Stokely Carmichael, 1966 Black Power Speech at UCBerkeley
It was at this rally that the call was first heard for Black Power. When He Said it the Entire World Repeated It. Today we remember the originator of Black Power - Dr. Kwame Ture. Please feel free to repost and to forward this tribute widely.
This Is a Day when we should all say "Black Power" and mean it.
Stokely Carmichael Sound Clips
"This country told us that if we worked hard we would succeed, and if that were true we would own this country lock, stock, and barrel, lock, stock, and barrel, lock, stock, and barrel.
It is we who have picked the cotton for nothing. It is we who are the maids in the kitchens of liberal white people. It is we who are the janitors, the porters, the elevator men; we who sweep up your college floors.
Yes, it is we who are the hardest workers and the lowest paid, and the lowest paid. And that it is nonsensical for people to start talking about human relationships until they're willing to build new institutions. Black people are economically insecure. White liberals are economically secure.
Can you begin to build an economic coalition? Are the liberals willing to share their salaries with the economically insecure black people they so much love? Then if you're not, are you willing to start building new institutions that will provide economic security for black people?
That's the question we want to deal with. That's the question we want to deal with. We have to seriously examine the histories that we have been told. But we have something more to do than that.
American students are perhaps the most politically unsophisticated students in the world, in the world, in the world. Across every country in this world, while we were growing up, students were leading the major revolutions of their countries. We have not been able to do that.
They have been politically aware of their existence. In South America our neighbors down below the border have one every 24 hours just to remind us that they're politically aware. And we have been unable to grasp it because we've always moved in the field of morality and love while people have been politically jiving with our lives.
And the question is, How do we now move politically and stop trying to move morally? You can't move morally against a man like Brown and Reagan. You've got to move politically to put them out of business. You've got to move politically.
You can't move morally against Lyndon Baines Johnson because he is an immoral man. He doesn't know what it's all about. So you've got to move politically. You've got to move politically. And that we have to begin to develop a political sophistication, which is not to be a parrot: 'The two-party system is the best party in the world.'
There is a difference between being a parrot and being politically sophisticated. We have to raise questions about whether or not we do need new types of political institutions in this country, and we in SNCC maintain that we need them now. We need new political institutions in this country. Any time, any time Lyndon Baines Johnson can head a Party which has in it Bobby Kennedy, Wayne Morse, Eastland, Wallace, and all those other supposed-to-be-liberal cats, there's something wrong with that Party.
They're moving politically, not morally. And that if that party refuses to seat black people from Mississippi and goes ahead and seats racists like Eastland and his clique, it is clear to me that they're moving politically, and that one cannot begin to talk morality to people like that. We must begin to think politically and see if we can have the power to impose and keep the moral values that we hold high.
We must question the values of this society, and I maintain that black people are the best people to do that because we have been excluded from that society. And the question is, we ought to think whether or not we want to become a part of that society.
That's what we want to do. And that that is precisely what it seems to me that the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee is doing. We are raising questions about this country. I do not want to be a part of the American pie. The American pie means raping South Africa, beating Vietnam, beating South America, raping the Philippines, raping every country you've been in. I don't want any of your blood money. I don't want it, don't want to be part of that system."
Kwame Ture' was the voice of My Generation. his words rang out across the airwaves and I was able to watch. America unknowingly helped push the movement, because Blackfolks with TV's watched and invited others to watch. it was the first experiement in social education - conducted unknowingly by Black People For Black People.
This was during a time when Bull Conner was turning dogs and fire hoses on Dr. King and his marchers, and shooting live ammunition into the buildings of Jackson State College; where Kwame and others of SNCC were recruiting for the long hot summer ahead. how can we forget the 1966 - 1967 race riots. Major cities exploded into tension so volatile that white governors like George Romney of Michigan - Called in the National Guard and Tanks into Black Innercities to quell the violence. Black Power was In The Streets
“This country knows what power is. Knows it very well. And it knows what Black Power is ‘cause it’s deprived black people of it for four hundred years.
So it knows what Black Power is. But the question of why do white people in this country associate Black Power with violence, and the [answer] is because of their own inability to deal with blackness.
If we had said ‘Negro Power’ nobody would get scared. [laughter] Everybody would support it. If we said power for colored people, everybody’d be for that. But it is the word “black.” It is the word “black” that bothers people in this country, and that’s their problem, not mine. Their problem.”
This is an interview that Dr. Ture did right before his passing in 1996. It discusses many issues of importance to Africans and Pan Africans, even today.
Get yourself a delicious libation and settle in for an hour with our brother Kwame Ture' - (also known as Stokely Carmichael) as he speaks in a 1996 Interview on various subjects
Furaha Kuzilawah Brother Kwame Ture’
Stokely Carmichael (Cancer), Born June 29th, 1941
“The love we seek to encourage is within the black community, the only American community where men call each other ‘brother’ when they meet.”
“Go home and tell your daughters they’re beautiful.”
“This is what white society does not wish to face; this is why that society prefers to talk about integration. But integration speaks not at all to the problem of poverty, only to the problem of blackness…
Integration, moreover, speaks to the problem of blackness in a despicable way. As a goal, it has been based on complete acceptance of the fact that in order to have a decent house or education, blacks must move into a white neighborhood or send their children to a white school.
This reinforces, among both black and white, the idea that ‘white’ is automatically better and ‘black’ is by definition inferior. This is why integration is a subterfuge for the maintenance of white supremacy.”
Stokely Carmichael, “I maintain that every civil rights bill in this country was passed for white people, not for black people”.
“Now, then, in order to understand white supremacy we must dismiss the fallacious notion that white people can give anybody their freedom. No man can give anybody his freedom. A man is born free. You may enslave a man after he is born free, and that is in fact what this country does.
It enslaves black people after they’re born, so that the only acts that white people can do is to stop denying black people their freedom; that is, they must stop denying freedom. They never give it to anyone.”
“I’m not gonna beg the white man for something I deserve. I’m gonna take it, I’m gonna take it!”
|—||Stokely Carmichael (from archive footage featured in Scarred Justice: The Orangeburg Massacre)|
(Link) View more Stokely Carmichael Sound Clips and Black Power Sound Clips
"Now the question is, How is the white community going to begin to allow for that organizing, because once they start to do that, they will also allow for the organizing that they want to do inside their community. It doesn't make a difference, 'cause we're going to organize our way anyway.
We're going to do it. The question is, How are we going to facilitate those matters, whether it's going to be done with a thousand policemen with submachine guns, or whether or not it's going to be done in a context where it is allowed to be done by white people warding off those policemen.
That is the question. And the question is, How are white people who call themselves activists ready to start move into the white communities on two counts: on building new political institutions to destroy the old ones that we have? And to move around the concept of white youth refusing to go into the army? So that we can start, then, to build a new world. It is ironic to talk about civilization in this country.
This country is uncivilized. It needs to be civilized. It needs to be civilized. And that we must begin to raise those questions of civilization: What it is? And who do it? And so we must urge you to fight now to be the leaders of today, not tomorrow. We've got to be the leaders of today.
This country -- This country is a nation of thieves. It stands on the brink of becoming a nation of murderers. We must stop it. We must stop it. We must stop it. We must stop it. And then, therefore, in a larger sense there's the question of black people. We are on the move for our liberation. We have been tired of trying to prove things to white people. We are tired of trying to explain to white people that we're not going to hurt them. We are concerned with getting the things we want, the things that we have to have to be able to function.
The question is, Can white people allow for that in this country? The question is, Will white people overcome their racism and allow for that to happen in this country? If that does not happen, brothers and sisters, we have no choice but to say very clearly, 'Move over, or we're going to move on over you.' Thank you."
Kwame Ture (Stokely Carmichael) was chair of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and Prime Minister of the Black Panther Party.
A charismatic speaker, his call for “Black Power” sent shock waves throughout the civil rights movement and the white establishment. In 1969, he moved to Guinea and changed his name to Kwame Ture.
From his new base he advocated Pan-Africanism. He dedicated the majority of his life as a member of the A-APRP. He died in November 1998 at the age of 57.