Friday, August 26, 2022

Stokely Carmichael at Dartmouth

Poster for Stokely Carmichael's 1966 talk at Dartmouth College
One of the meta things about working in Rauner Library is that we are situated in the building that used to be the biggest speaker's venue on campus. So, while we hold Dartmouth's history with the College Archives, we are inhabiting a space where history happened. Take this example: in 1966, the recently formed Dartmouth Afro-American Society teamed up with several other organizations on campus and invited Stokely Carmichael to speak. 1,400 students packed the building that is now Rauner Library to hear his speech on Black Power. The D, which misspelled his name repeatedly in its next-day reporting, quoted him as saying, "We are faced now with a situation where powerless conscience is confronted with conscienceless power." Oof, that's a statement that can still be made in a variety of contexts.

An editorial that followed sounded a bit square--concerned over Carmichael's "unfortunate tirade concerning racism," but appreciative of a new, deeper understanding of "Black Power." The bit about the "tirade" leaves us wanting to go back in time and sit with the 1,400 students. We might be more inclined to call it righteous indignation.

To read The D's reports, take a look at the November 13-15, 1966, editions. To see the amazing poster, recently donated by a member of the Class of 1969, ask for the "Lectures, 1960s" folder from the poster collection.