Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : March 15th 2015 Contents Trinidad-born American Civil
Rights organiser Stokely
Carmichael had a feeling that 1965
would be a watershed year in the
American Civil Rights Movement,
and he probably even suspected
that it would be an event like
Bloody Sunday that would finally
get the feeling of injustice to sink
in to the American conscience. It
didn t take long for Carmichael s
hunch to be right.
On March 7, 1965, Dr Martin
Luther King Jr and members of the
Southern Christian Leadership Con-
ference (SCLC) led a civil rights
march in Selma, Alabama. The local
law enforcement officers did their
best to stop the march, beating black
people with batons and spraying tear
gas as they tried to cross the Edmund
Pettus Bridge over the Alabama River
on their march to Montgomery.
About 50 people ended up in the
This year marked the 50th
anniversary of that day known as
Bloody Sunday, making the month
of March one of the reasons why
the Sunday Arts Section (SAS) Book
Club is featuring Stokely: A Life, the
biography of Carmichael written by
historian and university professor,
Peniel E Joseph.
Bloody Sunday thrust Carmichael
into the international spotlight.
Before that fateful day on March 7,
Carmichael s involvement in organ-
ising voter registration through the
Student Non-violent Co-ordinating
Committee (SNCC) gained notoriety,
but it was his presence related to
Bloody Sunday that changed the
course of his career as a civil rights
organiser who concentrated on voter
Carmichael arrived in Selma by
charter flight from Atlanta on March
7, and he quickly made waves.
"During a 3 am meeting with King
and his trusted second-in-command
man, Ralph Abernathy, Carmichael
urged SCLC staff to defy an injunc-
tion prohibiting marching," writes
"Staff who had privately chided
Sunday s march as showboating now
supported (the upcoming) Tuesday s
efforts as a defiant stand against
fear.... Carmichael marched at the
head of the line with King on (that)
Tuesday. Stokely, in jeans, work
boots, and a hooded overcoat, was
impassively smoking. It would be
the last time that Carmichael par-
ticipated in a demonstration of this
scale in virtual anonymity."
Carmichael brought his own per-
sonality to the Civil Rights Move-
ment, bridging the enormous gap,
in many ways, between Martin
Luther King and Malcolm X.
Stokely Standiford Churchill
Carmichael was born on June 29,
1941. His family lived at 54 Oxford
Street, Port-of-Spain. His father, a
master carpenter, had roots in Bar-
bados; his mother was born in the
US Canal Zone in Panama. His
maternal grandmother came from
Montserrat and his maternal grand-
father came from Antigua. His pater-
nal grandmother was from Tobago.
This Pan-Caribbean background,
Joseph argues, made Stokely
Carmichael "a citizen of the world
for the rest of his life." That is how,
Joseph argues, Carmichael could feel
at home in Port-of-Spain; the Bronx;
Harlem; Washington, DC; Missis-
sippi; Alabama; and Conakry in
Carmichael lived in Trinidad dur-
ing British colonialism and he
attended Tranquillity Boys Inter-
mediate School where he received a
solid British colonial education. As
a child he suffered from asthma but
had a doting paternal grandmother
who cared for him, especially after
his mother, who did not appreciate
the extended family relationship typ-
ical of Trini homes, migrated to New
By 1946, both of his parents lived
in New York. Stokely Carmichael
would remain in Trinidad for five
more years. He would not see his
parents again until he was almost
11, and then his life would change
forever. ---Debbie Jacob
Note: A t ou tok y
C r t r
to ur , u
tok y C r t ook
u u t t
k o t t rt u r
March 15, 2015 www.guardian.co.tt Sunday Guardian
A review by
Martina is a bright, 11-year-old Jamaican girl who passes
for a "prestige" secondary school. She goes behind her mother s
back to choose a school that only upper class students normally
get selected for. This does not impress her practical mother
who can only study where she will get the money to support
Martina s academic dreams. On top of all the turmoil, Martina
is about to find out how different life can be on the other side
Inner City Girl by Colleen Smith-Dennis explores the social
hierarchy of Caribbean schools, capturing the tension between
social classes as it plays out in a child s world. It also shows
the conflicts and misunderstandings that arise when children
become more educated than their parents.
Martina s struggle with her mother is not one that we would
associate with educated parents. Her mother does not understand
Martina s desire to go to a prestige school when there are schools
closer to the place where they live. She does not understand
Martina s pensive personality or Martina s penchant for reading.
Her mother views Martina s quietness as gloominess, which
she attributes to reading too many books.
We like to think of education as a means of propelling us
to a lofty position in life, but Martina soon discovers that she
has two battles to face: the ones in the poor area where she
lives and the ones in her new school where children can be a
crueler version of adults when it comes to accepting people
who have overstepped social boundaries.
Soon Martina must navigate her way through lecherous men
who prey on young girls in her neighbourhood, a class bully
nicknamed Stone Cold who runs a gang of four and the mean-
spirited children of her school with their petty sense of class.
Martina must keep her mind on her subjects as well as hiding
Inner City Girl is a sobering look at how prejudice and class
consciousness develop in children as well as how it festers and
grows into adulthood. It is a vivid portrait of the bullying that
takes place in school; the violence that often defines the social
networks in schools; and the development of fierce, unhealthy
Those problems even spill over out of school. Martina witnesses
a good dose of school-related violence and chaos on the bus
that she now gets to ride to school.
The juxtaposition of Martina s poor neighbourhood with the
affluent school creates an eerily ironic contrast where some
warm and endearing aspects of Martina s tough neighbourhood
like Reggae Friday are contrasted with the cold, austere and
impersonal atmosphere of the upper class school.
As Martina grows up and moves up in school she faces a
life-threatening situation that creates a nail-biting, riveting
read. Equally important is her developing relationship with her
mother. Her father has a presence in the story even though he
is missing from her life.
Inner City Girl, a Young Adult novel, won the third prize in
the 2014 Burt Awards for Caribbean Literature, and was nom-
inated for the 2011 Impac Dublin Literary Award. Inner City
Girl was originally published by LMH in Jamaica.
It has undoubtedly been rewarded for its frank look at the
challenges and conflicts children face in both the transition to
their teens and those turbulent teenage years themselves. At
a time when many children take their education for granted,
Inner City Girl is a refreshing, serious and important look at
the true meaning of education and family.
You can find Inner City Girl in most local bookstores.
Debbie Jacob o t ury o t 2 15 Burt A r or
C r t r tur .
t or t 2 15
Burt A r or C r
t r tur r
C r o t r y
B k , uy
( u r t to
y Coz r, &
( - u ook)
y o , &
( u r t to
r y r to t ot tor
y u ko ,
( u r t to
o C t r y
C u y,
( u r t to
t r t
y ury t r y
t Bo t t
u o r t r ,
u tor , t r y
x rt .
to $22, CA r z
o y r to
u to t r r , o
o y 1, ur t 2 15
C Bo t t.
A rt o t r z , t
o or C ur
u r t
C r u r.
BURT AWARD FINALISTS
1. t o you t k ou
o t ot out
tok y C r or
ur ' t ty r ?
2. o o you t k r
t ty ou
t r t ork t
C t o t?
3. o o you t k tok y
C r or ur '
r root ou
r t o t t
r root , A r -A r
ork t C
t or r?
Next week: o tok y
C r r t
t r ork
t t t ty t t
ort t C
t or r.
Class conflicts hit
A citizen of the world
Inner City Girl
u Co, 2
Links Archive March 14th 2015 March 16th 2015 Navigation Previous Page Next Page