Black Power

In 1966 Carmichael was elected national chairman of the SNCC. Shortly afterwards, he used the slogan ‘Black Power’ for the first time. The aims of which were:

  • African Americans should not wait to be given civil rights. Instead, they should develop their own communities with their own facilities, such as schools and hospitals.
  • African Americans should meet violence with violence – if they were attacked they should be prepared to fight back.
  • African Americans should see themselves as black people first and Americans second. They should be proud of their culture and heritage.

The video below shows Stokely Carmichael speaking to a crowd about Black Power.

In 1967, Carmichael co-wrote the book, Black Power. Some civil rights campaigners accused him of promoting anti-white racism in the book.

The slogan, ‘Black is Beautiful’ was also adopted by Carmichael to encourage African Americans to take pride in their heritage.

Some of his supporters adopted Afro hairstyles, as well as African names and forms of dress. In 1968, Carmichael left the SNCC and joined the more aggressive Black Panthers.