Knowledge Session: Who Was Stokely Carmichael (Kwame Ture) ?

Kwame Ture was born as Stokely Car­mi­chael on the Carib­bean island of Trin­id­ad, on June 29, 1941. Kwame became a house­hold name in amerikkka dur­ing the 1960s when after enrolling as a stu­dent of Howard Uni­ver­sity in Wash­ing­ton D.C., Kwame decided to join the freedom rider efforts to integ­rate the south­ern por­tion of the united snakes. As a mem­ber of the Stu­dent Non­vi­ol­ent Coördin­at­ing Com­mit­tee, SNCC (pro­nounced SNICK), Kwame was arres­ted 26 times between 1964 and 1966 because of his work to register Afric­ans in Mis­sis­sip­pi, Alabama, and Geor­gia, to vote. In June, 1966, Kwame defeated now usa Con­gress­man John Lewis to become Chair­per­son of SNCC.

Kwame’s elec­tion as SNCC Chair­per­son signaled the grow­ing mil­it­ancy with­in SNCC, and the move­ment, and a desire on behalf of many in the mem­ber­ship to take a more mil­it­ant and uncom­prom­ising stance on Afric­an lib­er­a­tion. Dur­ing the sum­mer of 1966, Kwame became known as the per­son who pop­ular­ized the phrase “Black Power” when he artic­u­lated that demand in Green­wood, Mis­sis­sip­pi, dur­ing the great Civil Rights march of that sum­mer. It should be noted that although Kwame has been cred­ited with cre­at­ing that phrase, the phrase has a long his­tory that extends back to the 1700s and the move­ment and writ­ings of Mar­tin Delaney. Dur­ing his ten­ure as Chair­per­son of SNCC, Kwame helped the organ­iz­a­tion develop into one of the most mil­it­ant Afric­an organ­iz­a­tions in amerikkka. SNCC became the first Afric­an organ­iz­a­tion to come out again­st the Viet­nam war. SNCC was also the first Afric­an organ­iz­a­tion to take a pos­i­tion again­st the zion­ist state of israel. In 1968, Kwame briefly spent time as the Prime Min­ister of the Black Pan­ther Party (BPP) that was foun­ded in Oak­land, Cali­for­nia by Huey P. New­ton and Bobby Seale. By the end of 1968, Kwame had resigned from the BPP, not because, as the imper­i­al­ist press has con­sist­ently claimed, the BPP “forged links with whit­erad­ic­als”, but because the BPP’s ideo­lo­gic­al frame­work was not com­pletely con­sist­ent with Kwame’s devel­op­ing ideo­lo­gic­al ori­ent­a­tion.

In 1967, while still Chair­per­son of SNCC, in the height of the united snakes of amerikka imper­i­al­ist war again­st Viet­nam, Kwame had the priv­ilege of going to Viet­nam and vis­it­ing the Great Nguy­en Al Thouc (Ho Chi Minh), the lead­er of the Viet­namese war res­ist­ance again­st amerikkkan imper­i­al­ism.

It was dur­ing that vis­it when Kwame expressed his dis­il­lu­sion­ment with the dir­ec­tion of the struggle in the amerikkka, that Al Thouc told Kwame “why don’t you go to Africa? It is your home.” Tak­ing Al Thouc’s advice fur­ther, Kwame took up the offer made by Guinean (West Afric­an) Pres­id­ent Sekou Ture made three years pri­or to a vis­it­ing SNCC del­eg­a­tion, to come to Guinea, stay, and help to build the Afric­an revolu­tion. In 1968, Kwame moved to Guinea and began to live and study under Sekou Ture, and Kwame Nkrumah, the first pres­id­ent of Ghana who was over­thrown in a cent­ral intel­li­gence agency-organ­ized Coup in 1966.

After the coup in Ghana, Ture invited Nkrumah to come to Guinea and become Co-Pres­id­ent of Guinea. At that time, Guinea was strug­gling to build the Demo­crat­ic Party of Guinea (PDG), as a mass, Pan-Afric­an­ist polit­ic­al party that would func­tion as a base with­in West Africa in which to launch the Pan-Afric­an struggle to unite Africa under one con­tin­ent­al, social­ist, gov­ern­ment (see Nkrumah; Hand­book of Revolu­tion­ary War­fare pg. 56–59). Kwame Ture stayed in Guinea from 1968, until his death in 1998, work­ing to bring about Pan-Afric­an­ism. Ture and Nkrumah passed on in 1984 and 1972 respect­ively.

In 1977, Kwame changed his name from Stokely Car­mi­chael to Kwame Ture in order to hon­or the Pan-Afric­an­ist work of Sekou Ture and Kwame Nkrumah. From 1968 to 1998, Kwame worked tire­lessly to build the All Afric­an People’s Revolu­tion­ary Party (A-APRP), which is the revolu­tion­ary Pan-Afric­an­ist polit­ic­al party that Nkrumah dis­cussed in his hand­book as the logic­al vehicle to bring about unity and social­ism to Africa. In the Hand­book, Nkrumah talked about the inab­il­ity of the Organ­iz­a­tion of Afric­an Unity (OAU), which he foun­ded, to bring about genu­ine Afric­an unity. He offered up the A-APRP, through it’s organ­iz­a­tion of the All Afric­an Com­mit­tee for Polit­ic­al Coördin­a­tion (A-ACPC) as the vehicle to bring about true unity. The A-ACPC, unlike the OAU, would not depend on the gov­ern­ments to unite, but would instead unite the genu­ine Afric­an revolu­tion­ary polit­ic­al parties and move­ments under the dir­ec­tion and guid­ance of the A-APRP to bring about con­tin­ent­al uni­fic­a­tion.

Kwame Ture spent 4 years at Howard, three years in SNCC, less than one year in the BPP, but thirty years in the A-APRP. He didn’t run away, dis­ap­pear, or become irrel­ev­ant after 1968, as the imper­i­al­ists, and many so-called pro­gress­ives and revolu­tion­ar­ies would have you believe. Instead he worked tire­lessly to build the A-ACPC and the A-APRP. Today, five years after his phys­ic­al trans­ition, no one can deny the fruits of his work. The A-APRP, in its efforts to build the A-ACPC, has developed strong prin­cipled brother/sister rela­tion­ships with the Demo­crat­ic Party of Guinea, Pan-Afric­an Uni­on of Sier­ra Leone, Afric­an Party for the Inde­pend­ence of Guinea-Bis­sau, Azani­an People’s Organ­iz­a­tion of Azania/South Africa, and Pan-Afric­an­ist Con­gress of Azania/South Africa, all of which con­sider them­selves A-ACPC organ­iz­a­tions as called for by Nkrumah.

The A-APRP has organ­izers on the ground, openly integ­rated with the A-APRP and those respect­ive parties and organ­iz­a­tions in each of those coun­tries, as well as Ghana, Seneg­al, The Gam­bia, Bri­tain, Canada, Bar­ba­dos, Vir­gin Islands, Brazil, and through­out the united snakes of amerikkka. These organ­izers are work­ing to build the A-ACPC which will serve as a world­wide fight­ing for­ce of Pan-Afric­an revolu­tion­ar­ies who are ded­ic­ated to fight­ing amerikkkan led imper­i­al­ism to lib­er­ate Africa under one uni­fied, social­ist gov­ern­ment. As Kwame Nkrumah and Sekou Ture pre­dicted, once Africa is free, uni­fied, and social­ist, Africa, and Afric­ans, wherever they live on the plan­et, will be empowered to make a prop­er for­ward con­tri­bu­tion to all of human civil­iz­a­tion.

Kwame Ture’s life, from Civil Rights, to Black Power, for­ward to Pan-Afric­an­ism, is the logic­al for­ward pro­gress of the inter­na­tion­al struggle of Afric­an people to achieve self-determ­in­a­tion. He should be remembered, three years after his death, as Rev. Jesse Jack­son described him in 1998, as “a man who nev­er made peace with cap­it­al­ism, racism, and amerikkkan poli­cy.”

Some legacies of Kwame Ture’s life:
— Con­tri­bu­tions to the A-APRP which include actu­al­iz­ing a genu­ine inter­na­tion­al Pan-Afric­an polit­ic­al party, based in Africa.
— Con­trib­ut­ing towards devel­op­ing true prin­cipled rela­tion­ships with< non-Afric­an revolu­tion­ar­ies such as
-the Palestine Lib­er­a­tion Organ­iz­a­tion,
-Irish Repub­lic­an Social­ist Party, Inter­na­tion­al Indi­an Treaty
-Council/American Indi­an Move­ment.
— Con­tri­bu­tion towards insti­tu­tion­al­iz­ing Afric­an Lib­er­a­tion Day as an inter­na­tion­al Pan-Afric­an­ist day of protest and unity through­out the world.
— Con­tri­bu­tions towards devel­op­ing and build­ing an Afric­an United Front in amerikkka between groups as far apart ideo­lo­gic­ally as the NAACP, Urb­an League, Nation of Islam, Repub­lic of New Afrika, and A-APRP.

[Source: The Talk­ing Drum ]

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Rishma Dhaliwal

Rishma Dhaliwal

Edit­or / PR Con­sult­ant at No Bounds
Rish­ma Dhali­wal has extens­ive exper­i­ence study­ing and work­ing in the music and media industry. Hav­ing writ­ten a thes­is on how Hip Hop acts as a social move­ment, she has spent years research­ing and con­nect­ing with artists who use the art form as a tool for bring­ing a voice to the voice­less. Cur­rently work­ing in TV, Rish­ma brings her PR and media know­ledge to I am Hip Hop and oth­er pro­jects by No Bounds.

About Rishma Dhaliwal

Rishma Dhaliwal
Rishma Dhaliwal has extensive experience studying and working in the music and media industry. Having written a thesis on how Hip Hop acts as a social movement, she has spent years researching and connecting with artists who use the art form as a tool for bringing a voice to the voiceless. Currently working in TV, Rishma brings her PR and media knowledge to I am Hip Hop and other projects by No Bounds.

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