On October 29, 1966 a rally was held in UC Berkeley's Greek Theatre. The rally was billed as promoting "Black Power"There were several speakers, but the main attraction was Stokely Carmichael. Carmichael had been a rising star in the firmament of black civil rights leaders. Stokely Carmichael was the brilliant and impatient young civil rights leader who, in the 1960s, popularized the phrase "black power." Carmichael was initially an acolyte of the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. and his philosophy of nonviolent protest. Carmichael became a leader in the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), but was radicalized when he saw peaceful protestors brutalized in the South.
In the mid 1960s, Carmichael challenged the civil rights leadership by rejecting integration and calling on blacks to oust whites from the freedom movement. Following his arrest during a 1966 protest march in Mississippi, Carmichael angrily demanded a change in the rhetoric and strategy of the civil rights movement. "We've been saying 'Freedom' for six years," Carmichael said. "What we are going to start saying now is 'Black Power.'"1