(a.k.a. Stokely Carmichael) was born on June 29, 1941 in Trinidad. He
moved to New York with his parents at a young age. We must always
remember Brother Kwamé’s contributions to the worldwide
African Liberation Movement.
On the morning of
November 15, 1998 it was learned that Kwamé Turé had
made his transition into eternity in Conakry, Guinea.
Along with Henry
English of the Black United Fund of Illinois (the administrator of
the Kwamé Turé Medical Fund), Saraduzayi Sevanhu of the
All African Peoples Revolutionary Party (A-APRP), we were fortunate
and honored to attend the memorial tribute and burial of Brother
Kwamé on November 22nd in Conakry, Guinea where Kwamé
had lived, worked, studied, taught, and struggled for thirty years.
In the late 1960s,
Brother Kwamé Turé was one of the chief spokespersons
and organizers for the All African Peoples Revolutionary Party
(A-APRP), where he had lived in the Republic of Guinea in West
Africa. While in Guinea, Brother Kwamé studied with, and
worked under the guidance of the late President of Guinea, Ahmed
Sekou Turé and the late President of Ghana, Osagyefo Kwamé
Most people throughout
the world began to hear of Kwamé (a.k.a. Stokely Carmichael)
during the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s where he participated
in the first Freedom Rides and many sit-ins and marches.
The origin of Kwamé’s
participation in the Civil Rights Movement began during his high
school years at Bronx High School of Science where he graduated in
1960. Kwamé always had a tendency to be active around the
movement circles in New York while in high school and this continued
when he enrolled at Howard University in 1960.
source documents reveal that, “In the Winter of 1960, Black
college students in dozens of communities across this country
conducted sit-ins to secure the desegregation of lunch counters in
drug and variety stores.” These sources go on to explain that,
“Arrest numbered in the thousands. On every major college
campus in this country, students organized groups such as NAG (The
Non Violent Action Group) at Howard University to continue the Sit-In
Movement.” Kwamé was a founding member of NAG and was
one of its early leaders.
of this student activism, the Student Non-Violent Coordinating
Committee (SNCC) was formed at Shaw University in April 1960. SNCC
and its student base provided ground troops for almost every major
Civil Rights Demonstrations and Campaign during the 1960s period of
the Movement. Kwamé was one of the three hundred “Freedom
Riders” that were arrested “in Mississippi and Alabama
during the Spring and Summer of 1961.” From that point on,
Kwamé participated in every major campaign that emerged.
came to the public’s attention on November 16, 1965 when Look
Magazine featured an article entitled, “Freedom Road,”
that mentioned Kwamé’s role as an organizer and leader
months later, in June of 1966, Ebony Magazine historian and
writer, Lerone Bennett, Jr. wrote an article featuring Kwamé.
Brother Bennett observed in this article that (a.k.a. Carmichael)
Kwamé, like “No other young man, with the exception of
Martin Luther King, Jr. has risen so fast so quickly. No other young
man has sparked such an avalanche of hope, fear, anger, and public
concern.” Bennett asked the question, “Who is this young
man? What does he want? What does he mean by Black Power?”
Again, primary source
documents explain that, “In April, 1966, at the Kingston Spring
SNCC staff meeting (a.k.a. Stokely) was elected chairman, ushering in
a new level and direction for both the organization and the larger
movement of which it was an integral part.” These same sources
indicated that, “In June, after James Meredith was gunned down
on a highway in Mississippi, (a.k.a. Stokely) sounded the new Black
mood.” This is what Kwamé said: “The only way we
are gonna stop them white men from whippin’ us is to take over.
We been saying freedom for six years and we ain’t got nothing.
What we gonna start saying now is BLACK POWER!!"
Kwamé was one of
the leading advocates of Pan-Africanism through his leadership in the
A-APRP. Since the late 1960s, Kwamé has traveled throughout
the world lecturing and organizing African people to understand the
need to struggle around the idea of Pan-Africanism, “as the
only solution to our problems.”
When people in our
movement give unselfishly, and consistently, over the years, like
Kwamé, we must never forget them!