Academic journal article Journal of Pan African Studies

Kwame Ture in Retrospect: Firebrand 1970

Academic journal article Journal of Pan African Studies

Kwame Ture in Retrospect: Firebrand 1970

Article excerpt

Kwame Ture (1941-1998) began working with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) in 1960, in 1964 he received a B.S. degree in Philosophy from Howard University (Washington, DC), and he became chairman of SNCC in 1966. His "Black Power" speech reignited the movement of that name, and in 1967 he and Charles V. Hamilton wrote the book Black Power. In 1968 and 1969, he served as the honorary Prime Minister of the Black Panther Party and also became a student of, and aide to former president Kwame Nkrumah (1909-19772) of Ghana and President Sekou Toure (1922-1984) in the Republic of Guinea, helping to organize the All-African People's Revolutionary Party. For more than 30 years, Ture led the All-African People's Revolutionary Party and devoted the rest of his life to revolutionary Pan African nationalism. In 1998, at the age of 57, he joined the ancestors due to complications from prostate cancer. In 1971 he received an honorary doctorate from Shaw University, and in 1999, Howard University posthumously awarded him an honorary Ph.D.

The following is from a U.S. Congress, Senate, Committee on the Judiciary hearing titled the Testimony of Stokely Carmichael., held at the United States Senate during the 91st Congress, 2d Session, on March 25, 1970, produced in Washington, D.C., and published by the Government Printing Office in 1970.

Politically, we want Black people inside the United States to be free of oppression. We also want the peoples of the Third World to be free from oppression particularly Africa, Asia, and Latin America. We see that our freedom, our liberation, depends on these people and vice versa, their liberation depends on us, so we must wage the same struggle.

--Stokley Carmichael, March 25, 1970

Mr. Sourwine. You were born in Trinidad?

Mr. Carmichael. That is correct, Sir.

Mr. Sourwine. When, Sir?

Mr. Carmichael. June 1941, according to the records, and my mother.

Mr. Sourwine. You are a naturalized citizen of the United States?

Mr. Carmichael. I Am.

Mr. Sourwine. Naturalized in New York City in 1954?

Mr. Carmichael. Yes.

Mr. Sourwine. And you are a graduate of Howard University?

Mr. Carmichael. That is correct.

Mr. Sourwine. What was your degree?

Mr. Carmichael. I received a B.A. majoring in philosophy. I did work in political science, and I did work in sociology. I carried a double major and a minor in history. And I was an honor student.

Mr. Sourwine. Thank you. Do you have any graduate degrees? Mr. Carmichael. Not officially.

Mr. Sourwine. You are not a man of independent wealth, are you? Mr. Carmichael. I would rather take the first and the fifth on that.

Mr. Sourwine. I am sorry, I meant nothing by that question except to lead up to this one. Did you work your way through school? You made your own way through school by your own efforts, did you not?

Mr. Carmichael. I received several scholarships.

Mr. Sourwine. You earned your scholarships?

Mr. Carmichael. Yes.

Mr. Sourwine. That is all I am trying to get on the record....

Mr. Sourwine. Are you currently connected with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee?

Mr. Carmichael. I would plead the fifth on that.

Mr. Sourwine. Will you tell us if you were ever connected with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee?

Mr. Carmichael. Yes, I was.

Mr. Sourwine. In what position, sir?

Mr. Carmichael. In different capacities. I served as field organizer, particularly in Mississippi and Sunflower County, where Senator James O. Eastland is from. My job then was to organize my people, Africans living in the United States here who were constitutionally denied the right to vote, even though they had the basic right to vote, to organize them and try to bring them into a broadening political modernization so that they would be entitled to the right to vote. …

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