The Evolution of Stokely Carmichael | WYPR

The Evolution of Stokely Carmichael

Apr 14, 2014

Credit Basic Books

Stokely Carmichael’s name comes down to us from the civil rights struggle, and even most of us who recognize his name attach it to just part of his thinking and legacy. We learn more about Carmichael from a new biography by Tufts professor Peniel Joseph.

We may think of Carmichael as the young civil rights activist who spoke in Greenwood, Mississippi, on March 12, 1964. "Now, I want to talk to black people across this country," he said.  "We have to stop being ashamed of being black."

A few years later Stokely Carmichael would call out for Black Power.  How his thinking evolved is a fascinating journey, some of which crosses through Maryland.   He became active in protesting segregation in restaurants along Route 40 in Maryland, and crusaded for civil rights in Cambridge, on Maryland's Eastern Shore.

It's all laid out in Peniel Joseph's new book "Stokely: A Life."  Joseph is a professor of history at Tufts University and founder of the Center for the Study of Race and Democracy.