Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago: Kwame Ture (born Stokely Carmichael) was a charismatic and engaging activist and public speaker from Trinidad and Tobago, whose words inspired Black people around the world to unite, according to the information shared by National Archive of Trinidad and Tobago.
In the 1950s and 1960s, he travelled to universities and sites across the United States, where he spoke on issues such as the American involvement in the Vietnam War. It was at one of these talks that he first said the controversial slogan, “Black Power,” which added fuel to a civil rights movement that had been growing for decades.
While many people were inspired by Ture’s words, some were afraid. In her book, “Making Waves: How the West Indies Shaped the United States,” Trinbagonian writer Debbie Jacob notes that the phrase “Black Power,” along with many of Ture’s words troubled the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). He was considered a threat to national security, and consequently, he was surveilled, arrested and jailed many times.
In the 1960s, Ture moved to Guinea in West Africa with his wife at the time, the South African singer and activist Miriam Makeba. He had grown apart from the Black Panther Party and wanted to become more involved in the Pan-Africanist movement.
According to the reports, Ture began working for the Guinean President Ahmed Sékou Touré and the Ghanaian political leader Kwame Nkrumah. With Nkrumah, Ture founded the All African People’s Revolutionary Party (A-APRP).
In 1978, he changed his name from Stokely Carmichael to Kwame Ture to honour his two mentors: Kwame Nkrumah and Ahmed Sékou Touré.
During the height of the 1970 Black Power Movement in Trinidad and Tobago, Prime Minister Dr. Eric Williams announced that Ture was banned from entering his country of birth. Ture eventually visited in 1996, two years before he passed away in Guinea at the age of 57.
As per the National Archives of Trinidad and Tobago, in 2019, the Emancipation Support Committee proposed that Oxford Street in Port of Spain—the site of Ture’s first home—be renamed in his honour.
In an interview with the Sunday Newsday, Ture’s son, Bokar Ture, said that he was “excited” about the possibility of the renaming, and added that although Kwame Ture lived abroad for most of his life, he always “carried his Trini identity with him.”