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Black Power: The Politics of Liberation

4.31  ·  Rating details ·  1,489 ratings  ·  38 reviews
In 1967, this revolutionary work exposed the depths of systemic racism in this country and provided a radical political framework for reform: true and lasting social change would only be accomplished through unity among African-Americans and their independence from the preexisting order. An eloquent document of the civil rights movement that remains a work of profound ...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published November 10th 1992 by Vintage (first published 1967)
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Erik Graff
May 19, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: civil rights history fans
Recommended to Erik by: no one
When visiting old friends, I go through their libraries in search of books I read as a kid. I found Black Power in a high school friend's collection while visiting him in Springfield, Vermont.

I'd been brought up in a pronouncedly anti-racist home. Mom and Dad were both democratic socialists who usually voted for liberal Democrats though Dad was proud of having voted for Norman Thomas in '48 and for having had a father who had been a comrade and journalist colleague of Carl Sandburg in the
...more
Andrea
Nov 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: race, struggle, democracy
I loved this, I think it should be taught as part of U.S. history wherever such a grim subject is taught (though with some more women talking alongside, my main critique).

From the preface
This book is about why, where and in what manner black people in America must get themselves together. It is about black people taking care of business -- the business of and for black people. The stakes are really very simple: if we fail to do this, we face continued subjection to a white society that has no
...more
Chris brown
(Sigh) So to begin this book started with kindling that fire that is at the base of every black man woman and child but then in the middle, I began to see; unlike this books forefathers (i.e. the mis-education of the Negro) it offered no solutions to any of the obvious problems it points out. FOR MYSELF it was to akin to listening to one of my older uncles talk, and talk all day about how the world is wrong and explain in detail what is wrong with it yet they do noting and give no advice on how ...more
 Imani ♥ ☮
Feb 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Been learning some great things from this so definitely wanted to add it. Stokely is an underrated treasure from the Black Power Movement era.
Natalie
Sep 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, racism
Such a pivotal, transformative movement. This book, published in 1967,89 was honestly incredible to read. I appreciated the detailed strategies shared about various campaigns--it inspired and humbled me as an organizer.

Their elucidation of WHY they reject integration as a goal is solid. "'Integration' as a goal today speaks to the problem of blackness not only in an unrealistic way but also in a despicable way. It is based on complete acceptance of the fact that in order to have a decent house
...more
Mykie
Before I dive into a formal review of this amazing piece of literature, I must say that this book is a must-read for everyone. The book has a wealth of information, constructive take-aways and is a well-referenced documentation of facts that are not always accurately communicated in history books. One can learn from this book, grow from this book, be inspired by this book and, most urgently, be encouraged to ACT based on the motivation this book offers.

Why I read this book:
Black Power and
...more
Michael Strode
Mar 25, 2011 rated it it was amazing
In his 1992 Afterword, Charles Hamilton penned a response to the prevailing criticisms that Black Power was responsible for "highlighting racial divisions", "eschewing coalitions with whites", attempting "to kick whites out of the civil rights movement", and being "anti-white, defeatist, and bitterly rejecting the civil rights movement's traditional goal of integration". While the rest of the afterword holds a patient and intellectual argument for the continued necessity of Black Power, one can ...more
Dave
Sep 24, 2010 rated it really liked it
Articulate and farseeing, Carmichael and Hamilton present their point-of-view on the socioeconomic problems exacerbating racial tensions in the late '60s. What struck me most about this book were the aspects discussed by Carmichael that have in no way been solved today. The authors point out the underlying reasons for urban and rural poverty, and those reasons continue unabated. It makes me wonder how our society has succeeded for sweeping these problems under the rug for so long. I imagine the ...more
Elle Long
Apr 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This isn't for your enjoyment, it's for your FREEDOM.

Thought-provoking and awe-inspiring. Ture and Hamilton have helped to lay a foundation for the us, their future. They've given use the manuscript on how to take control on our lives and what we deserve as human beings. This book not only tells of the corrupted lives of the government and it's "personal" relationship with big business, but of the re-education that needs to be done because of it! McDonald's will receive more money from the
...more
Alyssa
Aug 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: recommended
I'm really glad to have read this book. My friend was travelling overseas and gave me a bunch of books to look after and read while she was gone, this was one of them.

It's a very telling book. Even though it was written in the 60s and the afterwords in 1992, it is still as relevant, if not more so now. I believe that like others, this should be a required reading in schools, and not just in the US, in Australia too. There are too many history books written by white Americans floating around and
...more
Jamie Barringer (Ravenmount)
Jul 31, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, 2017
This book is from the 1960's, so race relations in the US have progressed a bit since then, but I suspect that in much of the South and urban inner-city areas this book is still very relevant. I also was noting while reading this one how different the part of the West is where I live, compared to the parts of the US Carmichael is directly discussing. The trendy-popular notion that the US is really 12-13 nations/societies squished together is supported by reading books like this. My area has ...more
Jordan | Just A Book Collection
“There is no ‘American dilemma’ because black people in this country form a colony, and it is not in the interest of the colonial power to liberate them. Blacks people are legal citizens of the United States with, for the most part, the same legal rights as other citizens. Yet they stand as colonial subjects in relation to the white society. Thus institutional racism has another name: colonialism.”

Ture and Hamilton’s “Black Power” is a necessary read for those wanting to learn about
...more
Kenya Gant
Oct 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Read it, digest it, buy a few copies to share with others if you can. Encourage your librarian to acquire it and and keep an electronic copy in your digital library as well to reference and share the ideas and valuable lessons in the book.
If you have been newly or recently politically activated this should be one of your first reads if not your first.
Ryan
Apr 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Some of this text may be essentially common knowledge for those in the left in 2019 but not only did it help pave the way but as seen in the afterward by Kwame Ture (the former Stokely Carmichael) many of it's conclusions were such that it sent the movement in the right direction of struggle.

Doubtlessly a classic.
Dipa  Raditya
Jul 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: dipapedia
Criticizing labor movements, liberals, and the middle class for being complacent in systemic racism, Black Power challenges coalitions to genuinely serve the anti-racism and the needs of the black community.
Paige
Jun 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
J.P.
Oct 09, 2015 rated it liked it
A very good book. it stresses the importance of black people controlling their own institutions & thus, their own lives. Written in the late 60's, it critiques moves towards integration & where proponents of it either failed in their strategies or undermined by the system. The limitations of allies & liberals are explored as well. It's about uplifting black people & giving them some measure if control, how far that can go without overthrowing the entire system, I'm not sure. They ...more
Aden Dohn
Jan 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing
reading at least the first 3 chapters should be a requirement in high school. if the history and mechanics of racism, individual and institutional, was actually taught in schools instead of the vague "bad thing that happened but its all better now, mlk jr civils rights" that i remember learning, i'm sure there'd be at least a lot less white stupid calls of "but that's reverse racism!". the rest of book is still incredibly relevant, see the emphasis on black visibility not being equal to black ...more
RA
One of the great works of the 20th Century, the delineation of the transformation of SNCC from a Civil-Rights-based organization to the leading proponent of the Black Power movement. Very thought-provoking because of their thoroughness in looking at multiple issues. A must-read for anyone mildly interested in racial politics, since Carmichael and Hamilton clearly analyze the need for "Black Power," as defined by them and not the mass media. So many applications today, with the rise of Black ...more
Amy
Aug 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing
At first I thought maybe I had read this book before, but in fact I just think that the ideas formed the basis of my Black Studies program in college. I appreciate that this book is written without a lot of jargon and does a great job at explaining institutional racism. It's very focused on electing black politicians, but also speaks out against capitalism in general. While written in 1967, many of these problems are still very relevant today.
Daniel Lee
Apr 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Sort of startling how incisive this book was in terms of organizing for community power and local control and the forces of acquiescence and assimilation that one must combat in order to have any meaningful form of it. Having grown up with Tuskeegee, Alabama being the closest town it was interesting to read the history of the city and the university. Fantastic but depressing read considering how little has changed...
Taylor W. Rushing
Jun 22, 2008 rated it really liked it
"Those of us who advocate Black Power are quite clear in our own minds that a non-violent approach to civil rights is an approach black people cannot afford and a luxury white people do not deserve." This is a radical novel focusing on cause and effect.
Erin
May 18, 2009 rated it really liked it
I have wanted to read this for nearly a decade. It felt so good to finally read it and have so much of it (in terms of alliances and power) relatable to situations happening today. If I ever taught history, this would be a requirement.
Femi Vance
May 29, 2007 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Those interested in Black Empowerment
I am familiar with what the Black Power Movement came to be but this book details what it was intended to be. It's pretty short and makes you realize how skeletal the plan was....which may account for why the movement took on a life of its own.
Chelsea Lewis
May 06, 2010 rated it liked it
This may seem weird on my bookshelf, it was for a class and I found it very informative and interesting. Though cannot in good conscious justify giving a book on black power more than a 3 star rating.
Ghostcat
Jan 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
I'm not that qualified on the subject to write a proper review for this book, but it was enlightening for me to read it. It should be recommended in schools readings, its subject and the way of dealing with it are in my opinion still relevant nowadays, even more if I may say so.
James Tracy
Jan 21, 2008 rated it really liked it
This is a great book to understand the politics behind the Black Power movement of the sixties.
Barrie
Jun 02, 2008 rated it really liked it
Really great read; knocks down the myth that the Black Power movement was one of violence and hate. Explains the necessity of Black Power and what the movement was really trying to achieve.
Dalena
Jan 22, 2008 rated it it was amazing
must read for anyone who believes in any kind of self determination
Luana Kay
Mar 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
I love my man Kwame Ture...

He lays everything out perfectly.
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Stokely Standiford Churchill Carmichael, also known as Kwame Ture, was a Trinidadian-American black activist active in the 1960s American Civil Rights Movement. He rose to prominence first as a leader of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC, pronounced "Snick") and later as the "Honorary Prime Minister" of the Black Panther Party. Initially an integrationist, Carmichael later became ...more
“Racism is both overt and covert. It takes two, closely related forms: individual whites acting against individual blacks, and acts by the total white community against the black community. We call these individual racism and institutional racism. 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. The second type is less overt, far more subtle, less identifiable in terms of specific individuals committing the acts. But it is no less destructive of human life. The second type originates in the operation of established and respected forces in the society, and thus receives far less public condemnation than the first type. 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. But when in that same city - Birmingham, Alabama - five hundred black babies die each year because of the lack of proper food, shelter and medical facilities, and thousands more are destroyed and maimed physically, emotionally and intellectually because of conditions of poverty and discrimination in the black community, that is a function of institutional racism. 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. But 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. The society either pretends it does not know of this latter situation, or is in fact incapable of doing anything meaningful about it.” 22 likes
“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. The creation of new values means the establishment of a society based on free people, not free enterprise.” 3 likes
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