Stokely Carmichael

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Carmichael, Stokely,

1941–98, African-American social activist, b. Trinidad. He lived in New York City from 1952 and graduated from Howard Univ. in 1964. Carmichael participated in the Congress of Racial Equality's "freedom rides" in 1961, and by 1964 was a field organizer for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) in Alabama. As SNCC chair in 1966, he ejected more moderate leaders and set off a storm of controversy by calling for "black power," a concept he elaborated in a 1967 book (with C. Hamilton). He was also an anti-Vietnam War activist, and railed against both racial and economic injustice. His increasingly separatist politics isolated Carmichael from most of the civil-rightscivil rights,
rights that a nation's inhabitants enjoy by law. The term is broader than "political rights," which refer only to rights devolving from the franchise and are held usually only by a citizen, and unlike "natural rights," civil rights have a legal as well as a
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 movement. He immigrated to Guinea in 1969 and spent the rest of his life there, calling himself a pan-African revolutionary but largely relegated to the political fringe. He changed his name to Kwame Ture, and was married briefly to the singer Miriam MakebaMakeba, Miriam
, 1932–2008, South African singer. She became the first black South African to achieve international fame and she played a fundamental role in introducing African music to the West.
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. His memoir Ready for Revolution was posthumously published in 2003.


See biography by P. E. Joseph (2014).

Carmichael, Stokely

(1941–  ) radical activist; born in Trinidad. A carpenter's son, he emigrated to America (1952) and was shocked by the racism he encountered. Involved in civil rights while attending Howard University (1960–64), he was elected leader of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and changed the group's focus from integration to "black liberation." Gifted, handsome, and articulate, he popularized the phrase "black power" and as a Black Panther came to symbolize black violence to many whites. He came to favor forging alliances with radical whites and resigned from the Panthers over this approach (1968). He and his wife, South African singer Miriam Makeba, moved to Guinea (1969), where he supported Pan-Africanism. He eventually returned to the U.S.A., but he dropped out of all civil rights activities.