On this date, June 17, in 1966, Stokely Carmichael (who later was known as Kwame Ture), then chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), gave his famous Black Power speech.
Thank you very much. It’s a privilege and an honor to be in the white intellectual ghetto of the West. We wanted to do a couple of things before we started. The first is that, based on the fact that SNCC, through the articulation of its program by its chairman, has been able to win elections in Georgia, Alabama, Maryland, and by our appearance here will win an election in California, in 1968 I’m going to run for President of the United States. I just can’t make it, ‘cause I wasn’t born in the United States. That’s the only thing holding me back.
We wanted to say that this is a student conference, as it should be, held on a campus, and that we’re not ever to be caught up in the intellectual masturbation of the question of Black Power. That’s a function of people who are advertisers that call themselves reporters. Oh, for my members and friends of the press, my self-appointed white critics, I was reading Mr. Bernard Shaw two days ago, and I came across a very important quote which I think is most apropos for you. He says, “All criticism is a[n] autobiography.” Dig yourself. Okay. [Hear audio from the Black Power speech and read full transcript.]
For further reading and research, see also:
Stokely Speaks: From Black Power to Pan-Africanism by Stokely Carmichael (Kwame Ture). [book link]
Ready for Revolution: The Life and Struggles of Stokely Carmichael (Kwame Ture) by Stokely Carmichael (Kwame Ture). [book link]