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Tricontinental Routes of Solidarity: Stokely Carmichael in Cuba

  • Author(s): Seidman, Sarah
  • et al.
Abstract

Stokely Carmichael’s visit to Cuba for three weeks in the summer of 1967 illustrates a convergence in the transnational routes of the African American freedom struggle and the Cuban Revolution. African American activists saw Cuba as a model for resisting US power, eradicating racism, and enacting societal change, while the Cuban government considered African Americans allies against US imperialism and advocates of Cuba’s antiracist stance. Amidst racial violence in the United States and Cuba’s efforts to inspire revolution, Carmichael’s presence at the Organization of Latin American Solidarity conference in Havana—and in particular his interactions with Fidel Castro—caused ripples worldwide. A shared “tricontinental” vision that promoted unity in the Global South against imperialism, capitalism, and racism facilitated Carmichael’s solidarity with Castro. Yet divergent views on the role of race in fighting oppression limited their solidarity. Carmichael and Castro’s spectacular alliance demonstrated their personal affinity and ideological commonalities but did not result in an institutional alliance between the black liberation movement and the Cuban state. Instead Carmichael’s connection with the Cuban Revolution left an underexplored legacy. Examining Carmichael’s visit to Cuba illustrates the possibilities and pitfalls of transnational solidarity and furthers our understanding of postwar struggles for change.

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