(aka Stokely Carmichael)
Kwame Ture was born Stokely Carmichael on June
29, 1941 in Port of Spain, Trinidad, the son of Adolphus and Mabel Carmichael. He
immigrated to the United States in 1952 with his family and settled in New York, New York.
He graduated from the academically elite Bronx High School of Science in 1960 and made the
decision to attend Howard University. Howard University conferred on him a Bachelor of
Science Degree in Philosophy in 1964.
It was while in Washington that Stokely became
deeply involved in the "Freedom Rides," "Sit-Ins," and other
demonstrations to challenge segregation in American society. He participated with the
Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) and the Nonviolent Action Group (NAG). He later joined
the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and was elected its National Chairman
in June 1966. While in Greenville, Mississippi, he along with his friend and colleague
Willie Ricks, rallied the cry "Black Power" which became the most popular slogan
of the Civil Rights era. Consequently, he became the primary spokesman for the Black Power
ideology. In 1967, he coauthored with Charles V. Hamilton, Black Power, the Politics of
Liberation in America. That same year, Stokely was disassociated from SNCC and he
became the Prime Minister of the Black Panthers, headquartered in Oakland, California. He
soon became disenchanted with the Panthers and moved to Guinea, West Africa.
While residing in Africa, Stokely Carmichael
changed his name to "Kwame Ture" to honor Kwame Nkrumah, who led Ghana to
independence from Britain, and, Sekou Toure, who was President of Guinea and his mentor.
For more than 30 years, Ture led the All-African Peoples Revolutionary Party and
devoted the rest of his life to Pan Africanism, a movement to uproot the inequities of
racism for people of African descent and to develop an economic and cultural coalition
among the African Diaspora.
In 1998, at the age of 57, Kwame Ture died
from complications of prostate cancer. To the end he answered the telephone, "ready
for the revolution." His marriage to Miriam Makeba and Guinean physician
Marlyatou Barry ended in divorce. He has one son, Bokar, who resides in the United States.