Ready for Revolution: The Life and Struggles of Stokely Carmichael (Kwame Ture)
Ready for Revolution: The Life and Struggles of Stokely Carmichael will forever be one of my favorite reads. What made this extra special for me? I was reading about someone whom I knew on a personal level and he had a profound effect on me, my thinking and how I view my people. To be in his presence and have him call you “little brother” made me feel 10 feet tall. His words had this effect on me because I knew who he was and what he stood for. I didn’t have to depend on the media’s coverage of him to decide weather or not he was a good person, I knew from hands on personal experience! So sit back and dig deeper into my review of his book.
The firebrand civil rights leader who led the call for Black Power in the 1960s looks back on nearly five decades of protests and freedom fighting in this passionate, posthumous autobiography. In collaboration with his friend Thelwell (a professor of Afro-American studies at the University of Massachusetts), Carmichael, who died in Guinea in 1998, traces his path from immigrant child of Trinidad to charismatic U.S. student activist and unrepentant revolutionary.
The story is told largely in Carmichael’s own stylish, often thunderous, first-person words and is named for the telephone greeting that he used for much of his life. It covers the full sweep of events that shaped Carmichael’s life: his years at the elite Bronx High School of Science and Howard University; summers spent registering black voters in Mississippi and Alabama; personal encounters with such leaders as Martin Luther King, James Baldwin and Malcolm X; and his sudden decision in 1969 to relocate to Africa and change his name to Kwame Ture.
Carmichael also addresses controversial issues that surrounded him as a young civil rights activist: his splits with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and the Black Panthers, and reports of ideological struggles with the pacifist King—all utter nonsense, he insists. While Carmichael’s love for the African community and its traditions are infectiously passionate, the book’s singular perspective, despite being inter-cut with other interviewees and sources, will sustain every reader. The book is at its strongest when Carmichael recounts powerful I-was-there anecdotes, most notably from his days as a SNCC organizer in Mississippi, that civil rights historians will devour.
At its best, this is a compelling portrait of a radical thinker who radiated charisma and practiced revolution to the end.
If you haven’t done so already I encourage you to get the book NOW! You can purchase it by clicking on the title Ready for Revolution: The Life and Struggles of Stokely Carmichael (Kwame Ture) and make it a part of your library before this classic treasure is gone forever.