thumbnail of Soul!; 317; Wherever We May Be
Hide -
This transcript was received from a third party and/or generated by a computer. Its accuracy has not been verified. If this transcript has significant errors that should be corrected, let us know, so we can add it to FIX IT+.
So, wherever we may be, program number 319. I want to talk to Black people across this country. There are four things we have to do. Number one, we have to stop being ashamed of being Black. We've got to stop being ashamed of being Black. Number two, we have to move into a position where we can define terms. For what we want them to be, not what racist white society wants it to be.
We have to move to define. We have to move to a position where we can feel strength and unity amongst each other from what's to harm where we won't ever be afraid. And the last thing we have to do is to build a power base so strong in this country that we'll bring them to their knees every time they mess with us. Good evening, brothers and sisters. Welcome again to Seoul. Tonight, on this edition of Seoul, which we have entitled wherever we may be, we reflect on the contributions and attitudes of the legendary activist and organizer, brothers Stokely Carmichael. Your host for this evening's program is the producer of Seoul. Ellis Hazelib. Thank you, Jerry B. I'd like to welcome you our viewing audience to this evening's wrap session with brothers Stokely Carmichael, who is returned to these shows.
And I'd like to welcome you. Should I say home Stokely? No, so home is in Africa. You can welcome me back to America. Well, it's very good to have you back with us. How do you feel being back? Well, there's a lot of work to be done. I feel the same as always, except that things are a lot brighter now. The consciousness of our people a lot higher than they were. That's the opportunity for organizing is at a premium. You're responsible for a lot of that. Since your activity with SNCC, which was student, non-violent, coordinating committee, and the use of the word black power, which history, of course, will decide, you know, what that represents an American history. And I think in the history of all African peoples, tonight's episode, Stokely, we entitled wherever we may be. And the finish of that sentence is that we are in African peoples. And a lot has gone down, but I thought it would be nice for our sole audience. We could chat with you and sort of establish some things
that would be here on videotape and for people to use throughout. And so I thought maybe we might begin with where you were born. You were born in... I was born in Trinidad in 1941. In Port of Spain. In Port of Spain Trinidad. Have you been back since you came to the United States? No, I cannot return to Trinidad. The government of Trinidad has deemed me and some... I don't... what is it? Prisoner, non-graders, someone who's not welcome back. That's a lot of dues. Hey, you're home. There's a lot of awareness going in Trinidad. A whole lot. Yeah, whole lot. They can't stop it. They try. They can't stop the Caribbean. And I'm certain that... Well, are you traveling now as an American citizen? Or... Well, I have a... I have a Ginyan citizenship also. I have a Ginyan passport, which is a junior diplomatic passport. Our brothers and sisters of Ginya gave me the passport, but I think it's just a representative.
It's just symbolic of what they know that brothers and sisters who are born outside of the continental-in-fact African and have a very vital role to play in the development of the African Revolution all over the world, and certainly that we are African and belong to the African continent. That's something, is it our... That's called dual citizenship. Well, it is, but actually, and technically, you see, while we are American citizens, I usually say that we have American papers for not really citizens. And as Brother Malcolm said, you either you are or you're not. And certainly we're not. But I guess on the legalistic terms, you would say dual citizenship and I do have Ginyan citizenship, and participate fully in all of the political, cultural, and social happenings in Ginyan. Strictly, a lot of us became very aware of you during a period in this country. I guess it was in the early 60s, when the civil rights movement was creating such an effect on people's lives here.
And you became a member of S-N-C-C, SNCC. And Brian Trudeau ran down a little tours, but it was like being involved in that period of American history. African history. African history. African history. In America or be it? Yes. I think that the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee beyond the shadow of a doubt was the Vanguard Movement in the United States in the 60s. When I said it was the Vanguard Movement, I do not deny the role of Dr. King. Dr. King certainly played perhaps the most important role in the terms of being the center of that movement. But SNCC was indeed the Vanguard Movement in that it was always in front pushing, breaking new ground, and raising new levels of consciousness for our people. I don't think that enough people really get a clear history and understanding of SNCC. I think that if we understood SNCC, we would really appreciate it more. We had, for example, our salaries in SNCC were $9.98 per week.
And that meant that, say if I was working in Mississippi, I couldn't really live on $9.98 per week. So I had to live with the people with whom I work. Thus I had to sleep on their floors, eat with them, and I couldn't stay at the same family all the time because I would become a burden to these people because we're talking now about peasants, sharecroppers, so that we were forced constantly to move around. You were forced to organize. And for our own protection, we had to broaden our base because many of us were killed. There was constant harassment. There was constant violence perpetrated against us. I think that these things don't really come out. The beauty of SNCC, the commitment of people who had the opportunity to move up in the society very easily but rather than accept that, they decided to work for their people to try and to organize their people and to give their people a sense of power, a sense of power. Of course, I think a lot of people don't really understand
the issues of SNCC. They say that SNCC was nonviolent. I find a lot of people try to dismiss the history of our struggle. And of course, they try to do that with the 60s. And many of them, I think, is because they didn't participate in that history and because they didn't participate, they just dismiss it. Like I find people all the time say, well, SNCC was just nonviolent. They weren't doing nothing. I wouldn't let nobody hit me upside my head. If you wouldn't let anybody hit you upside your head in 1960, you could have gone and did something else. That's what we felt was the important tactical way to achieve the goals we were aiming at. And history has proven that it was the correct tactic at that time to, in fact, take a nonviolent tactical approach in order to build the contradictions and to heighten the consciousness of our people. I think now, tactically, for SNCC, nonviolence was just a tactic. Inside of the organization, I don't think you had people who held to nonviolence even as a way of life. It was merely a tactic.
And for many, many SNCC people, I guess we can say this now. I know as early as 1962, many SNCC people were carrying guns. I mean, we carried guns and we kept them. And the policy was clear. On public demonstrations or in public statements, we would take nonviolent attitude. But on the back roads of Mississippi, if I'm organizing at night and some white boy tried to shoot me and see on me. And that was very clear. Very clear. There were many of us who carried guns in those early days. You first lived and worked in Mississippi. You went from New York to live and work in Mississippi. And then you moved on to Alabama. Is that correct? Or why did you move from Mississippi to Alabama? Well, you know, I started my first trip into Mississippi was with the Freedom Rides. That makes me feel old. Let me see. That's 13 years ago. Yes. A lot of buses move along those roads. And of course, after the Freedom Rides, we had a discussion. And SNCC decided that it would be more. Stokely, could you just because soul is very fortunate. We have quite a few people who are young.
And Freedom Rides means something to you and me. And a lot of them don't quite understand what a Freedom Rides was and they are the 60s. Well, now in the early 60s, of course, you would remember. And I think that any young person, any young African who is watching this show, does not understand the Freedom Rides movement has a responsibility to go to their teachers and demand that their teachers explain that to them because it is their history. And they must understand their history. But of course, in the 1960s, Black people could not ride the buses up front in the south. And a program was waged by the Congress of Racial Equality that was at time under the leadership of Mr. James Farmer to take buses and ride through the south and go into bus terminals, which were segregated and move into the white terminals. And they had decided to go to Mississippi. Now, on the first bus it went, which had such people as, of course, John Lewis, Hank Thomas, the Dutch bus was burnt in Birmingham and they were beatings.
Then there was a discussion whether or not to carry on the bus rides. And some of us felt that it couldn't stop, we had to carry on. And then we decided that we should take it right to the heart of where the struggle was, which was, of course, Mississippi. Of course, we rode in and we were arrested, regular beaten harassment, et cetera, et cetera. But our objective was to continue the pressure on the state of Mississippi. Just keep continuing until it was forced to readjust its policies when we got out of jail. Many of us decided that maybe we should seek organizing, building strong power bases. And thus using the vote as a tool, using the vote as a means, not as an end. Because a lot of people also become quite confused with that, especially today with many black, quote, congressman and black, quote, congresswoman in office. They seem to think, is this was what we were working for. But we've always just seen the vote as a means as a tool for organizing our people and not as an end. Thus, we began to organize in Mississippi,
and we organized then our first attempt was the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party, which was, in essence, a third party. It was a party of all black people, because white people in Mississippi at that time wouldn't even think of sitting down together. And the party, the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party, from which came such great people, as Mrs. Fannie Lou Hamer, of Mrs. Devine, of course, the fantastic. The energy that we were able to break loose in the sharecropper, it's in the sharecroppers that we work with, and just push them out front and begin to motivate them and move them and organize. I think it's one of the most exciting experience, well, I couldn't say that, but certainly a very exciting part of my life one that I could not forget. Well, for a lot of people, it's also so exciting, because it was a chance when people could sit in their homes, whether they were active or not, and watch you and the members of SNCC and other organizations creating an atmosphere of positiveness,
because there were so many moral victories. I mean, the desegregation of the buses and the election of a congressman, I think, by the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party, but it was also a time of a great emotional stress through the killings and the beatings and all. It was, now, I think that through SNCC, we lost close to 17 people. I mean, it may not sound like a lot, but as a close organization, if you have an organization of, say, about 300 people and you know it everybody and you lose 17, each time one goes, you feel it, especially since you are right there, you may be the next one. The emotional stress was, of course, very great, but the thing that kept us going, of course, was our inner strength, our deep inner strength, and more than that, I think our undying love for our people, but more important was the reality that we knew that nothing could stop us. We would win, we would win, because we had to just struggle. What do you think of Dr. King's relationship to the movement during that time
and his role internationally in assisting in the struggle? Well, history has already given Dr. King his proper doable continue to do so. Dr. King, I have a great deal of respect and admiration for Dr. King always will. I had the opportunity to work with him. I had the opportunity to walk side by side with him. I find a lot of people today who say, oh, he was nonviolent, he was this, but the fact is that he took his theoretical base and put it into practice. He believed in nonviolence as a way of life and he was in the streets. There's those who condemn him if they didn't take their theory at the time while he was in the streets and put their theory into practice, they have no right. None whatsoever, none whatsoever to condemn him. All they can do is take the hats off to him and say, well, that's what he believed in, at least he put it into action. Maybe I believed in violence or whatever, but I just believed in it. I didn't make it concrete. Dr. King made it concrete. Dr. King's, I think he has two great, really great contributions to make to our history.
One is Dr. King was a great mobilizer. He could mobilize. Hey man, I've seen him work. He could work. He could really work. And he is still a capable of doing that on records. With a voice only. He can speak. He's an orator. I mean, history has to record it as one of the great orators of this century beyond the shadow of a doubt. He could mobilize. I mean, I could see him come into a town and just begin to have mass meetings and mobilize, and people just begin to get up and run and move, and they loved him. They loved him. I would see all people just reaching over to touch the hem of his, actually saying, let me just touch the hem of his coat. And I'd seen some old ladies just touch him and he said, oh Lord, I don't touch him. I don't touch him, Lord, I don't touch the doctor. I touched Dr. King. I mean, for her, she lived. She had lived. He was a mobilizer. He taught us how to confront. Dr. King taught us how to confront. He would always size up the whole situation and decide how to confront. But he was never afraid of confrontation. Sometimes I would have disagreements
in terms of tactics, but Dr. King taught us how to confront. He went wherever the trouble was, this is the point, this is the time that is confronted. And he would be there. He would be there. He wouldn't be off somewhere talking. He would be there. I think those two contributions we must remember. Of course, on an overall international basis, his contribution of morality, of the deep inner dignity and worth of a human being, can never be overridden. I mean, that his constant appeal for the more conscious of a nation to wake up, his deep belief in the inner dignity and worth of a human being. These things, of course, moved me and had a great deal of effect upon me, especially because I was constantly with him, constantly watching him work. Although we've worked in different organizations, organizations notwithstanding, there's nobody who cannot have a great deal of respect for Dr. King, no serious black man who really understands his history. Stokely, I'd like to ask you, do you regret any of the decisions you may during those early years? Hey, man, how's that song go?
There were times when a bit of more than that too, but I asked you it all. I do it again the same way. Exactly the same way. Step-by-step, I have never not once regretted anything I have done because I've always felt that what I've done I've done for the benefit of my people and I've done it as sincerely as I can do and I will continue to do that until I die. So I've nothing to regret, nothing to regret. Along with the foundation that was being laid by Dr. King with the increasing awareness of the ideologies of Malcolm X and the tremendous social impact he was having in our society, you come along with a phrase that's become a historical now black power and it changes the direction of an organization. Did you imagine when you made the speech which encompassed the words black power that you would be altering the course? Can I tell you a little history?
Because history really never gets out. It's really true because I think people who are involved in making history don't usually get a chance to really write it. But SNCC and SCLC were having internal conflicts. Some of it were spilling out in the public which I've never appreciated and have never been a part of and never will be. But one of the points was the question of whether or not we should understand the morality of our own people and begin to build power bases. So that's what leave us to depend only upon our own people or whether we should keep pushing a general morality basis of morality to try and convert and transform the American society proper. Of course Dr. King's position was that yes you work with black people. You use them as the pivotal point for transforming the total American society. Now you've got to build a power base so that whether or not this society transforms or not will not be dependent upon any moral issue but upon your power relationship to this greater power. And of course just at the same time
we were having internal conflicts in SNCC, the questions of black nationalism, the questions of self-defense, the questions of the war and Vietnam whether or not we were to be involved in international the questions of hook up with Africa, the questions of Israel and all of these were taking form inside of SNCC and some of us were consolidating the positions. Yes we must have a power base we're not concerned with integration and people ought to also understand that a lot of times when they write history they say SNCC was an integrationist movement they don't really understand anything about SNCC. I know but I was one of the original workers with SNCC and I never went to Mississippi to be able to sit next to anybody right that was never my objective. A white man was telling me I could not come someplace and I was going to tell him that he could not tell me where I could or could not go and even once I knocked him out the way even if I never went back to that place I was going to let him know that you can't limit my life in no way, shape or form and I think that's the real thrust of the SNCC people I knew for a fact that's always our discussions
all these places that integrated have never been back to places where I've been in jail for. It makes no difference. I just wanted to tell this white man, hey you can't tell me where I cannot go who are you, you can't never do that and if the only tactic we had at that point was not violent we will use that tactic to show you that no man no man can limit our life, no man, no man that we will do what we want to do, we will go where we want to go and we'll act how we want to act. I think that they get confused when they keep making it look as if it's integration, no, it wasn't integration it wasn't a movement into a larger society it was in fact saying that you cannot limit my movement in any society, in any sphere of that society and that's very important, very important history you know, it never gets written correctly in a way back to black power. When Mr. Meredith got shot, I was in Memphis, I was in Memphis, in fact I was in the Air Force on Memphis on my way to Tennessee, Cleveland Sellers who was a beautiful brother. I mean a brother who's been out here for a long time and he called and he said hey man, look here Mr. Meredith just got shot and he's in the hospital
in Memphis, you should go and see him. So I was the first one to go and see him. He couldn't get he was out, just said hello then a few minutes everybody came. Well Mr. Meredith wanted to march from Memphis to Jackson now from Memphis to Greenwood, Mississippi was the second congressional district. During the 1964 Mississippi project I was a director of that district and I had worked the Delta area for four years I knew it like the power of my hand I knew all the dirt roads, I had been chased on them by white people shooting at me. I slept on the floors of all the sharecroppers in there I knew all the people, that's how I kept alive I had to know them, I had to live off of them and this is where the march was going and we knew those people. So we called all our people who've been working together and a young man who plays a very vital role in our history a brother who's still out here's a brother by the name of Willie Ricks from Chattanooga, Tennessee he's still organizing now, he's in Atlanta, Georgia and we're beginning to talk now about power and we decide on the phrase black power but we can't use the phrase black power just yet we have many problems.
Number one, we have five major civil rights groups in the country, you have the urban league the NAACP, SCLC Dr. King you have Mr. McKissick who's now the new chairman of core replacing Mr. Farmer and you have SC and SNCC. Now what usually happens is that SNCC and core take a radical position on the left the NAACP and the urban league take a position on the right and Dr. King walks down the middle so we decide now if we want to make Dr. King come closer to our position we must eliminate the two people to the right that's the NAACP and the urban league now how we eliminated them was just tactically but once they were eliminated from the march your SNCC and core came to the left Dr. King could not be to the right and that's exactly how there's a tactic of it before we decided to use the phrase black power we took Willie Ricks and about seven of our workers and they went ahead of the march and they went into the plantations and we said now when you get up there just talk about black power and see the reaction of the people that's all and they said talk about defense talk about black people should stand up and fight back
and just get the reaction and so while everybody was busy on the march we had our team out there and they would come back with fantastic reports and we were still a little bit afraid now you know because we said hey if we say one time we can't blow it we've got to hit it right and as the reports kept coming back coming back as we went in the march we kept pushing more and more towards black power pushing the concept of blackness black dignity our sense of our own beauty and we could see the reaction it was building and we decided the best place to hit black power would be in Greenwood Mississippi now it just so happened that Greenwood was the base our base in the Delta so I had lived in Greenwood in my four years that operated out of it so I knew Greenwood Mississippi I've been inside the jail's agreement Mississippi so many times I couldn't count I knew the police chief I knew him so well we knew each other we just see each other and he'd arrest me and he just so happened that the night that we were to be in Greenwood Dr. King had to be somewhere making a speech up north so Dr. King wouldn't be there and Mrs. McKissick was sent in another town so the only one in Greenwood would be the snake people and it just so happened that
that day in Greenwood I was arrested then I was released and came right to the mass meeting and that's when we said black power and by that time we had organized the whole community that once the response was given they would come back with the response and it took the electric effect that we thought it would Dr. King couldn't challenge it or even try and calm it down because he was outside of Mississippi at that point and Mr. McKissick would have taken the position and he was in I think Carroll County which is adjoining us so by the time Dr. King came back black power had already had the effect we wanted to have and then it was just a matter of spreading it across the country can take long for it to spread across the country hey not at all man because if you're working with the people you know the people you speak you know you speak they will respond it was I think perhaps the greatest moral victory for snake of all the other victories it was number one it was something that people could give their own definition to it sort of like the Bible you can play around with it and you can use it or you can discard it it's an incredible thing you have been very fortunate
as Stokely you have had the living experience so you have been a witness to the living Dr. King and you also have been a student or have been able to communicate with Dr. Kwame and Krumah how do you size up that experience for yourself what were you able to take from Dr. Krumah? Dr. Krumah Dr. Krumah he's great he is great I mean he is great what he taught me what I learned from him what I learned by his actions what he helped direct me to do things to see I could never begin to repay unless I could take what he taught me and give it back to my people as best as I can and that again of course it's one of the things that he taught me he is fantastic he's a brilliant man he's not just a thinker but more important he's an activist one of his one of the quotes I was one of his favorite quotes
is what he says time and time again he says a thought without action is empty and action without thought is bland it was a Stokely before you act before he when you think act don't just think and not act and don't act without thinking and through his whole life that has been manifested what he has done for the African Revolution history cannot even begin to record it will take years to record and what he's done for the world international revolution history again will yet to recall the fact that when the coup d'etat occurred against him he was on his way to Vietnam to speak with Ho Chi Minh to see what pressure the African countries as weak as we were in relationship to the power bases in the world we're willing to aid the Vietnamese struggle and come to the attention just shows the foresight of this great, great, great thinker and this great, great activist that we have produced I still can I like to clarify something in my own mind now do you feel now you'll have to be looking back that when you were involved
in Mississippi and Alabama when the phrase black power came out that you were thinking along the lines of a pan-Africanist or were you limiting your thoughts at that time to involvement and a social action here in the United States of America without involving the African nations now you must remember that I was born in Trinidad and I spent my early childhood in Trinidad it's about 10 and in New York City where I grew up I was in constant contact with West Indians Africans born in the West Indies if you will and the movement for independence was so building so there were young brothers my age and forth from Trinidad to New York who I was in constant contact talking about that and as and they came to me because they said well you're involved here what you're doing hey man it's the same struggle so that while at that time there was no way in my mind for the coordination I didn't understand I felt it I knew it something else about SNCC in 1964
President Secretary SNCC to come to Guinea it's 1964 before people even we have a meeting and we send a delegation to Guinea President Secretary invites them and give them complete and I mean he gave them a protocol treatment for any government in 1964 at the same time Malcolm X begins to loom Malcolm X has a great effect upon them because I fell on the influence of Mr. Bayard Rustin in my early life because Mr. Rustin was a socialist I had come out of this New York left-wing thing but the the people socialism at that time just didn't seem to me hitting the point one of the my own contradiction recognizing the racial contradictions in the society while I understood contradictions that they're correct no argument they're precise the racial contradictions were always there and these white socialists could not or give it and one time I think which is
a young people so so I can put and I say wow to be like when I grow you know he's giving in his you know on socialist developing working you know and at the same time a man a man this I'm here and shocking Malcolm and they couldn't kick us out of school. That's how beautiful we were working with them. And the way we bring Brother Malcolm is he's to debate by at Rustin. So now I'm under Mr. Rustin, he's giving me work, but Malcolm's pulling me. So the night of the debate was a exciting factor. Brother Malcolm spoke, I don't know how to say it. Oh, and after that night I said right on. And from that day on I followed his thought, his political trend all the way down. Now when he was in the nation of Islam,
because of religion, I couldn't go that route. But understanding precisely his political thought, I knew that he was giving the correct thought. When he made it to Africa, we followed him closely. And when he came back, he said, Africa must be the base. I said, right, thank you. And from that day on, few of us got together and said, okay, this is what the brother said. You know, we're working here, but let's begin to extend. And at that time we pushed an international program for SNCC. SNCC became, SNCC was one of the first organizations, back organizations in the 60s to really begin to take hard international positions. We were the first one to take a position against the war on Vietnam. Dr. King was not. Dr. King was not. We were the first organization on nationwide basis in this country to take a position, a resistance position to the war on Vietnam. Hell no, we're not going to go. Period, no discussion. We were the first black organization in this country, national to take a position against Israel, aggression against Africa in Egypt, and against the Arab people in general. Oh, and all of these things are building and working. So by now it's beginning to become clear, in 1967, I'm invited to England to speak to some third world movement. And from there, I go to Cuba.
When I get to Cuba, there's a state department man. I forget his name. I think it's McCloskey. But anyway, when I'm in Cuba, I see a press clipping where he says that when I return to America, he's going to pick up my passport. Can I ask you, interrupt here and ask you, do you find many vestiges of African culture remaining in Cuba? Oh, yes, great deal. It's once one of the strongest areas. As much as you would say in Barbados? Much stronger than Barbados. Much stronger than Barbados. The African culture in Cuba is probably one of the strongest in the islands, even I would say stronger than Haiti. Yes, very strong, very strong. Very strong, yes. Yes, and when I was in Cuba, this McCloskey, whatever his name says, he's going to take my passport. So I said, well, if you're going to take my passport for going to Cuba, hey, how much will it do at all? So I just opened up the passport and see where I couldn't go. I'm a jury of Vietnam, Russia, China, I said, right on. I'm going to do them all. And I did them all, except for Korea. That was the only one I didn't think. Then when I came back, I said, right on, you can have it. Well, life has really been exciting.
I think that the black people, we get discouraged, because we don't really understand our history. Even in the last few years, there is no reason for us to get discouraged. No reason at all for the movement, the rapidity with which we've been moving has been so fantastic and so great that we've been moving so fast that it appears as if we're standing still. But if we examine what we've been doing, we've been moving at our rapid rate. The consciousness of our people have moved at such a rate that it's impossible to comprehend. I mean, just overnight, just overnight, but fantastic rate at which we've moved as a people. If you were measuring the movement, and here I have to differentiate and make Africa, Africa, the continent there, and America, America. And you were measuring it on a yardstick, which you see us moving and eat the distance each continent, or do you think maybe we have advanced further ahead than the mass of people in Africa? Do they need something in Africa, perhaps like a black power, or black is beautiful, or a new awareness to bring them into... No, I don't think so.
I think that see the revolution is won. Irregardless of geographical distance, as it is won, or a geographical boundaries, as still see it is won. And with the same people, you find, counter-revolutionary black people in America. You find counter-revolutionary black people in the West Indies, you find counter-revolutionary black people in South America, you find counter-revolutionary black people in Africa, you find revolutionary people in Africa, revolutionary black people in Caribbean, et cetera, et cetera. And what it is is that this takes different manifestations, different forms, but if you analyze the forms, You would see it as the same content. For example, we've been moving really cyclic. The rise of independence in Africa gave us a real spurt. Then came the Caribbean, also adding to the spurt. Then came our movement. And now the circle is going back again with the Africans again, picking on the grasp and moving forward again on the continent. Are you rewarded? You said in the film clip that we showed early, which I think will go some way in explaining what you mean by revolution.
You said the first thing we must do is stop being ashamed of the fact that we are black. Have you seen any progress in the mass of people accepting the color of their skins in this society or any other society and demanding respect behind? But of course. But of course, I mean, that's one of the, I mean, it's very hard for people to really think that a few years ago they were really ashamed to be black. I mean, but it's not so long ago. It's not so long ago. Again, that's one of the fastness, this is the rate of speed with which we have moved, the swiftness of our movement. I mean, overnight, you just see sisters just saying, yes, this is my hair, but it's beautiful. And at first, not believing is beautiful. But after wearing it and beginning, then they say, oh, but why did I ever fry my hair? Whatever possessed me to do that. I just didn't know my beauty. I didn't know myself. And this is with a rate of speed. That's almost overnight. I mean, of course, the government circles must try to co-op this movement. But if you know revolution, you know that there must be co-opching.
So when there's co-opching, you do not get disgusted. As a matter of fact, you know you are winning. Because if you just take the history of black power, now when the phrase black power was first uttered, you take a look at Time magazine, Life magazine, Newsweek magazine, The New York Times, The Washington Post. Hey, man, I used to read those papers on left. They were trying, the entire mass media of America, the entire mass media of America came against SNCC and against black power. They did every possible thing to destroy the concept. And we're incapable of doing it. And black people had no media, no, no, they didn't even had any black shows. We didn't have sold. We had media, though. We had a wreath of Franklin and James Brown. I hear you. I hear you. So many people coming along. But I mean, controlled media where we could propagate our ideas in a political forum. We didn't even have that. And without that, we were able to force these very powerful magazines, these powerful medias of imperialism to turn around and try and co-op black power. Because they were pushing against it. And they said, hey, man, we can't stop it. Best we try and do something with it. So they came back and tried to evolve it.
But the fact that they did that showed the strength of black people. And once they did that, they didn't know. Black people weren't about to stop. They just came into that vacuum to fill it. Now comes the push for the next stage. And now comes the resistance, again, because in revolution, they've got to be pushing, and they're pushing against you as force, it's science. You push, they stop. But you keep pushing, there's a break. Then you come again, there's another wall. You are mass your strength, you push again, and you break. And we're reaching that stage. In defining that stress to be a true revolutionary, it would be best if we defined it ourselves. But unfortunately, in this country, a lot of other people have to define what is a stress situation for us. We're too busy trying to pay the rent and have a telephone or eat. I mean, we define it, now we define it. It doesn't get interpreted the way because we, again, don't control the mass media. But we do define it. Now, there attempt, the attempt of the media, the job of the media is to confuse our people. The job of this media, one scene that it could no longer hold back black power, they decide to try a new tactic. The tactic was OK, except it, but now confuse it.
And you understand that in this attempt, there's no need to fight that. Continue your organizing because they will come a stage when this confusion will be just come antithetical to itself because people just be going around struggling to say, that's not black power. Let me give you an example. Today, people buy black, black people buy black. But they're sold Negro. If they say black movie, hey, they come running. But when they go, it's not a black movie, it's a Negro movie. Sex and dope nonsense, nothing, nothingness. Black music, it's no black music, it's negative songs. But in order to sell, they have to say black. So the masses want to buy black. They're being sold Negro. So any people who really understand this say, OK, the masses want to buy black. Let's sell them black. And we're going to sell them black. We're going to sell them the black is of all, the African Revolution. And the masses go bad. They go bad. Will we be able to make a contribution to that? Or do we have to evolve to some stage where we can reach out and touch on an equal basis and accept also on an equal basis on the brothers and sisters on the continent of Africa?
So again, we're the same people, and we always see it as the same struggle. If I am in Tanzania on the east coast of Africa, and I am in a village in Tanzania, and the people of Tanzania are digging a ditch to put down pipe so they can have running water into that village. I dig that ditch. I dig it as best as I can dig it, and dig it as fast as I can dig it, and as most effectively as I can dig it. Because I know that by digging this ditch, I contribute to the African Revolution. I contribute to the African Revolution. If I'm in Trinidad, and there's an underground newspaper condemning a neo-colonialist government, I work with that paper knowing that this contribution is part of the African Revolution. If I am in New York City, and black people are fighting for control of community schools, I work with that. I try to get that because I know this is an aid to the African Revolution. If I am in Guinea, and I'm living in Guinea, and Portuguese fascist with NATO invade my country, I get with a gun and fight them, and I know by fighting and wiping them out,
I am contributing to the African Revolution. We must see it as a total picture knowing that wherever we contribute to the benefit of our people, we are contributing to our overall struggle. Until we begin to view it that way, the white boy will always be able to divide our struggle. But what about our Christian following our Christian discipline? Is it a limiting factor? And are the people, our brothers and sisters, and the continent as aware of how involved we are with being Christians? As well now, you see, with the same people. And the same thing he did to us here in America is the same thing he did to the brothers on the continent. I think sometimes he did much stronger because Africa is our land. And in order to confuse us on our own land, he has to work a lot harder. This is not our land, we'll know that. It's the land of the Red Man. And so the confusion here is a lot easier, but it's much harder if I'm in my own house for you to come and convince me that it's not my house and subject me inside my own house than if I'm in somebody else's house and you come in there and treat me badly.
So that Christianity now has positive and negative factors. What we have to do is to take the positive factors from it and move with it and leave the negative factors as is the case with all religions and most things. The region of Islam also has a great effect on our people. It has its positive and negative aspects. Both of these religions are foreign religions. They're alien religions to Africa. They're not the, they don't come from within Africa. So that the effects, in many cases now, religion has always been used really as a political tool to subjugate us, to subjugate us, to keep us victimize the Christian religion, of course, by preaching this look up in the sky and forget the ground around you. And while we look up in the sky, we're being raped, riches are being stolen, et cetera, Islam also has its aspects of fatalism. And what we must do is to convince the African man of his inner dignity and let him know that it is man. Man, who is able to transform. It is man without any limitations placed upon him.
Once he recognizes his creative genius who can transform any situation and mold it the way he wants to mold it. His man and man alone and no force is dependent upon him except he himself. What he can do in order to transform his own condition. Thus, we don't need any crutches. We need none. I find brothers all the time who tell me that, yeah, well, brother, the spirit's going to take the white man. I said, well, look here, brother. My man didn't under the spirits. I don't want the spirits messing with him. He belongs to me. So I don't need no crutch. So there are going to be a lot of questions that a lot of people I'm certainly going to need you to answer. And I'd like to say that if you'd like to address any question to brother Carmichael, you can simply write us here at Seoul. The address is Seoul, 304 West 58th Street, New York 1019. I repeat that address. It is Seoul, 304 West 58th Street, New York 1019. And still, I'd like to move now to your back on these shores
and you are founding. I don't know the correct word. A new party should be called it a party or an organization. No, it's a party. It's the all African people's revolutionary party. I'm not founding it. A few years ago, many of us will recognize the contradictions in the United States that we have to do is to just come back a little, sit back, analyze a little bit more, and organize quietly. As we move around, we'll go to all the conferences that people have. We will not call these conferences. We will not take active part in them in sponsoring them, but we will always be there supporting them. And as we move around, we will look around for the most serious people inside of these conferences, people who we think are really serious and are really committed and understand the struggle because the media, again, tries to make the struggle appear as if, you know, we can get a victory tomorrow. You know, we can't get a victory tomorrow. My grandchild is going to be fighting. I understand that. I understand that. One thing that Osagifu said to me once was
that I was very impatient one time. I wanted to do something. And he said, but why are you so impatient? I said, oh, sir, but I'm not impatient. He said, yes, you, I said, but sir, I see my people suffering. I want to do something. He says, do you know that all impatience is selfishness? I said, no, sir. He said, yes, all impatience is selfishness. And egoism, I said, no, sir. I'm patient, but my people are suffering. He said, do you know that the African Revolution will triumph? I said, but of course I do. He said, oh, you just want to be the one to bring it out. Thank you, sir. So I understand that I don't have to be impatient. If all this generation, my generation can do, is to move from here to here. Let's do that perfectly. Let's lay a perfect foundation so that the children who come after us will be able to carry on the struggle that much further. We're not going to win this struggle today. We're not going to win it tomorrow. This is a struggle. This is a long struggle. We're fighting a struggle that has been taken place for 500 years and even way beyond that. We're just a small part of that struggle. A very small part. And we cannot see ourselves as the most important part. Our generation is no more important than my father's generation,
which is no more important than my grandfather's generation. And all these generations have struggled. And ways, fierce struggles. I mean, anytime people get real smart and say, we're not going anywhere. Say, hey, man, think about your grandfather. He was a slave. Why boy was whooping him every day? Now look where you are. See how we are moving. Don't get upset. Let's just take our time, take our patience, understand that we have to find what our mission is, what the mission of this generation is, and do that, and do it perfect properly, correctly, thoroughly, and completely. And then the other is going to take care of the rest. Let's leave some for the children. You're so kind of beautifully optimistic. And scientifically. Scientifically. Scientifically. Because I know we're going to win. But I think I was so living in West Africa, might have had some influence. Did you find any... Is there anyone who's been a great influence on you? Of course not. Of course, Los Agifol and President Secretary. President Secretary is a beautiful black man. He's a beautiful African.
He never compromises. He's uncompromising about the dignity of Africa. And he carries with his very presence the dignity and the worth of Africa the way that, hey, man, when he just walks, you see Africa walking. And I've watched him. I've watched him work. He's fantastic. I've watched his patience. You know, I learned... Now, I learned a lot from Dr. Encrum on patience. I've watched patience tactically at work with President Secretary. I have watched patience tactically at work with President Secretary. And I've watched him hit a stumbling block here. He had a stumbling block there. He had a stumbling block there. And when you see him, and he just hit a stumbling block, he said, we just hit a stumbling block. Yes, sir. He said, that means we're working much harder because they're throwing more blocks in our way. Let's keep pushing. Let's keep pushing. Let's keep pushing. He's had a fantastic effect upon me. Of course, the masses of Guinea themselves, the political organization of Guinea, the way that the country is woven together would declare political ideology that unifies the masses in Guinea everybody's armed.
We're all armed. The government gives us all guns. I have guns on in my house in Guinea, which the government has given me. And the government has trained me how to use... They train everybody how to use these guns. And while the entire population of Guinea is armed, we've never had one armed robbery. Not a one. Not a one. Because we have a clear political ideology, which has been given to us by the party of Guinea on the direction of Sekuturay. And I've seen all of these things. I've participated in them. I went to Africa. I didn't go to Africa as a tourist. Many brothers here go to Africa for different reasons. Some go for profit. Some go for cultural exposure. Some go for tourism. I went for the revolution. So I went to Guinea. I went where I thought the revolution was really taking form. I went to Guinea. And being able there, once I got to Guinea, I didn't say I'm an Afro-American. I'm an African. Guinea is my home. Now, what are we doing? I've come to help put home in order. Now, you tell me, what are we doing? We're building ditches in Dalaba. Fine. I'll do that.
We're teaching school here. I can do that. I'll do that. We're running political workshops here. I can help. I'll do that. We're doing military training here. I can help. I'll do that. Whatever you're doing, I'm doing because this is my home. This is my home. And I have something to say about how it's done. You are my brothers. I am your brother. We're not one. We've been separated. We had nothing to do with that separation except at a time when our own society had its own internal divisions and these internal divisions were manipulated by outside forces, but we're one. So once I am in Guinea, once I'm in Trinidad, wherever I am, I become immersed in that total African community there and become involved in whatever work they're doing, knowing that I am a part of it. But again, this depends upon our own political ideology. But once we know that we are Africans, that Africa is our home, that Africans, our brothers and sisters, then we begin to work better. This will help clear up a lot of the crime that we have in our community, because we have to talk about these problems, problems of crime. I would hate us to be seductive here, though. But do you think any African in this country could make the same decision to go to our nation and Africa and be as accepted and as rewarded for a service as you were?
Yes, sir. I'm not only in Guinea. We have some in Tanzania. We have some in Nigeria. We have them all over. Everywhere on the continent I've been, particularly in every country, there are brothers and sisters who are from the states or from the Caribbean or from South America who are living under continent and are a part of that continent. And they'll tell you, this is my home. I was born in Brazil. This is my home. I was born in Texas. This is my home. I was born in Jamaica. And this is what we're doing here. And this is my job. And this is how I'm helping. And I know that by doing this, I'm helping Jamaica. I know that by helping Bill Tanzania, I'm helping Texas. What is the language of Guinea? The official language is French. The official language. The national language. Of course, you have Fuller. You have Malinke. You have Sussu. And you have about five others, Gursi, et cetera, et cetera. Is Swahili spoken in Guinea? No, no. Swahili is found on the eastern coast of Africa. Swahili would be in Tanzania and Kenya. And I think Uganda. In Guinea, there are several languages, eight of them.
Were you able to communicate and move about with using English as your only language? Yes, at first. One of the beautiful things is that without being able to speak, I was forced to communicate. And that was very beautiful. Because when having to communicate with someone who doesn't speak, you have to take an effort. And it's the effort that they take on trying to make you understand. And for example, when we've just discussing political discussions in my early days in Guinea, I'm not speaking French. I'm not speaking Fuller. Just English. And they're speaking French. And just a two of us trying to communicate. Or a group of us trying to communicate one of the most beautiful and rewarding experiences that made me see that language difference is not a barrier to our unity. In fact, they can be a positive attribute because they really force us to reach out for each other. And by being forced to reach out for each other, we transcend the language barriers. And it was really a beautiful experience. During what I'm going to call it a transitory period for you, I have to offer a compliment to someone who stood beside you.
And I have to say that Mary McCabe sent her a bouquet of roses and love and all the good vibrations ever. She's a compliment to African womanhood. And she has been a great and dignified compliment to you. I thank you. I think so. She's been, she's strong. Now, she's real strong. That is the most significant thing, Stokely, for the youth, the Black youth to concentrate on in your opinion, in order to press forward. They must have a clear understanding of our history, our struggle, and where it's going. They must have. That is the major thing because your history, if interpreted to you correctly, is your motivating force? It is your motivating force. It is that which tells you what you can do. And once you know what you have done, you know what you can do. Now, our history has always been interpreted to us first by the white boy, always interpreted, so that our students don't even have our motivating force.
They go to, that's why they drop out of school. And the fight for Black studies, when these people talk about Black science, that's not the fight. Black studies is only for one thing. To motivate Black students to stand up and understand that there is nothing they cannot do for their people once they decide they can do it. And that's all this fight is about at this point. We must motivate our students to let them know, hey, listen, young brother, don't drop out of school. You in school, not for yourself, but for your people. Even if you don't want to be there, be there for your people. And say, just be there for your people. So get whatever you can get for your people. You go in science, you in Harvard, you in the business school in Harvard, you in Harvard, you in medical school, get it all. Come out the top student up there and bring it back and give it to your people. Don't get up there and talk about it. It's irrelevant. If it's irrelevant, don't go. But once you up there, get it all. Be the top in the class, Jim, be the top. Get it all. Then bring it back, give it to your people, because they need it. They need it desperately. And you're there because of your people. All of these Black programs on these colleges are a result of the pressure of the masses. When the masses started to rebel in the street, he had to do something quick.
And he started opening up all these programs. And so all those students who are in those programs are in those programs. I know those programs as a result of the blood of their brothers and sisters, shed in the streets of Watts, Washington, Detroit, and Newark. And they have a responsibility, a blood responsibility, if you will, to give back to their people. The opportunities that their people made available for them, they must take those opportunities and give them back to their people. And that's the motivating force that we must give to us. Again, it is a correct interpretation of our history to let them know, hey, brother, you know Afro-American, ain't no such thing, you're an African. And your society, your history don't begin 400 years. Your history begins millions and millions and millions and millions of years ago. While the white boy was in the caves, your fathers were building pyramids. The leaning power of pizza is falling. The Eiffel Tower is falling. The pyramids are standing strong. You built them, brother. Get up and work. Your scientific people build. Build for your people. Don't sit down. There is nothing, nothing we cannot do. All we got to do is the Honorable Marcus Garvey said is, get up and do it. Well, mighty race.
Up now, you matter race. And that's what we must give to our youth. That's what we must give to them. I, you've gotten a lot of power. Hey, it's black people. I don't know, you've come back strong. Well, actually, hopefully, I'm four years older. I've got four years more knowledgeable. Four years more experienced. And I'm four years more determined. There's nothing can stop us. I know that, nothing. If you just watch the development of our movement, it's clear scientific planning, the moves that we make. There's nothing can stop us. The America has tried to divide all the organizations in our societies over the last four years. They've done it through different tricks, through repression, through poverty money, through publicity to counter-revolutionary elements in our community, and through vicious propaganda against the true revolutionary elements in our community. There's hoping to divide and confuse our community. And these organizations now, which are divided in fighting each other, have a responsibility to the masses of their people to come together. Because when the masses look up to these organizations
and see them fighting each other, they become demobilized, and we must inspire them. These organizations must now come together. Our party has been trying to bring them together. We keep asking them, won't you sit down? Let us, among ourselves, talk together. In the Jewish community, all of the Jewish organizations sit down and have their own umbrella. In the Irish community, in the Italian community, only in our community, do we find black leaders who don't want to sit down with other black leaders in this constant of problems. We know what the problem is. It's not the black community from the outside. But the masses of people are now going to put pressure on the leaders to force them to unite because we are a people who, when there is stress and strain, we come together. We've always proven that if you study a history, you see whenever they're stressed and strained, we come together. And there's a period of stress and strain coming in this country, and what he's trying to do is to keep us apart before we begin to come together. And we must consciously fight that. We must come together. We must form united fronts all over this country so that when he hits one, boom, he got to hit all. He got to hit all.
He's got to hit all. And the only way we can do that is by beginning to unite our people and bring them together, starting with the leadership so they can set an atmosphere that will inspire the masses to move forward to unite with each other. Stokely times up and down. Times probably up for soul, anyway. We probably won't be here much longer, but it's been beautiful. The people like their respond it well. I am privileged to know why it is. But a nice idea what that is. If our community was organized, that would that be? I don't know. Maybe it is evolutionary process that's necessary, but I'm very proud to have had this conversation with you. It's done a lot. And tonight, I hope that whoever's listening is learning something. It's been beautiful. We will find a way to communicate and get our message through. Even by drums, we did a long time. All right. And I don't want to make a dedication of it to Lynn and Hrap Brown and to Mae Jackson.
I think. They're deep. Beautiful people. They're beautiful. Sister Jackson, she's been out to a long time. Long time. All the way down on the corner of Harlem Street. Brother Rrap Brown, her man. For what he has done for us, if he doesn't do another thing, we have to support him. Because when he carried the ball, I watched him. And he carried it like an arrogant young warrior. He never compromised. He watched him all the time. Eyes straight ahead and walked with it. And we must support him. They're all standing tall still. Hey, they can't stop their Africans. They're beautiful people. They thank you very much. It's been beautiful. My pleasure. Yeah. Oh, wow. I want to go off to Black people across this country. There are four things we have to do. Number one, we have to stop being ashamed of being back. Number two, we have to move into a position where we can define terms.
For what he wants them to be, not what the latest life society wants it to be. We have to move to define. We have to move to a position where we can do your best and unity among each other from what's the heart of where we won't ever be afraid. And the last thing we have to do is to build a power base both along in this country that will bring them to their knees. Every time they met with us. So a production of WNET13. Thank you very much. Thank you.
Thank you.
Please note: This content is only available at GBH and the Library of Congress, either due to copyright restrictions or because this content has not yet been reviewed for copyright or privacy issues. For information about on location research, click here.
Episode Number
Wherever We May Be
Producing Organization
WNET (Television station : New York, N.Y.)
Contributing Organization
Library of Congress (Washington, District of Columbia)
If you have more information about this item than what is given here, or if you have concerns about this record, we want to know! Contact us, indicating the AAPB ID (cpb-aacip/512-jd4pk0823w).
Episode Description
Originally broadcast as episode 317 and rebroadcast as episode 319. Stokely Carmichael, the revolutionary leader who created and promulgated the now historic cry of "Black Power" talks of his current plans that will bring Blacks together on "Soul! Wherever We May Be." Returning to the United States from the West African nation of Guinea after three and one-half years, Carmichael states that his immediate goal is Black unity built around the ideology of Pan-Africanism - an increased awareness and acceptance by American Blacks of the culture, heritage and ideals of Africans. In his pursuit to unite Blacks, Carmichael is currently supporting an All-African Peoples Revolutionary Party which will run candidates and back others in local elections. Acknowledging that patience was a quality he lacked a few years ago, Carmichael feels he now has learned that virtue. Talking about Black liberation, he states, "If all this generation and my generation can do is to move from here to here, let's do that perfectly. Let's lay a perfect foundation, so that the children who come after us will be able to carry on the struggle that much further. We're not going to win the struggle tomorrow." (Description adapted from documents in the NET Microfiche)
Broadcast Date
Broadcast Date
Created Date
Asset type
Media type
Moving Image
Producing Organization: WNET (Television station : New York, N.Y.)
AAPB Contributor Holdings
Library of Congress
Identifier: 152943-1 (MAVIS Component Number)
Format: Betacam
Color: Color
Duration: 00:58:20
Library of Congress
Identifier: 152943-2 (MAVIS Component Number)
Format: 2 inch videotape
Color: Color
Duration: 00:58:20
If you have a copy of this asset and would like us to add it to our catalog, please contact us.
Chicago: “Soul!; 317; Wherever We May Be,” 1973-02-07, Library of Congress, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed July 19, 2024,
MLA: “Soul!; 317; Wherever We May Be.” 1973-02-07. Library of Congress, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. July 19, 2024. <>.
APA: Soul!; 317; Wherever We May Be. Boston, MA: Library of Congress, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from