Tag Archives: protests

Stokely Carmichael, Black Power’s forgotten prophet


The civil rights movement has inspired many to glorify the actions and efforts of the two polarizing figures of that tumultuous time — Malcolm X and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

By Peniel E. Joseph

Americans tend to overlook another prominent figure of that time who is arguably as influential those icons. In “Stokely: A Life,” author Peniel E. Joseph sheds light on the activist Stokely Carmichael, painting an in-depth portrait of the civil rights leader and the lengths to which he was willing to go for blacks during a crucial time in American history.

Born in Trinidad in 1941, Stokely Carmichael moved to New York with his family when he was 11. He mingled with children of different backgrounds. From those early encounters he developed ideas about class and race that he would bring to the Civil Rights struggle.

A tall, handsome and well-spoken young man, Carmichael developed and honed the rhetorical skills that would help him spearhead grass-roots movements. He led the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) in the Jim Crow-riddled South while still a student at Howard University in Washington, D.C.

On June 4, 1961, Carmichael boarded a train from New Orleans to Jackson, Mississippi, with eight other “Freedom Riders” in an effort to integrate the train’s “Whites Only” section. They were subsequently arrested and taken to jail for disturbing the peace after attempting to dine in a white cafeteria in Jackson.

Carmichael’s political career gained traction as his fame for organizing movements for black rights grew. During this time, his national profile grew as he organized nonviolent sit-ins, marches and demonstrations such as voting rights campaigns in the Deep South.

Stokely Carmichael’s notoriety not only fueled efforts that lead to the 1963 March on Washington, it also put Carmichael in the position meet and befriend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Dr. King served as an influence for Carmichael as a nonviolent activist, but it was the young man’s uncompromising rhetoric on the Vietnam War that influenced Dr. King.

After the March on Washington, Carmichael began the transition from a pragmatic peace promoter to a radical revolutionist. His national debut on CBS’s “Face the Nation” program allowed him the chance to expose American hypocrisy in which it justified “dropping bombs in Vietnam to ensure free elections there.”

Carmichael argued that the nation could and should “do no less in freedom in Mississippi.”

It was here that his nonviolent rhetoric also changed. He began preaching the necessity of political rights and self-rule by any means necessary, leading to increased scrutiny from J. Edgar Hoover and the FBI.

President Lyndon B. Johnson viewed the “Carmichaels and Kings” of the world as serious threats to the United States, suggesting that they might be under the control of communists by speaking anti-war rhetoric. Carmichael’s trips to Cuba and North Vietnam didn’t help matters much.

Mr. Joseph argues that Carmichael’s call for “Black Power” and the formation of the Black Panther Party for Self Defense provided a new means for African-Americans to not only unite and protect themselves against white Americans but to take pride in being “not lazy, but black, intelligent, aggressive people.”

Black Power gained worldwide attention during the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico City when 200 meter Gold and Bronze Medalists Tommie Smith and John Carlos raised their black gloved fists in the air to symbolize black power.

When he turned 30, Carmichael made the brash decision to embrace pan-African ideology by leaving the United States and moving to Guinea, where the adopted the name Kwame Ture. This move perplexed and disappointed his supporters. He became a somewhat forgotten figure until his death in 1998.

Throughout “Stokely: A Life,” Mr. Joseph suggests that Malcolm X, Dr. Martin Luther King and Stokely Carmichael formed an unacknowledged trio that dominated liberation politics on the world stage during the 1960s. It is a disservice to civil rights history that his name is often omitted when chronicling the progress since that time.

Could it be that because Carmichael was the only man the trio to make it past the age of 40 without becoming a martyr through assassination that he’s been forgotten?

Whatever the reason, Mr. Joseph’s detail rich biography delves into the life of a political activist turned icon while not forgetting to show us his human side.


In Defense of Africatown The City Just Botched a Chance to Address Race Problems in Schools

From: The Seattle Stanger

On November 12, Seattle police had a WMD moment. According to police “intel,” four men had taken over the Horace Mann school building in the Central District, placed a sniper on the roof, and wired the building with explosives, Detective Renee Witt told reporters. Across the street, dozens of armed officers milled about. A SWAT team was on-site, and the entire block was cordoned off.

Like those nonexistent Iraqi nukes, however, “There were no explosives or weapons found on the premises,” Witt admitted later that week in an e-mail. The most resistance they faced was 67-year-old activist Omari Garrett hollering from a window about the need for a proper warrant before he agreed to come down. The men were arrested, charged with criminal trespassing, and released hours later.

Those men were the final holdouts of a five-month schoolhouse occupation by a coalition calling itself Africatown. Through teach-ins and educational programs, the group sought to bring attention to the disadvantages that African American students face in Seattle schools, but some neighbors, education activists, and even reporters took sides against them, riled by what they deemed an unruly group of “squatters.”

The disparities in Seattle schools are well documented. According to the school district’s data, African American third graders pass state math tests, for example, at half the rate of white students. And over the last decade, suspensions and expulsions have been meted out to black high-school students at least three times as often as to white students, school records show. That prompted the federal Department of Education to begin an investigation last year into whether Seattle Public Schools “discriminate against African American students by disciplining them more frequently and more harshly than similarly situated white students,” according to DOE spokesman Jim Bradshaw.


The Black Panther Party in Seattle, 1968-1970

by Kurt Schaefer

This article explores the first three years of the Seattle chapter of the Black Panther Party from its founding by Black Student Union members in 1968 through the 1970 crisis negotiated by Mayor Wes Uhlman. The essay is presented in three parts:

Part 1: Background–the BSU and Black Power

Part 2: Seattle Panthers
Part 3: The Panthers and the Politicians

Source: Read the FULL story right here

Trayvon Martin Video Shows No Blood or Bruises on George Zimmerman

PHOTO: Trayvon Martin, 17, was fatally shot by neighborhood watch leader George Zimmerman. (ABC)

A police surveillance video taken the night that Trayvon Martin was shot dead shows no blood or bruises on George Zimmerman, the neighborhood watch captain who says he shot Martin after he was punched in the nose, knocked down and had his head slammed into the ground.

Source: http://abcnews.go.com

The myth of freedom in the land of the free

The US touts itself as the land of free, but it has laws which are designed to crush criticisms of the state.

Before Occupy Wall Street, many protesters were middle- and upper-middle class college graduates who could safely assume the constitutional guarantee of their civil liberties. But afterward, not so much…


NYPD Spies On Muslims, Stirs National Outcry

The New York Police Department has been monitoring Muslim students in cities as far away as Philadelphia, Buffalo and Syracuse, the Associated Press reports.

Americans question whether this is a privacy breach or a necessary safety measure. Host Michel Martin speaks with an AP investigative reporter and a member of the national Muslim Students Association…

Source: http://www.npr.org

Occupy Seattle Workers’ Caucus March 7, 2012

From: Occupy Seattle website:

There’s been a lot of talk/interest in having a session in OS that’s specific to folks who are working at awful/low wage/mostly non-unionized/casualized jobs, and trying to be involved in Occupy…

Source: http://www.occupyseattle.org

Occupy Seattle protests incinerator

Protestors led by Occupy Seattle’s Dorli Rainey demand an end to what they say is pollution created by the Seattle Steam incinerator located near Pike Place Market on Saturday, Feb. 11, 2012. The group claims that the Seattle Steam incinerator releases large amounts of deadly chemicals into the air harming residents in nearby low income housing areas.


ILWU Seattle Hiring: Discrimination Against Blacks, other People of Color?

Black Women & Men for Equitable Union Employment Opportunities protested on Saturday, February 12, 2011 against ILWU’s alleged discriminatory hiring process in Seattle, WA, after filing charges with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Washington State Human Rights Commission on Thursday, February 10, 2011…

Source: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JGr2-A_Thqg

Portland’s Black Longshore Workers Help Job Applicants

About 100 prospective longshore workers thronged Reflections Coffee and Books Tuesday morning at 11 sharp to make sure their application cards were filled in correctly for the Portland Maritime Association “casual worker” jobs lottery…

Source: http://theskanner.com