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February 19, 1982

The Afro-American Society held Black Weekend, featuring a cabaret in the Villard room, a poetry reading—also part of the Festival of Third World Arts and Culture—and a lecture by black activist Kwame Toure—previously known as Stokely Carmichael.

Toure discussed the relationship between capitalism and race, uses for violence in the civil rights struggle and whether his militant political beliefs reconciled with his Christian religious beliefs. “According to Toure,” wrote Wesleyan exchange student Cameron Gordon in The Miscellany News, “Africa is the richest continent on the face of the earth. But, under capitalism, Africans are starving. African culture is rich its people are strong, but under capitalism, it is an object of ridicule.” On the issue of violence, “Toure maintained that King was a great man but that he made an error of taking the tactic of non-violence and making it into a principle. Toure said that when non-violence is effective it should be used. When it is not…‘I’m going to start chucking hand grenades.”

Questioned about the compatibility of violence with his Christian beliefs, “Toure asked facetiously, ‘Who sent the floods?’ and maintained that just as God punished evil, his followers were out to defeat and punish oppression, using violence when necessary.”

The Miscellany News

The Years