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Stokely Carmichael

Stokely Carmichael was a significant Trinidadian-American figure during the 1960s Civil Rights Movement and the global Pan-African movement in which he actively participated. With time he gained prominence as a black leader as he led the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and served at the Black Panther Party as Honorary Prime Minister. Eventually, he was rendered the leader of the All-African People’s Revolutionary Party.

Born on June 29, 1941 in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, Carmichael also known as Kwame Touré, moved to Harlem, New York to meet his parents. When he was two years old, they left him with his grandmother and immigrated to America. In Trinidad he was sent to Tranquility School. Being from the working class family, his father was a carpenter and taxi driver, and mother, stewardess for a steamship line. Later the family moved to Van Nest neighborhood in the East Bronx. There Carmichael attended an elite Bronx High School of Science. The school was very selective with its students and only admitted those with outstanding academic performance.

Upon graduation, he went on to enroll himself at Howard University, Washington, D.C. It was a historical African American education institute. He studied under the supervision of renowned scholars, including Nobel Prize winner Toni Morrison, Nathan Hare and Sterling Brown. In 1964, he graduated from Howard with a degree in philosophy. His remarkable academic achievement earned him a full graduation program scholarship offer from Harvard University but he refused.

During his years at Howard, Carmichael joined the Nonviolent Action Group (NAG). With his Jewish friend and civil-right activist Tom Kahn, they funded the gatherings that held at his apartment in which the fellow activists shared their political enthusiasm for human rights. Kahn also introduced him to a well-known African-American leader, Bayard Rustin. Inspired by the talk during these gatherings, Stokely Carmichael found himself more closely involved in the Civil Rights Movement.

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