Ready for Revolution: The Life and Struggles of Stokely Carmichael (Kwame Ture) by Stokely Carmichael (review)

Ready for Revolution: The Life and Struggles of Stokely Carmichael (Kwame Ture) by Stokely Carmichael (Simon and Schuster, 2003)

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Ready for Revolution: The Life and Struggles of Stokely Carmichael (Kwame Ture) by Stokely Carmichael (review)

by Stephen J. Whitfield
Southern Cultures, Vol. 10, No. 4: Winter 2004

Simon and Schuster, 2003

In August 1967 the director of the FBI urged his agents to “prevent the rise of a ‘messiah’ who would unify and electrify the militant black nationalist movement.” J. Edgar Hoover identified two such aspirants. One was Martin Luther King Jr.—not exactly a “militant black nationalist.” The other prospect, however, was more plausible: “Stokely Carmichael appears to have the charisma to become such a messiah.” Indeed, no agitator was more wont than the chairman (1966-1967) of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee ( SNCC) to generate the sort of tumult that the press inevitably labeled “inflammatory.” To the task of community organizer and then to the vocation of demagogue, Carmichael brought the gifts of physical bravery, keen intelligence, hot-button phrase-making, personal magnetism, and suave self-assurance.