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Stokely Carmichael Quotes on Society, Race, and More

Stokely Carmichael was a political activist who played a pivotal role during the civil rights movement.

Learn more about his views on society, racism, and more with the Stokely Carmichael quotes below. 

What do you know about Stokely Carmichael? 

Carmichael, also known as Kwame Ture, was a vibrant, vocal leader and the creator of the “Black Power” movement.

He participated in a variety of grassroots organizations including the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), the Black Panther Party, and the All-African People’s Revolutionary Party (A-APRP).

During his career, Carmichael was one of the original Freedom Riders and constantly fought for the voting rights of Black people. 

Dive into the incredible mind of Stokely Carmichael below. 

Don’t forget to also check out these Thomas Sowell quotes on politics, government, and more.

Powerful Stokely Carmichael quotes

1. “A man is born free.” – Stokely Carmichael

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

3. “The first need of a free people is to define their own terms.”  – Stokely Carmichael

4. “The job of the conscious is to make the unconscious conscious.” – Stokely Carmichael

5. “The secret of life is to have no fear; it’s the only way to function.” – Stokely Carmichael

6. “The knowledge I have now is not the knowledge I had then.” – Stokely Carmichael

7. “There is a higher law than the law of government. That’s the law of conscience.” – Stokely Carmichael

8. “One does not fight to influence change and then leave the change to someone else to bring about.” – Stokely Carmichael

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9. “We were aware of the fact that death walks hand in hand with struggle.” – Stokely Carmichael

10. “The masses don’t shed their blood for the benefit of a few individuals.” – Stokely Carmichael

11. “Go home and tell your daughters they are beautiful.” – Stokely Carmichael

12. “The philosophers Camus and Sartre raise the question whether or not a man can condemn himself.” – Stokely Carmichael

13. “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

14. “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

15. “Before a group can enter the open society, it must first close ranks.” ― Stokely Carmichael

16. “No man can give anybody his freedom.” ― Stokely Carmichael

Stokely Carmichael quotes about U.S. society

17. “They Head Start, Upward Lift, Bootstrap, and Upward Bound us into white society, ’cause they don’t want to face the real problem which is a man is poor for one reason and one reason only: ’cause he does not have money — period. If you want to get rid of poverty, you give people money — period.” – Stokely Carmichael

18. “Capitalism is a stupid system, a backward system.” – Stokely Carmichael

19. “Seems to me that the institutions that function in this country are clearly racist, and that they’re built upon racism.” – Stokely Carmichael

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

21. “Racism gets its power from capitalism. Thus, if you’re anti-racist, whether you know it or not, you must be anti-capitalist. The power for racism, the power for sexism, comes from capitalism, not an attitude.” – Stokely Carmichael

22. “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

23. “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

24. “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

25. “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

You might also like these Howard Thurman quotes that helped shape a movement.

Have you felt like you couldn’t make a change? 

With 24-hour news cycles and ever-updating social media, you can feel powerless.

But, at Everyday Power, we are here to remind you that you do have the power to make a change.

Long-term shifts in society typically begin with vocal individuals who are passionate about making a positive change, like Stokely Carmichael.  

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Without Carmichael’s relentless pursuit of equality, the activists of today wouldn’t exist.

Remember that your voice matters.

What you do now will not only help to make a change today but will inspire the generation that comes after you. 

Which of these Stokely Carmichael quotes and sayings is your favorite?

Leave us a comment below with your thoughts.

Nia Simone McLeod
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