Floyd McKissick

Floyd McKissick

Floyd McKissick was born in Ashville, North Carolina, on 9th March, 1922. After being educated at Atlanta's Morehouse College, he became the first African American to study at North Carolina Law School. As a student McKissick joined the NAACP and the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE).

During the Second World War McKissick joined the United States Army and served in Europe where he reached the rank of sergeant. On his return to the United States McKissick continued to work with CORE and in 1947 took part in its first freedom riders.

McKissick established a law practice in Durham, North Carolina and in 1960 joined with local African American students in the campaign against segregated lunch counters.

In January 1966, McKissick replaced James Farmer as national director of Congress of Racial Equality. McKissick, now a supporter of Black Power, turned CORE into a more radical organization. This resulted in some moderates leaving the organization. Until he left in 1968, McKissick increasingly directed CORE's attention to the problems of the black ghetto.

For the next few years McKissick concentrated on developing Soul City, a model town and industrial project in rural North Carolina. The project was taken over by the federal government in June 1980.

Floyd McKissick was working as a pastor of Soul City's First Baptist Church when he died on 28th April, 1991.

Primary Sources

(1) Floyd McKissick, Programs for Black Power (1968)

We should remember that the Black Power Movement attempts to secure power for Black Americans in six specific areas; in other words, it seeks to achieve power for Black people in six different ways; These are: (1) The growth of Black political power. (2) The building of Black economic power. (3) The improvement of the self-image of Black people. (4) The development of Black leadership. (5) The attainment of Federal law enforcement. (6) The mobilization of Black consumer power.

It is incontrovertible that these important ideals must pass beyond mere rhetoric. Programs must be initiated and relentlessly pursued in order to develop the wide organizational base necessary to achieve our ultimate goal of equality in American life.