African American History

(1963) Malcolm X, “Message to the Grassroots”

Malcolm X, Martin Luther King press conference, March 26, 1964 Public Domain photo by Marion S. Trikosko, Courtesy Library of Congress (2003688131) On December 10, 1963, while still the leading spokesman for the Nation of Islam, Malcolm X gave a speech at a rally in Detroit, Michigan.  That speech outlined his basic black nationalist philosophy …

African American History

(1967) Martin Luther King, Jr., “Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence”

Martin Luther King, Jr., delivering speech Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence, Riverside Church, New York City, April 4, 1967 Fair Use Image On April 4, 1967, exactly one year before his assassination, Dr. Martin Luther King gave his first major public address on the war in Vietnam at a meeting of Clergy and …

African American History

(1966) Stokely Carmichael, “Definitions of Black Power”

Stokely Carmichael speaking at Garfield High School, Seattle, 1967 Courtesy MOHAI (1986.5.21041) On July 31, 1966, Stokely Carmichael, the newly appointed Chairman of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), describes black power to a mostly African American audience at Cobo Auditorium in Detroit.  Part of the address appears below. Now we’ve got to talk about …

African American History

(1966) Stokely Carmichael, “Black Power”

Stokely Carmichael speaking at Garfield High School, Seattle, 1967 Courtesy MOHAI (1986.5.21041) Soon after he was named chairman of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), Stokely Carmichael began to tout the slogan and philosophy of Black Power.  In the speech below he explains  Black Power to an audience at the University of California, Berkeley. It’s …

African American History

(1966) Robert F. Kennedy, “Day of Affirmation Address”

Robert F. Kennedy speaking, Willamette Valley, Oregon, May 1968 Photo by R. W. Rynerson, Public domain image On June 7, 1966, New York Senator Robert F. Kennedy became one of the first major American politicians to take a public stand against South African Apartheid when he delivered an address to the National Union of South …

African American History

(1965) Lyndon B. Johnson, “To Fulfill These Rights”

On June 4, 1965 U.S. President Lyndon Baines Johnson gave the Commencement Address at Howard University in Washington, D.C.  He used the occasion to remind his audience and the nation of the long history of racial discrimination and urged the American people to end racial discrimination as the most important step in ensuring equality among …

African American History

(1965) Lyndon B. Johnson, “The Voting Rights Act”

In early March 1965 much of the nation’s attention was focused on civil rights marches in and around Selma, Alabama. Activists led by Dr. Martin Luther King used these demonstrations to urge the federal government to act to end the denial of voting rights to tens of thousands of African Americans in Alabama and across …

African American History

(1965) Bayard Rustin, “From Protest to Politics: The Future of the Civil Rights Movement”

Image courtesy Walter Naegle Bayard Rustin, a co-founder of the Congress of Racial Equality in 1942 had become by the 1960s an experienced civil rights and peace activist.  During much of that decade he was a close associate of Dr. Martin Luther King.  In this address originally printed in Commentary, Rustin argues that the movement …

African American History

(1964) Malcolm X’s Speech at the Founding Rally of the Organization of Afro-American Unity

Malcolm X’s life changed dramatically in the first six months of 1964.  On March 8, he left the Nation of Islam.  In May he toured West Africa and made a pilgrimage to Mecca, returning as El Hajj Malik El-Shabazz.  While in Ghana in May, he decided to form the Organization of Afro-American Unity (OAAU).  Malcolm …