Jun. 16, 2019

June 16, 1966 Stokely Carmichael Introduces Black Power

Greenwood, Mississippi
Meredith March Against Fear

On June 16, 1966, Stokely Carmichael changed the course of the American Civil Rights Movement for African Americans in the muggy evening air in Greenwood, Mississippi with two powerful words, Black Power. These two words embolden the youths in America's black communities to thrust themselves into a new militancy. They no longer felt the need to wait for a change. These two words, black power, demanded substantive change. So, when a new militancy arrived with those two words, black power, the young blacks started to want to turn a cheek and settle for nonviolent discord. Those two words, black power, created a renewed systematic battle that was launched by local, state and federal government forces to disrupt those calls for change.

America's urban areas became battlegrounds as well as areas that saw an influx of guns and drugs delivered by a government that conjured up methods of destruction that literally erased complete black communities. These institutional strategies of destruction caused widespread death, incarceration, collapsing of black institutions, increased poverty and delivered severe blows to our communities that are still being felt 53 years later in 2019. Those two words, black power, put the fear into the white establishment powers that those two words could possibly empower a mass of people to demand positive changes in their black communities.

Those positive changes that Carmichael envisioned on this day 53 years ago still are unattainable today. Yet we must hope that power in blackness will be achieved in the near future. Because our numbers are dwindling as more and more ethnic groups change the dynamics of what was dream unified black power.