civil rights movement for years, it was not until one night toward the end of high school, when he saw footage of a sit-in on television, that Carmichael felt compelled to join the struggle. "When I first heard about the Negroes sitting in at lunch counters down South," he later recalled, "I thought they were just a bunch of publicity hounds. But one night when I saw those young kids on TV, getting back up on the lunch counter stools after being knocked off them, sugar in their eyes, ketchup in their hair—well, something happened to me. Suddenly I was burning.'' He joined the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), picketed a Woolworth's store in New York and traveled to sit-ins in Virginia and South Carolina.
                           Stokely Carmichael dancing with a supporter at a gathering in Chicago, IL, 1968.
A stellar student, Carmichael received scholarship offers to a variety of prestigious predominantly white universities after graduating high school in 1960. He chose instead to attend the historically black Howard University in Washington, D.C. There he majored in philosophy, studying the works of Camus, Sartre and Santayana and considering ways to apply their theoretical frameworks to the issues facing the civil rights movement. At the same time, Carmichael continued to increase his participation in the movement itself. While still a freshman in 1961, he went on his first Freedom Ride—an integrated bus tour through the South to challenge the segregation of interstate travel. During that trip, he was arrested in Jackson, Mississippi for entering the "whites only" bus stop waiting room and jailed for 49 days. Undeterred, Carmichael remained actively involved in the civil rights movement throughout his college years, participating in another Freedom Ride in Maryland, a demonstration in Georgia and a hospital workers' strike in New York. He graduated from Howard University with honors in 1964.
        The great and gifted orator Kwame Ture delivering a speech to students whiles sitting
Carmichael left school at a critical moment in the history of the civil rights movement. The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) dubbed the summer of 1964 "Freedom Summer," rolling out an aggressive campaign to register black voters in the Deep South. Carmichael joined SNCC as a newly minted college graduate, using his eloquence and natural leadership skills to quickly be appointed field organizer for Lowndes County, Alabama. When Carmichael arrived in Lowndes County in 1965, African Americans made up the majority of the population but remained entirely unrepresented in government. In one year, Carmichael managed to raise the number of registered black voters from 70 to 2,600 300 more than the number of registered white voters in the county.
     April 16, 1967: From the hood of a car, Stokely Carmichael preaches Black Power to students at Tallahassee's Florida A&M University. (Photo courtesy of AP Photo/STF, Associated Press/Wide World Photos)


Civil rights leader Stokely Carmichael gestures as he leaves jail in 1967. Carmichael, who headed the Student Nonviolent National Council from 1966-67 and founded the Lowndes County Freedom Organization, estimates that he was arrested about 30 times during his years of activism.

'I knew that I could vote and that that wasn't a privilege; it was my right. Every time I tried I was shot, killed or jailed, beaten or economically deprived. "
Stokely Carmichael 
Unsatisfied with the response of either of the major political parties to his registration efforts, Carmichael founded his own party, the Lowndes County Freedom Organization. To satisfy a requirement that all political parties have an official logo, he chose a black panther, which later provided the inspiration for the Black Panthers (a different black activist organization founded in Oakland, California).
At this stage in his life, Carmichael adhered to the philosophy of nonviolent resistance espoused by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. In addition to moral opposition to violence, proponents of nonviolent resistance believed that the strategy would win public support for civil rights by drawing a sharp contrast—captured on nightly television—between the peacefulness of the protestors and the brutality of the police and hecklers opposing them. However, as time went on, Carmichael—like many young activists—became frustrated with the slow pace of progress and with having to endure repeated acts of violence and humiliation at the hands of white police officers without recourse.
                          Stokely Carmichael
By the time he was elected national chairman of SNCC in May 1966, Carmichael had largely lost faith in the theory of nonviolent resistance that he—and SNCC—had once held dear. As chairman, he turned SNCC in a sharply radical direction, making it clear that white members, once actively recruited, were no longer welcome. The defining moment of Carmichael's tenure as chairman—and perhaps of his life—came only weeks after he took over leadership of the organization.
                      Martin Luther King, Jr. and Kwame Ture later came to finish the March in Mississippi Against Fear.

 In June 1966, James Meredith, a civil rights activist who had been the first black student to attend the University of Mississippi, embarked on a solitary "Walk Against Fear" from Memphis, Tennessee to Jackson, Mississippi. About 20 miles into Mississippi, Meredith was shot and wounded too severely to continue. Carmichael decided that SNCC volunteers should carry on the march in his place, and upon reaching Greenwood, Mississippi on June 16, an enraged Carmichael gave the address for which he would forever be best remembered. "We been saying 'freedom' for six years," he said. "What we are going to start saying now is 'Black Power.'"
   In a rare public appearance together, the leaders of Civil Rights groups conduct a news conference in Memphis,Tenn., in this June 7, 1966 file photo, in the wake of the shotgun attack on James Meredith near Hernando,Miss. From left, they are: Stokely Carmichael, leader of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee; the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference; and Floyd McKissick,speaking, national director of the Congress of Racial Equality.

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The phrase "black power" quickly caught on as the rallying cry of a younger, more radical generation of civil rights activists. The term also resonated internationally, becoming a slogan of resistance to European imperialism in Africa. In his 1968 book, Black Power: The Politics of Liberation, Carmichael explained the meaning of black power: ''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.''
      Kwame Ture (Stokely Carmichael), Amiri Baraka, Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin (H. Rap Brown)
Black power also represented Carmichael's break with King's doctrine of nonviolence and its end goal of racial integration. Instead, he associated the term with the doctrine of black separatism, articulated most prominently by Malcolm X. "When you talk of black power, you talk of building a movement that will smash everything Western civilization has created,'' Carmichael said in one speech. Unsurprisingly, the turn to black power proved controversial, evoking fear in many white Americans, even those previously sympathetic to the civil rights movement, and exacerbating fissures within the movement itself between older proponents of nonviolence and younger advocates of separatism. Martin Luther King called black power "an unfortunate choice of words."
                Dr. King’s nonviolence was rejected by the Black Power movement, personified by Stokely Carmichael (later Kwame Ture) and Willie “Mukasa” Ricks, shown here, but there was great mutual admiration among them.

   1967 wedding photo of Kwame ture and South African freedom Fighter and musical icon Mariam Makeba
In 1967, Carmichael took a transformative journey, traveling outside the United States to visit with revolutionary leaders in Cuba, North Vietnam, China and Guinea. Upon his return to the United States, he left SNCC and became Prime Minister of the more radical Black Panthers. He spent the next two years speaking around the country and writing essays on black nationalism, black separatism and, increasingly, pan-Africanism, which ultimately became Carmichael's life cause. In 1969, Carmichael quit the Black Panthers and left the United States to take up permanent residence in Conakry, Guinea, where he dedicated his life to the cause of pan-African unity. "America does not belong to the blacks," he said, explaining his departure from the country. Carmichael changed his name to Kwame Toure to honor both the President of Ghana, Kwame Nkrumah, and the President of Guinea, Sekou Toure.
Stokely Carmichael of SNCC, Kwame Nkrumah of the CPP and Shirley Graham DuBois of the CP in Guinea during 1967. Nkrumah was living in Guinea in the aftermath of a CIA-backed military and police coup in Ghana on Feb. 24, 1966., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos 
In 1968,Carmichael married Miriam Makeba, a South African singer. After they divorced, he later married a Guinean doctor named Marlyatou Barry. Although he made frequent trips back to the United States to advocate pan-Africanism as the only true path to liberation for black people worldwide, Carmichael maintained permanent residence in Guinea for the rest of his life. Carmichael was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 1985, and although it is unclear precisely what he meant, he said publicly that his cancer "was given to me by forces of American imperialism and others who conspired with them.'' He died on November 15, 1988, at the age of 57.
   In this picture dated Sept 12, 1968, the late Stokely Carmichael, alias Kwame Ture, right, is seen in the West African country of Guinea, with his wife, the late singer Miriam Makeba, at left.

               kwame ture and his wife mariam makeba and a guest
An inspired orator, persuasive essayist, effective organizer and expansive thinker, Carmichael stands out as one of the preeminent figures of the American civil rights movement. His tireless spirit and radical outlook are perhaps best captured by the greeting with which he answered his telephone until his dying day: "Ready for the revolution!"
                                 Portrait of Kwame Ture

Kwame Ture last words !Organize! Organize!
(formerly known as Stokely Carmichael) All-African People`s Revolutionary Party. His last words ! Organize! Organize! Organizer,

Kwame Ture (formerly known as Stokely Carmichael. His last words !Organize! Organize! Organizer,

We know that one of the greatest crimes an individual can commit is that of being ungrateful.

I have made many errors, but of one thing I am certain, my ability to continue serving in the African and World Revolution is greatly attributed to a number of contributions that I have received from the masses of African and other Oppressed Peoples worldwide. We cite here, just a few examples.

In 1966, when I had just been elected Chairperson of the Student Non-violent Coordinating Committee, my first official act, was to visit the Honorable Elijah Muhammad and the Nation of Islam. It is then that he ordered all members of the Fruit of Islam to protect me wherever I traveled, anywhere in the world. I am still under that umbrella of protection today, here in Africa, in Guinea. I could never be ungrateful to the Nation of Islam, to the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, nor to his incarnation - Minister Louis Farrakhan.

                              Dr Kwame Ture

In 1967, U.S. imperialism was seriously planning to assassinate me. It still is, this time by an FBI induced cancer, the latest in the white man´s arsenal of chemical and biological warfare, as I am more determined to destroy it today than in 1967. It was Fidel Castro who before the OLAS Conference said "if imperialism touches one grain of hair on his head, we shall not let the fact pass without retaliation." It was he, who on his own behalf, asked them all to stay in contact with me when I returned to the United States to offer me protection. I could never be ungrateful to the People of Cuba nor to Cuba´s incarnation - Fidel Castro.

In 1967, Presidents Ahmed Seku Ture and Kwame Nkrumah, through the intercession of Shirley Graham DuBois, invited me to attend the 8th Congress of the Democratic Party of Guinea (RDA). They invited me to live, work, study and struggle here in Guinea, an invitation which I readily accepted, despite tremendous criticism from almost every quarter. Thirty years later, I still live in Guinea, working, studying and struggling for the African Revolution. And I will continue to do so until the last second, of the last minute, of the last hour, of the last day. And it is my wish to sleep here in Guinea, eternally. I could never be ungrateful to the People of Guinea, nor Guinea´s and Africa´s incarnations - Ahmed Seku Ture and Kwame Nkrumah.

                       Kwame Ture and his wife Mariam makeba

Today, on behalf of the All-African People´s Revolutionary Party (A-APRP), I am honored to accept an invitation that has been extended by Brother Muammar Al Qathafi and the People of the Libyan Jamiriyha to travel to Tripoli, which is in Africa, so that they might assist me in my eternal fight, against an unyielding enemy. It would be ungrateful, and unAfrican for me to refuse.

We wish to thank Brother Muammar and the People of the Libyan Jamiriyha for sending us this hospital plane which I, and members of my biological and ideological family now board. This act is just one more act of an infinite number of Brother Muammar´s and the Libyan People´s contributions to African and World Humanity. I am sure I will never be ungrateful to the revolutionary People of the Libyan Jamahiriyat as long as I live, as I shall remain eternally steadfast and faithful to revolutionary principles. And I know that my biological and ideological family will remain steadfast and faithful as well.

                  Kwame Ture in street demonstration with Dr King

Sisters and Brother, Comrades, we know that the Cuban and Libyan Revolutions have a base of solid support among the Africans in United States and around the world. Imperialism also knows this. This support has been earned by Cuba and Libya, at great sacrifice. All Africans in the United States know anytime imperialism is hunting an African Revolutionary, if they make it to Cuba, as in baseball, they are home safe. From Robert Williams to Assata Shakur, Cuba has paid a heavy price as a haven for Revolutionaries throughout the world. We also know, first hand, Libya´s contributions to, and protection of African and other Revolutionaries worldwide. U.S. imperialism is doing everything possible to corrode Cuba´s and Libya´s support among the Africans in the United States and the world. 

Today, we board a hospital plane to travel nonstop from Conakry to Tripoli, Libya, a revolutionary country, an African country. All of our Brother, Sister and Allied Organizations, worldwide, have been requested by our Party, the All-African People´s Revolutionary Party, to join us in Tripoli; and on our return from Tripoli to Conakry. Travel to a revolutionary country, especially one in Africa, must lead to concrete action to advance the African and World Revolution. We have a heightened responsibility to help protect Cuba and Libya at this time. We must move before U.S. imperialism is strengthened and attacks, not after, by strengthening our people ideologically and practically now. We must cement Cuba and Libya to Africa, and to African People worldwide, and vice versa.

We must make it clear, that an embargo and travel ban against Cuba and Libya, is an embargo and travel ban against Africa and against 1 billion African People who are scattered, suffering and struggling in every corner of the world. We must make it crystal clear that if you attack Cuba and Libya, you attack all African People worldwide, and we must break U.S. imperialism´s hands off Cuba and Libya. We must end this illegal and immoral embargo and travel ban now. And with this act, by our example of boarding this hospital plane, we declare an end, once and for all, to this illegal and immoral embargo and travel ban, an end to this latest crime against African and World Humanity. 

As children, we joined the Freedom Rides, to break the back of segregation and apartheid in interstate transportation in the United States. Today, we ride on the front of the bus, we charter buses to take one million men, women and children to marches in Washington, Philadelphia, New York and Atlanta. And we will never turn back.

                                     Kwame Ture

In the 1960´s, we said "Hell No, we won´t go" to Vietnam, to fight against a people who never called us a nigger, and we didn´t go. We said that they would defeat U.S. imperialism, and the heroic Vietnamese People, under the sterling example and leadership of the eternal Ho Chi Minh did. 

Today, we say "Hell yes, we are going to Libya." We are traveling nonstop, all the way, from Conakry to Tripoli, and we warn the U.S. government not to interfere. We are certain today, that the people of Cuba and Libya, under the steadfast leadership of Fidel Castro and Muammar Quadafhi will be victorious.
The embargo and travel ban against Libya, Cuba, North Korea, Iraq and Iran is finished, as of this day. The All-African People´s Revolutionary Party is honored to make our humble contribution towards this end. We thank the you. As African youth worldwide say, "the beat goes on."

As always, we remain Ready for Revolution!

Kwame Ture
Central Committee Member of the
All-African People´s Revolutionary Party and the
Democratic Party of Guinea
Conakry, Guinea
Statement by Kwame Ture (source

          Marilyn Buck with Kwame Ture (formerly Stokely Carmichael) at Dublin FCI, 1994. Buck is one of the few black lefts that has supported black interests and was sentenced into eighty years imprisonment for politically motivated incidents including the liberation of sister Asata Shakur. she served 25 years it and died in 3 #rd august 2010 at the age of 62.

                                           kwame ture

Stokely Carmichael, a.k.a Kwame Ture

                      L-R: Stokely Carmichael & Bobby Seale.  Photo by Jeffrey Blankfort.

Stokely Carmichael at SNCC Office, Atlanta, GA, 1967

SNCC freedom fighters (from left to right) Obaka (Thomas Taylor), Don JelinekStu House, Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin (H. Rap Brown), Kwame Ture (Stokeley Carmichael), and Jimmy Lytle during a trial in Selma, 1967.

Kwame Ture and Nina Simone talking about revolution

Kwame Ture (Stokely Carmichael) - The Importance Of Studying History,
Stockley Carmichael, breaking down the paradigm of social & cultural racism which was historically backed through scientific racism from the 18th century till today in some places. However this ideological view is on it’s deathbed.
So it’s proponents are desperately reevaluating, revising, and rationalizing the justifications for their obsolete racist views. Yet, they’re failing miserably. They’re facing the inevitable; IDEOLOGICAL EXTINCTION.
Furthermore Kwame reemphasizes the importance of people on the continent and diaspora knowing their history. He emphasizes the importance of Africa being the Centre of history for the people on the continent.  
The thing he said that got me going, was, ‘If the indigenous people of America Started their history with the Arrival of Columbus they would be in trouble’.