was one of our generation who was determined to give his life to transforming
America and Africa.’
SOBUKWE, a member of the organization in Philadelphia, said Ture died of
prostate cancer. She learned of his death from Amadou Ly, an AAPRP member
and one of Ture’s closest friends, who was with him when he died.
The Rev. Jesse Jackson said he visited with Ture three times at his home
in Guinea during a trip to Africa last week.
“In many ways he was at peace with himself,” Jackson said in a telephone
interview from Washington. “He wanted for his last days to be in Guinea
and in West Africa. ... He wanted to be amongst the people of Africa.
“He was one of our generation who was determined to give his life to transforming
America and Africa,” Jackson added. “He was committed to ending racial
apartheid in our country. He helped to bring those walls down.”
Ture was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 1996. A self-described socialist,
he was treated in Cuba and received financial help for his treatment from
Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan.
FORMER BLACK PANTHER
As the young Carmichael, he was among the most fiery and visible leaders
of black militancy in the United States in the 1960s, first as head of
the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and then as prime minister
of the Black Panther Party
quotes from the book 'Malcolm X Speaks' during an address in 1971 at the
opening of the 'Third World Conference' at the University of Houston, in
He cut his ties with the American groups over the issue of allying with
white radicals and moved to Guinea in West Africa in 1969. There, with
a new name taken from the African leaders Kwame Nkrumah and Ahmed Sekou
Toure, he organized the All-African People’s Revolutionary Party.
For the rest of his life, both overseas and in appearances before largely
black audiences at U.S. colleges, Ture continued preaching black power
and championing socialism while condemning America, capitalism and Zionism.
Born in Trinidad on June 29, 1941, and raised there and in New York, Ture
described himself as a pliant acceptor of white dominion while growing
He recalled in a 1967 interview in the London Observer that as a boy in
the Trinidad capital of Port-of-Spain, he and his black schoolmates “went
to the movies and yelled for Tarzan to beat the hell out of Africa.”
“I’m angry because I didn’t rebel,” he said.
At age 11, his parents brought him to New York, where the bright youngster
attended the academically elite Bronx High School of Science and moved
in a liberal, middle-class white circle that he later reviled as phony.
In 1960, he enrolled at Howard, the predominantly black university in Washington,
D.C., where he received a degree in philosophy and plunged into the civil
want control of the institutions of the communities where we live and we
want to stop the exploitation of nonwhite people around the world.’
In a time when black college students were being beaten and arrested for
daring to sit at whites-only Southern lunch counters, Carmichael joined
the first freedom rides — bus trips aimed at desegregating public transportation
— and suffered the first of what was to be about three dozen jailings when
he reached Mississippi.
As an SNCC field organizer there later, he led a perilous voter registration
effort that raised black enrollment from 70 to 2,600 in Lowndes County,
300 more than the white registration.
In June 1966, three weeks before his 25th birthday, he was elected national
chairman of the SNCC and shortly afterward raised the cry of “black power”
as he led a freedom march in Mississippi.
Responding to those who called the slogan racist and inflammatory, he wrote
that by black power he meant political and economic empowerment. “We want
control of the institutions of the communities where we live and we want
to stop the exploitation of nonwhite people around the world,” he said
in the New York Review of Books.
He also took an anti-America message to Cuba and North Vietnam and critics
said his speeches at home, and those of his successor, H. Rap Brown, had
effectively removed the word “nonviolent” from the SNCC’s name.
In 1968, he left the SNCC for the Black Panthers, but broke with that urban-guerrilla
movement the following year because it favored working with radical whites.
He said history showed such alliances had “led to complete subversion of
the blacks by the whites.”
Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., who met Carmichael in the freedom rides of 1961
and preceded him as chairman of the SNCC, said he would be remembered “as
one of the more militant of spokespersons of that period. He held strong
views in terms of civil rights and civil liberties, both here and in Africa.”
Lewis said the concept of black power “raised the consciousness of people,
but it frightened a lot of people.”
we got to do is show (blacks) who the enemy is. At least they’re ready
From Guinea, where he had moved with his then-wife, South African-born
singer and political activist Miriam Makeba, he declared himself a Pan
Africanist with a goal of forming “one cohesive force to wage an unrelenting
armed struggle against the white Western empire for the liberation of our
He long hoped to see a single, socialist state for all of Africa, which
would give Africans there and abroad — he rejected the term “African-American”
— pride and power.
Although he denied being anti-Semitic, his condemnations of Israel and
Zionism, particularly before U.S. campus audiences in the early 1990s,
led the Anti-Defamation League to say, “He remains a disturbing, polarizing
Asked at one campus lecture to comment about black-on-black violence, he
said: “All we got to do is show (blacks) who the enemy is. At least they’re
ready to shoot.”
Ture is survived by his mother, three sisters and two sons, the AAPRP added.
Services in the United States, Africa, Britain and the Caribbean will be
organized by the AAPRP, the group said.
© 1998 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may
not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.