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Eulogy

By Marion Barry Jr.

TIME magazine

Kwame Ture was my friend for 40 years. The thing that touched me most about him was that he loved his black people. He was deeply committed to their plight and worked all his 57 years to improve conditions for African Americans. One of his greatest contributions was the 1966 wake-up call to black Americans, saying that they are "a mighty people" who can and must determine and define their own destiny. As young men, Kwame--then known as Stokely Carmichael--and I worked together in the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. We honestly felt that we could topple the racism and segregation that had stifled--and continues to stifle--the aspirations of generations of African Americans. I learned much from Kwame about courage, commitment, strategy and being uncompromising in the pursuit of revolutionary social change.

I believe that Kwame was a man ahead of his time. That's why he was so impatient with those who did not share his vision. Most activists eventually hung up their swords and shields; Kwame, however, never changed. He was the fighter, the rebel, the person storming the battlements, until the end. While we will greatly miss our fallen warrior, his legacy will be eternal.

--By Marion Barry Jr., Mayor of Washington

MORE TIME STORIES:

Cover Date: November 30, 1998

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