5 June

'This is the twenty-seventh time I have been arrested and I ain't going to jail no more! The only way we gonna stop them white men from whuppin' us is to take over. What we gonna start sayin' now is Black Power!'

June 5, 2009
2 min read

On 5 June, 1966, Columbia law student James Meredith started his solitary March against Fear from Memphis to Jackson, to encourage African Americans to register and vote.

Soon after starting his march he was wounded by a sniper and civil rights leaders incuding Martin Luther King, Stokely Carmichael and Floyd McKissick continued the march his name. On reaching Greenwood, Mississippi, Stokely Carmichael gave his now famous Black Power speech:

‘And we’re never going to get caught up in questions about power. This country knows what power is. It knows it very well. And it knows what Black Power is ’cause it deprived black people of it for 400 years. So it knows what Black Power is. That the question of, Why do black people — Why do white people in this country associate Black Power with violence? And the question is because of their own inability to deal with “blackness.” If we had said “Negro power” nobody would get scared. Everybody would support it. Or if we said power for colored people, everybody’d be for that, but it is the word “black” – it is the word “black” that bothers people in this country, and that’s their problem, not mine – they’re problem, they’re problem.’

excerpt from Black Power by Stokely Carmichael


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