A Critical Analysis Of Joseph's Stokely: A Life

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Stokely Carmichael burst in to the American consciousness in 1966 as the distinctive face and Chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), leading the call for Black Power and taking the freedom struggle to a new level. Often an afterthought in the wider historiography of the Civil Rights and Black Power Movements, Joseph’s biography adds to the relative sparsity of complete works on Carmichael and aims primarily to tell the complete story of his life, restoring the man to the forefront of discussions surrounding important actors in the era. Not without its merits, this very desire eventually becomes the book’s Achilles heel; as a ‘critical biography’ as defined by Joseph in the preface, Stokely: A Life does become blighted …show more content…

The range of resources is impressive and builds significantly on those already used in Joseph’s previous works on the Black Power Movement, with an additional thirty interviews supplementing those used in Waiting ‘til the Midnight Hour: A Narrative History of Black Power in America. However, Joseph’s choice of and engagement with the interviewees is somewhat indicative of the general tone of the book. Although admittedly broad, the list is missing others who may have provided an alternative view, including ex-wife Miriam Makeba or John Lewis, instead relying on those who would be more inclined to give a positive perspective on Carmichael, sometimes relying particularly heavily on Thelwell’s own accounts and his biography of Carmichael, Ready for Revolution. On the whole, Joseph relies on a vast, impressive yet imperfect array of resources for his study, but it is in this area that the text is at its

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