‘Black Power’ turns 50: How the catchphrase revolutionized the civil rights movementBreaking News
tags: black power
Fifty years ago this Thursday, a pivotal speech in Greenwood, Mississippi radically changed the direction of the global civil rights movement forever – when Trinidadian immigrant Stokely Carmichael popularized the phrase “Black Power.”
June 16, 1966.
Malcolm X had been shot dead by three members of the Nation of Islam the year before. Martin Luther King Jr would be killed by a southern white supremacist two years later.
It was on this date that Carmichael was arrested and then released from jail for participating in the “March Against Fear” started by James Meredith, the education trailblazer who was shot by a white hardware clerk named Aubrey James Norvell.
As chair of the iconic Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), Carmichael addressed a large crowd in Greenwood, declaring that “the only way we gonna stop them white men from whuppin’ us is to take over.”
He then uttered the words that electrified and emboldened a new generation of Black organizers.
“We been saying freedom for six years and we ain’t got nothin’. What we gonna start saying now is Black Power!” Carmichael said.
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