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Black Power: The Politics of Liberation

4.33  ·  Rating details ·  1,671 ratings  ·  49 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 soci ...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published November 10th 1992 by Vintage (first published 1967)
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Average rating 4.33  · 
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 ·  1,671 ratings  ·  49 reviews


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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 Soci
...more
Andrea
Nov 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: democracy, race, struggle
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 i
...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
Shila
Dec 02, 2012 rated it really liked it
So you want to protest? Read this. I appreciate the dissection of a problem in a world where cognitive dissonance exists. The identification of the problem will encourage us to enact solutions. For the person who might complain that this book only identifies a problem, they should go back in time. It was published in 1967. The problem needed to be identified... over and over so that the oppressed could see what they were up against. That is war tactic. Clearly, many still do not comprehend this ...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 Blac
...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
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
Danny Mason
Jul 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
This was great, I feel like these days it's not as well known as some other books from the civil rights movement but it deserves to be right up there with the best. It strikes a perfect balance between the charisma and power of the revolutionary Kwame Ture and the detailed argumentation and insight of the political scientist Charles V. Hamilton. I know it's a cliche, but most of the book really does feel like it could be written today, a testament to the strength of the arguments being made but ...more
Tim Pettaway
Jul 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
If you want to understand the history of Black people's powerlessness in America then this is a necessary read. Each chapter gives a very detailed account of situations concerning Black Power. It's both amazing and alarming to see the similarities between what they were faced with in the 60's and what we're experiencing today. It's almost identical.

Overall this book is very solid; it's comprehensive, and clear in it's message. The book may be small in size but it's vast with information, which a
...more
Paige
Jun 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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 gover
...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
Mo
Oct 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: forever-books
Learning the political strategy behind Black Power has been so transformational for my understanding of how institutionalized and systemic racism actually manifests, and how I can show up as an ally. The book emphasizes that racism against Blacks is particularly unique in the US because it so heavily contributed to the financial foundations of our country, and that the hatred and bigotry directed at Blacks obscures the true colonial motivations of the "othering" of Black people: financial exploi ...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 raci ...more
Mark
Jul 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I'm sorry I haven't read this book sooner. The things said in this book, have obviously been said for a long time. The history of the Reconstruction period, the Jim Crow period and the Civil Rights Era have made that plain to me. If any white person is still asking why African-American/Black folks are still angry about racism, all they have to do is make an effort at understanding this history.

I must admit that the title of this book put me off many times, but don't let that dissuade YOU from re
...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 institutiona
...more
Brandon
Sep 26, 2020 rated it liked it
From a literary perspective, the book is well written enough to warrant the reviews it has received. It also is a relatively easy read for socio-political book, which is nice.

My middling review of the book stems , in the interest of full transparency, from my personal bias towards the efficacy of the views express within to actual produce the well-oiled, Pan African, open Socialist Society that the writers vociferously champion.

TL:DR:

The book is well written enough, but the Black Power ideology
...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.
Gary
Apr 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
What does it say about this country that this book is still as relevant today as ever. We have a lot of work to do before racial equality is a reality.
Dan Abromowitz
Jul 04, 2020 rated it liked it
I agree!
Sally
Jul 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Important primary source on the Black Power movement.
Chad Montabon
Sep 26, 2020 rated it liked it
Probably being read on college campuses everywhere - violates current standards of 'wokeness'.
Byron Woodson Sr.
May 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Black Power is an indispensable component in the quest to understand the black American ethos.

I was a student at Lincoln University (a HBCU) when Charles Hamilton taught there and co-wrote Black Power. At the time I did not distinguish between the positions and contributions of Stokely Carmichael, Malcolm X, and Black Panthers like Huey Newton. Events moved very fast and there seemed to be a lot of commonality. Fifty years later I see very stark differences in their contributions; I see more cl
...more
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 also delve into ...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 po ...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 Live ...more
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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

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“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.” 33 likes
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