95 Stokely Carmichael Quotes from the Civil Rights Leader

Stokely Carmichael, born in Trinidad in 1941, became a pivotal civil rights activist after moving to New York.

As the SNCC chairman, he championed “Black Power,” contrasting Martin Luther King Jr.’s nonviolence philosophy.

Studying at Howard University, he was instrumental in various civil rights milestones, including the Freedom Rides and the Mississippi Freedom Summer project.

Carmichael contributed to the Lowndes County Freedom Organization after the 1965 Selma March, a forerunner to the Black Panther Party.


In 1966, his SNCC leadership signaled a lean towards black militancy. While differing from King on civil rights, both opposed the Vietnam War.

Later focusing on black nationalism, Carmichael moved to Guinea, became Kwame Ture, advocated for Pan-Africanism and died in 1998.

Stokely Carmichael fought the philosophy of nonviolence and interracial alliances.

Let’s go through some of the best quotes by Stokely Carmichael.

Best Stokely Carmichael Quotes


The job of the conscious is to make the unconscious conscious. ~ Stokely Carmichael.


We are revolutionaries. ~ Stokely Carmichael.


The only position for women in SNCC is prone. ~ Stokely Carmichael.


Capitalism is a stupid system, a backward system. ~ Stokely Carmichael.


A man is born free. ~ Stokely Carmichael.


Now you know where I got my name. ~ Stokely Carmichael.

No man can give anybody his freedom. ~ Stokely Carmichael.


Go home and tell your daughters they are beautiful. ~ Stokely Carmichael.

Racism is both overt and covert. ~ Stokely Carmichael.

Famous Stokely Carmichael Quotes


Before a group can enter the open society, it must first close ranks. ~ Stokely Carmichael.

One does not fight to influence change and then leave the change to someone else to bring about. ~ Stokely Carmichael.

We had no more courage than Harriet Tubman or Marcus Garvey had in their times. We just had a more vulnerable enemy. ~ Stokely Carmichael.


Seems to me that the institutions that function in this country are clearly racist and that they’re built upon racism. ~ Stokely Carmichael.

One of the tragedies of the struggle against racism is that up to now there has been no national organization which could speak to the growing militancy of young Black people in the urban ghetto. ~ Stokely Carmichael.


Black Power can be clearly defined for those who do not attach the fears of white America to their questions about it. ~ Stokely Carmichael.

We must question whether or not we want this country to continue being the wealthiest country in the world at the price of raping everybody else. ~ Stokely Carmichael.

Great Stokely Carmichael Quotes

Now we maintain that we cannot afford to be concerned about 6% of the children in this country, Black children, who you allow to come into white schools. We have 94% who still live in shacks. We are going to be concerned about those 94%. ~ Stokely Carmichael.

In struggle one not only fights against something—injustice, oppression—but one must struggle for something equally real but positive. That’s the other part of the equation. ~ Stokely Carmichael.

What a liberal really wants is to bring about change that will not in any way endanger his position. ~ Stokely Carmichael.


Now then, in order to understand White supremacy, we must dismiss the fallacious notion that white people can give anybody their freedom. ~ Stokely Carmichael.

This country is a nation of thieves. It stole everything it has, beginning with Black people. ~ Stokely Carmichael.

It is institutional racism that keeps Black people locked in dilapidated slum tenements, subject to the daily prey of exploitative slumlords, merchants, loan sharks, and discriminatory real estate agents. ~ Stokely Carmichael.

The need for psychological equality is the reason why SNCC today believes that Blacks must organize in the Black community. ~ Stokely Carmichael.

Top Stokely Carmichael Quotes


The Black community perceives the ‘White power structure’ in very concrete terms. ~ Stokely Carmichael.

The call for Black Power was heard by more than a few, Blacks and Whites, as anti-White, defeatist, and bitterly rejecting the civil rights movement’s traditional goal of integration. ~ Stokely Carmichael.

The masses don’t shed their blood for the benefit of a few individuals. ~ Stokely Carmichael.

In order for America to really live on a basic principle of human relationships a new society must be born. Racism must die. ~ Stokely Carmichael.

If someone wants to live in a white neighborhood and he is Black, that is his choice. It should be his right. It is not because white people will not allow him. ~ Stokely Carmichael.


In order for nonviolence to work, your opponent must have a conscience. The United States has none. ~ Stokely Carmichael.

It is clear to me that we have to wage a psychological battle on the right for Black people to define their own terms, define themselves as they see fit, and organize themselves as they see it. ~ Stokely Carmichael.

Wise Stokely Carmichael Quotes

We are not going to wait for white people to sanction Black Power. ~ Stokely Carmichael.

Dr. King’s policy was that nonviolence would achieve the gains for Black people in the United States. His major assumption was that if you are nonviolent, if you suffer, your opponent will see your suffering and will be moved to change his heart. That’s very good. ~ Stokely Carmichael.

We have taken all the myths of the country and we found them to be nothing but downright lies. This country told us that if we worked hard we would succeed, and if that were true we would own this country lock, stock, and barrel. ~ Stokely Carmichael.


I do not want to be a part of the American pie. ~ Stokely Carmichael.

It is we who have picked the cotton for nothing. It is we who are the maids in the kitchens of liberal white people. It is we who are the janitors, the porters, the elevator men. We who sweep up your college floors. Yes, it is we who are the hardest workers and the lowest paid. ~ Stokely Carmichael.

Civil rights leaders who, in the past or at present, rely essentially on ‘national sentiment.’ ~ Stokely Carmichael.

Powerful Stokely Carmichael Quotes

When White terrorists bomb a Black church and kill five Black children, that is an act of individual racism, widely deplored by most segments of the society. ~ Stokely Carmichael.

Poverty is well calculated in this country. And the reason why the poverty program won’t work is because the calculators of poverty are administering it. ~ Stokely Carmichael.

The tragedy of race relations in the United States is that there is no American Dilemma. ~ Stokely Carmichael.

The philosophers Camus and Sartre raise the question whether or not a man can condemn himself. ~ Stokely Carmichael.

The United States cannot justify its existence as the policeman of the world any longer. ~ Stokely Carmichael.

Black people in the United States must raise hard questions, questions which challenge the very nature of the society itself: its long-standing values, beliefs, and institutions. ~ Stokely Carmichael.

Thought-Provoking Stokely Carmichael Quotes

The knowledge I have now is not the knowledge I had then. ~ Stokely Carmichael.

There has been only a civil rights movement whose tone of voice was adapted to an audience of liberal Whites. ~ Stokely Carmichael.


I usually say I did the best I could with what I had. I have no major regrets. ~ Stokely Carmichael.

I knew that I could vote and that that wasn’t a privilege; it was my right. Every time I tried I was shot, killed or jailed, beaten or economically deprived. ~ Stokely Carmichael.

When a Black family moves into a home in a white neighborhood and is stoned, burned or routed out, they are victims of an overt act of individual racism which many people will condemn – at least in words. ~ Stokely Carmichael.

Our grandfathers had to run, run, run. My generation’s out of breath. We ain’t running no more. ~ Stokely Carmichael.

Popular Stokely Carmichael Quotes

If we are going to eliminate that for the generation that comes after us, then Black people must be seen in positions of power, doing and articulating for themselves. ~ Stokely Carmichael.


I don’t want any of your blood money. I don’t want to be part of that system. ~ Stokely Carmichael.

The problems of the city and of institutional racism are clearly intertwined. ~ Stokely Carmichael.

The creation of new values means the establishment of a society based on free people, not free enterprise. ~ Stokely Carmichael.

I also know that while I am Black, I am a human being, therefore I have the right to go into any public place. white people didn’t know that. Every time I tried to go into a place they stopped me. ~ Stokely Carmichael.

I’m convinced that the deck is so stacked that only a certain number can get through. I happened to be one of that certain number. That’s all. ~ Stokely Carmichael.

Profound Stokely Carmichael Quotes

We are going to have to speak to change the foreign policy of this country. ~ Stokely Carmichael.

It doesn’t make a difference, ’cause we’re gonna organize our way, anyway. We gonna do it. ~ Stokely Carmichael.


The power for racism, the power for sexism comes from capitalism, not an attitude. ~ Stokely Carmichael.

This Black person is urged to adopt American middle-class standards and values. ~ Stokely Carmichael.

If a White man wants to lynch me, that’s his problem. If he’s got the power to lynch me, that’s my problem. Racism is not a question of attitude; it’s a question of power. ~ Stokely Carmichael.

The society either pretends it does not know of this latter situation or is in fact incapable of doing anything meaningful about it. ~ Stokely Carmichael.

An organization which claims to speak for the needs of a community must speak in the tone of that community. ~ Stokely Carmichael.

Unlike some other civil rights groups, SNCC saw that such demonstrations were political in character. ~ Stokely Carmichael.

It takes two, closely related forms: individual Whites acting against individual Blacks and acts by the total white community against the Black community. ~ Stokely Carmichael.

Deep Stokely Carmichael Quotes

There is a higher law than the law of government. That’s the law of conscience. ~ Stokely Carmichael.

It is impossible for White and Black people to talk about building a relationship based on humanity when the country is the way it is when the institutions are clearly against us. ~ Stokely Carmichael.

The Black communities of the United States do not export anything except human labor. ~ Stokely Carmichael.

I maintain that every civil rights bill in this country was passed for white people, not for Black people. ~ Stokely Carmichael.

The Black man is not the sick man, it is the White man who is sick, he’s the one who picked up the gun. ~ Stokely Carmichael.


Racism gets its power from capitalism. ~ Stokely Carmichael.

Our noses are broad, our lips are thick, our hair is nappy. We are Black and beautiful! ~ Stokely Carmichael.

The American pie means raping South Africa, beating Vietnam, beating South America, raping the Philippines, raping every country you’ve been in. ~ Stokely Carmichael.

This is not to say that every single white American consciously oppresses Black people. He does not need to. ~ Stokely Carmichael.

An organization which claims to be working for the needs of a community, as SNCC does, must work to provide that community with a position of strength from which to make its voice heard. This is the significance of Black Power beyond the slogan. ~ Stokely Carmichael.

The first consists of overt acts by individuals, which cause death, injury or the violent destruction of property. This type can be recorded by television cameras; it can frequently be observed in the process of commission. ~ Stokely Carmichael.

Uplifting Stokely Carmichael Quotes

American students are perhaps the most politically unsophisticated students in the world. ~ Stokely Carmichael.

So that the failures to pass a civil rights bill isn’t because of Black Power, isn’t because of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee; it’s not because of the rebellions that are occurring in the major cities. ~ Stokely Carmichael.

Reorientation means an emphasis on the dignity of man, not on the sanctity of property. It means the creation of a society where human misery and poverty are repugnant to that society, not an indication of laziness or lack of initiative. ~ Stokely Carmichael.

The adoption of the concept of Black Power is one of the most legitimate and healthy developments in American politics and race relations in our time. ~ Stokely Carmichael.

We are against the draft. No man has the right to take a man for two years and train him to be a killer. A man should decide what he wants to do with his life. ~ Stokely Carmichael.


If you’re anti-racist, whether you know it or not, you must be anti-capitalist. ~ Stokely Carmichael.

The first need of a free people is to define their own terms. ~ Stokely Carmichael.

I place my own hope for the United States in the growth of belief among the unqualified that they are in fact qualified: they can articulate and be responsible and hold power. ~ Stokely Carmichael.

This is perfectly understandable in terms of the strategy and goals of the older organizations, the concept of the civil rights movement as a kind of liaison between the powerful white community and the dependent Black community. ~ Stokely Carmichael.

Frederick Douglass said the youth should fight to be leaders today. And God knows we need to be leaders today because the men who run this country are sick. ~ Stokely Carmichael.

The fact is that all Black people often question whether or not they are equal to Whites because every time they start to do something, white people are around showing them how to do it. ~ Stokely Carmichael.

Political modernization – a process which must take place if the society is to be rid of racism. ~ Stokely Carmichael.

The White political bosses could rule the Black community in the same fashion that Britain ruled the African colonies—by indirect rule. ~ Stokely Carmichael.


If you want to get rid of poverty, you give people money – period. ~ Stokely Carmichael.

You may enslave a man after he is born free. And that is in fact what this country does. It enslaves Black people after they’re born. ~ Stokely Carmichael.

So these were the 95 top Stokely Carmichael quotes and sayings.

If you like these quotes and sayings, then you can also read my other posts on Roy L. Smith quotes and Emily Bronte quotes.

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Chandan Negi
Chandan Negi

I’m the Founder of Internet Pillar - I love sharing quotes and motivational content to inspire and motivate people - #quotes #motivation #internetpillar