Stokely Carmichael: “Black Power”

(1966)

On October 29, 1966, Stokely Carmichael addressed an audience consisting primarily of college students at the open-air Greek Theater at the University of California at Berkeley in a speech that has become known as “Black Power”—although he gave other speeches that stressed the same theme and sometimes have been referred to by that same title. Carmichael was a leading spokesperson for the American civil rights movement as well as for international human rights and the relationship between the two movements; he was also an outspoken critic of the Vietnam War. He had first become known as a representative of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, or SNCC, commonly pronounced “snick.” After breaking with SNCC in 1967, Carmichael became affiliated with the more militant Black Panther Party. Finally, after breaking with the Black Panthers, he spoke from his own platform during a period of self-imposed exile before his death in the Republic of Guinea. Carmichael touched on...

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Vietnam War protest in front of the White House (Library of Congress)

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