It is a well known fact that Kwame Ture's visit to Oberlin College this past March 11, 1996 was not his first. One has to wonder how much has really changed in the twenty or so years that have passed between now and his first visit. Kwame Ture is a prominent leader in the civil rights movement and his views have been a source of empowerment for repressed peoples. Kwame Ture (formerly Stokely Carmichael) worked extensively with the Student Non-Violent Co-ordinating Committee (SNCC) in 1960. He later helped to organize the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party and the Lowndes County Freedom Organization which later became known as the Black Panther Party. Kwame Ture was the Prime Minister of the Black Panther Party. In 1972 he called for the formation of the All African Peoples Revolutionary Party of which he has consistently been a defining figure. We feel that these facts should be outlined as it has been made clear that many people in the Oberlin community have not been aware of them. President Nancy Dye herself did not know why Kwame Ture has become a historical figure of note until she was presented with a request to fund Third World House's People of Color Conference.
Kwame Ture has been active in national and international civil rights groups, including non-violent action groups. Whether or not Kwame Ture is an anti-Judaic is not the beginning and end to this issue. Whether or not he is an anti-Judaic does not change the fact that he has been and continues to make great contributions to the civil rights movement. His work, and that of other people like him in the civil rights movement, has a direct effect on students on this campus. The civil rights movement has given legitimacy to the concept of protest. Black Power has been a model for Brown Power, Yellow Power, the Young Lords and many other groups which empower repressed peoples. Many students would not be Here had it not been for the work of Kwame Ture and others like him. Many of us would not be here for Oberlin administration to put in their viewbooks and exploit in the cause of a false claim to support diversity.
We urge members of different communities to attend the forum on Saturday. This forum will hopefully provide a medium through which people can hear where different communities are coming from. Kwame Ture did speak against Zionists, yet he also spoke of civil rights and the power structure that divides communities of repressed peoples. He spoke of the struggle of disenfranchised people to help future generations attain the privileged position that we now hold at Oberlin College. These commonalities between the Zionist community and other repressed peoples are aspects of Ture's speech which have been marginalized. There are more issues that unite us than divide us.
Copyright © 1996, The Oberlin Review.
Volume 124, Number 18; March 15, 1996
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