A Life

Book - 2014
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"Stokely Carmichael, the charismatic and controversial black activist, stepped onto the pages of history when he called for "Black Power" during a speech one Mississippi night in 1966. A firebrand who straddled both the American civil rights and Black Power movements, Carmichael would stand for the rest of his life at the center of the storm he had unleashed that night. In Stokely, preeminent civil rights scholar Peniel E. Joseph presents a groundbreaking biography of Carmichael, using his life as a prism through which to view the transformative African American freedom struggles of the twentieth century. During the heroic early years of the civil rights movement, Carmichael and other civil rights activists advocated nonviolent measures, leading sit-ins, demonstrations, and voter registration efforts in the South that culminated with the passage of the Voting Rights Act in 1965. Still, Carmichael chafed at the slow progress of the civil rights movement and responded with Black Power, a movement that urged blacks to turn the rhetoric of freedom into a reality through whatever means necessary. Marked by the assassinations of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr., a wave of urban race riots, and the rise of the anti-war movement, the late 1960s heralded a dramatic shift in the tone of civil rights. Carmichael became the revolutionary icon for this new racial and political landscape, helping to organize the original Black Panther Party in Alabama and joining the iconic Black Panther Party for Self Defense that would galvanize frustrated African Americans and ignite a backlash among white Americans and the mainstream media. Yet at the age of twenty-seven, Carmichael made the abrupt decision to leave the United States, embracing a pan-African ideology and adopting the name of Kwame Ture, a move that baffled his supporters and made him something of an enigma until his death in 1998. A nuanced and authoritative portrait, Stokely captures the life of the man whose uncompromising vision defined political radicalism and provoked a national reckoning on race and democracy."--Publisher's description.
Publisher: New York : Basic Civitas, a member of the Perseus Book Club, 2014
ISBN: 9780465080489
Branch Call Number: B CARMICHA
Characteristics: xiv, 399 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm


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Apr 07, 2014

For guys who may only read one book a year - if that - this is the one book. Joseph is a fantastic writer. The 10 years of research show in this book. It was like a mini travelogue through history. Stokley meets Malcolm and works with Bayard Rustin. MLK has his phone number and calls him. He dines in the home of Condelezza Rice. Near the end of his days - Stokely gives a speech in New York. In the audience is a skinny kid with a funny last name from Hawaii (later Chicago).

I learned from this book. How RFK went from spying on MLK to giving one of the best eulogies after MLK's assassination mystified me. Joseph covers how the transition to make this happen began.

When Stokley died - all I knew was that he died. The photographs were sad. In his salad days he was the little cutie on duty. Yet the last photos of him showed a very haggard man. Through this book I learned that Stokely had cancer and had been searching for a cure. Added to that that the latter part of his life was spent as the recipient of protection from some of Africa's most sinister leaders.

Definitely worth reading.


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