Black Power

Learning Toolkit Resources

Songs

Mississippi Goddam

Nina Simone

Say It Loud

James Brown


Engage With the Sources: Stokely’s Speech Class, Notes by Jane Stembridge, 1965

This class illustrates the way many of the ideas of Black Power were present in SNCC’s educational and cultural work even before Stokely Carmichael popularized the phrase Black Power. Read a transcript of Stokely Carmichael’s 1965 class, described above.

Think about these questions:

  • How do the students initially respond?
  • How does Carmichael help them consider and rethink assumptions about language and what is “proper”?
  • What does this class suggest about SNCC’s approach to freedom teaching compared with traditional academic teaching

Engage With the Sources: “What We Want” by Stokely Carmichael, New York Review of Books, Sep. 1966

When Stokely Carmichael called for Black Power, many politicians and reporters attacked SNCC, claiming that Black Power was anti-white, violent, and reverse racism. Read excerpts of “What We Want” that Carmichael wrote to explain his thinking and that of many of his colleagues in SNCC.

Excerpts from “What We Want”

Think about these questions:

  • How does Carmichael define “Black Power”?
  • What does he say about the kind of economics and politics SNCC was calling for when they used the phrase “Black Power”?
  • What role does he say that whites should play?

Read the full version of “What We Want”


Stokely Carmichael, What We Want; 1966, Michael J. Miller Papers, USM

Activist Insights Across Generations

In a recent conversation SNCC’s Courtland Cox and two younger activists, Nsé Ufot and Charles Taylor, discussed the importance of a new southern political strategy that centers the thinking and priorities of Black southern communities.

Crosby, Emilye. “The Rhetoric and the Reality of the New Southern Strategy: Courtland Cox, Nsé Ufot, and Charles V. Taylor Jr. in Conversation,” Southern Cultures, vol. 30, no. 1 (Spring 2024), 98-115.

Works Cited

Alice Moore profile, SNCC Digital Gateway, SNCC Legacy Project and Duke University.

Carmichael, Stokely. “What We Want,” New York Review of Books, Sept. 1966.

Cox, Courtland. “What Would It Profit a Man to Have the Vote and Not Be Able to Control It?,” 1965 or 1966, https://www.crmvet.org/docs/courtcox.htm.

Crosby, Emilye, ed. “The Rhetoric and the Reality of the New Southern Strategy: A Conversation between Courtland Cox, Nsé Ufot, and Charles Taylor.” Southern Cultures, 30 (no. 1). https://www.southerncultures.org/article/the-rhetoric-and-the-reality-of-the-new-southern-strategy/.

Emergence of Black Power, SNCC Digital Gateway, SNCC Legacy Project and Duke University.

House, Gloria. “We’ll Never Turn Back, in Hands on the Freedom Plow: Personal Accounts by Women in SNCC, edited by Faith Holsaert, et al., 503-514. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2012.

Leflore County cuts off surplus commodities, SNCC Digital Gateway, SNCC Legacy Project and Duke University.

March on Washington speech, SNCC Digital Gateway, SNCC Legacy Project and Duke University.

Wood, Julia Erin. “’What That Meant to Me’: SNCC Women, the 1964 Guinea Trip, and Black Internationalism.” In To Turn the Whole World Over: Black Women and Internationalism, edited by Keisha N. Blain and Tiffany M. Gill, 219-234. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2019.