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Mumia Abu-Jamal Remains the Voice of the Voiceless

By Abayomi Azikiwe
Editor, Pan-African News Wire
Black August Series No. 2

After 40 years of incarceration the “voice of the voiceless” remains a focus of international attention

Mumia Abu-Jamal

Mumia Abu-Jamal speaks at a memorial for Fred Hampton in Philadelphia. Source : commonnotions

During the late 1960s, Mumia Abu-Jamal became a youth activist in the city of Philadelphia where a succession of racist police chiefs engaged in widespread abuse against the African American community.

Philadelphia has a centuries-long history of African self-organization dating back to the late 18th and early 19th centuries when the Free African Society, African Methodist Episcopal Church (AME) and other institutions were formed by Richard Allen, Sarah Allen and Absalom Jones.

During mid-19th century, the Philadelphia Anti-Slavery Society provided avenues for men and women to build support for the Underground Railroad and the movement to completely eradicate involuntary servitude in the antebellum border and deep southern states. By the 1960s, the city became known as one of the first municipalities where African Americans would rise up in rebellion on the north side during the late August 1964.

Max Stanford (later known as Muhammad Ahmed), a co-founder of the Revolutionary Action Movement (RAM) in 1962, was from Philadelphia. RAM proceeded the Black Panther Party (BPP) and sought to form an alliance with Malcolm X (also known as El Hajj Malik Shabazz), a leading spokesman for the Nation of Islam and later the Organization of Afro-American Unity (OAAU). RAM advocated for the development of a revolutionary movement in the U.S. and consequently became a target of the Justice Department.

In 1969, Mumia joined the Black Panther Party at the age of 15 when the organization was deemed by the then Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) J. Edgar Hoover as the “greatest threat to national security” in the United States. The Counterintelligence Program (COINTELPRO) had a special division which was designed to monitor, disrupt, imprison and kill various leaders and members of African American organizations from the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, the BPP as well as a host of other tendencies. Documents released under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) since the mid-to-late 1970s indicate that the BPP was a principal target of the U.S. government and local police agencies.

Why was the BPP considered so dangerous by the leading law-enforcement agency inside the country? In order to provide answers to this question it must be remembered that between 1955 and 1970, the African American people led a struggle for civil rights and self-determination which impacted broad segments of the population in the U.S. helping to spawn movements within other oppressed communities.

The Black Panther Party was first formed in Lowndes County Alabama in 1965. Its origins grew out of the organizing work of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), whose field organizer, Stokely Carmichael (later known as Kwame Ture) was deployed to the area in the aftermath of the Selma to Montgomery march in late March of the same year. Working in conjunction with local activists, an independent political party was formed known as the Lowndes County Freedom Organization (LCFO). The group utilized the black panther as its symbol while rejecting both the Republican and Democratic Party. 

In subsequent months, there were other Black Panther organizations formed in several cities including Detroit, Cleveland, New York City and other urban areas. In Oakland, California during October of 1966, Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale founded the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense. 

This movement represented an emerging phase of the Black liberation struggle where there were calls for armed self-defense, mass rebellion and the political takeovers of major municipalities by those who had been excluded from the reins of official power. Thousands of African American youth flocked to the Black Panther Party viewing the organization as a symbol of uncompromising resistance to racism, national oppression and economic exploitation.

Mumia and the BPP

Although the BPP was projected in the national corporate media as gun toting militants willing to use weapons against the police when they were threatening the Party and the community, most of the work of the organization revolved around distribution of its weekly newspaper, the establishment of free breakfast programs for children, community health clinics for the people in the most oppressed areas of the African American community while building alliances with revolutionary forces among other sectors of the population including, Puerto Ricans, Mexicans, Asians, Native Americans and whites committed to fundamental change within U.S. society.

Mumia noted the diversity of programmatic work during his tenure in the BPP of the late 1960s and early 1970s in his book entitled “We Want Freedom”: “As the Breakfast program succeeded so did the Party, and its popularity fueled our growth across the country. Along with the growth of the Party came an increase in the number of community programs undertaken by the Party. By 1971, the Party had embarked on ten distinctive community programs, described by Newton as survival programs. What did he mean by this term? We called them survival programs pending revolution. They were designed to help the people survive until their consciousness is raised, which is only the first step in the revolution to produce a new America.… During a flood the raft is a life-saving device, but it is only a means of getting to higher ground. So, too, with survival programs, which are emergency services. In themselves they do not change social conditions, but they are life-saving vehicles until conditions change.” (

On December 4, 1969, the Chicago police under the aegis of the Illinois State’s Attorney Edward V. Hanrahan and the Chicago field office of the FBI, raided the residence of BPP members on the city’s west side. Two Panther leaders, Fred Hampton and Mark Clark were killed while several other occupants of the house were wounded. 

These police actions along with hundreds of other attacks on BPP chapters across the country resulted in the deaths of many Panther members and the arrests and framing of hundreds of cadres. Numerous BPP members were driven into exile as others were sentenced to long terms of imprisonment. 

The Voice of the Voiceless from the Streets to Death Row

On December 9, 1981, Mumia was arrested in Philadelphia and charged with the murder of white police officer Daniel Faulkner. He was railroaded through the courts and convicted on July 3, 1982. The following year, Mumia was sentenced to die by capital punishment. He remained on death row until 2011 after an international campaign to save his life proved successful.

However, his death sentence was commuted to life in prison without parole. Mumia and his supporters have maintained that he is not guilty of the crime of killing a police officer. 

After his sojourn in the BPP, Mumia utilized his writing and journalist skills learned in the Party to become a formidable media personality in Philadelphia. He was a fierce critic of police brutality and a defender of the revolutionary MOVE organization which emerged during the 1970s in the city. 

Mumia was a co-founder of the Philadelphia chapter of the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) in the 1970s. He worked as a radio broadcaster and writer exposing the misconduct of the police surrounding the attack on the MOVE residence in August 1978. In 1979, he interviewed reggae superstar Bob Marley when he visited Philadelphia for a concert performance.

While behind bars Mumia has become an even more prolific writer and broadcast journalist. He issues weekly commentaries through Prison Radio where he discusses a myriad of topics including African American history, international affairs, political economy, the deplorable conditions existing among the more than two million people incarcerated in the U.S. along with police misconduct. (

A renewed campaign entitled “Love Not Phear” held demonstrations around the U.S. and the world during the weekend of July 3 marking the 40th anniversary of his unjust conviction in 1982. Love Not Phear says that it is committed to the liberation of all political prisoners including Mumia Abu-Jamal.

An entry on their website emphasizes that: “The landscape has changed over the last 40 years, a time frame that also marks the years Mumia has been incarcerated. The fight for the release of political prisoners requires a recalibration in order to challenge police corruption and racism as they have evolved in this new landscape. We cannot deny the racism, corruption, and misconduct that permeated the so-called ‘Halls of Justice’ during Mumia’s arrest and unjust kangaroo court trial. The people today know the truth; commonplace bribed witnesses, suppressed evidence, biased judges, and backroom deals put Mumia behind bars.” (

Mumia through his attorneys have filed another appeal based upon evidence related to prosecutorial misconduct which has been further revealed over the last four years. The hearing will take place on October 19 in Philadelphia. Supporters of Mumia and other political prisoners will attend the hearing in this latest attempt to win the long-awaited freedom for this activist who is now 68 years old




The Nat Turner rebellion.

In 1831 a slave named Nat Turner led a rebellion in Southhampton County, Virginia. A religious leader and self-styled Baptist minister, Turner and a group of followers killed some sixty white men, women, and children on the night of August 21. Turner and 16 of his conspirators were captured and executed, but the incident continued to haunt Southern whites. Blacks were randomly killed all over Southhampton County; many were beheaded and their heads left along the roads to warn others. In the wake of the uprising planters tightened their grip on slaves and slavery. This woodcut was published in an 1831 account of the slave uprising.

To My People By Assata Shakur


Black brothers, Black sisters, i want you to know that i love you and i hope that somewhere in your hearts you have love for me. My name is Assata Shakur (slave name joanne chesimard), and i am a revolutionary. A Black revolutionary. By that i mean that i have declared war on all forces that have raped our women, castrated our men, and kept our babies empty-bellied.

I have declared war on the rich who prosper on our poverty, the politicians who lie to us with smiling faces, and all the mindless, heart-less robots who protect them and their property.

I am a Black revolutionary, and, as such, i am a victim of all the wrath, hatred, and slander that amerika is capable of. Like all other Black revolutionaries, amerika is trying to lynch me.

I am a Black revolutionary woman, and because of this i have been charged with and accused of every alleged crime in which a woman was believed to have participated. The alleged crimes in which only men were supposedly involved, i have been accused of planning. They have plastered pictures alleged to be me in post offices, airports, hotels, police cars, subways, banks, television, and newspapers. They have offered over fifty thousand dollars in rewards for my capture and they have issued orders to shoot on sight and shoot to kill.

I am a Black revolutionary, and, by definition, that makes me a part of the Black Liberation Army. The pigs have used their newspapers and TVs to paint the Black Liberation Army as vicious, brutal, mad-dog criminals. They have called us gangsters and gun molls and have compared us to such characters as john dillinger and ma barker. It should be clear, it must be clear to anyone who can think, see, or hear, that we are the victims. The victims and not the criminals.

It should also be clear to us by now who the real criminals are. Nixon and his crime partners have murdered hundreds of Third World brothers and sisters in Vietnam, Cambodia, Mozambique, Angola, and South Africa. As was proved by Watergate, the top law enforcement officials in this country are a lying bunch of criminals. The president, two attorney generals, the head of the fbi, the head of the cia, and half the white house staff have been implicated in the Watergate crimes.

They call us murderers, but we did not murder over two hundred fifty unarmed Black men, women, and children, or wound thousands of others in the riots they provoked during the sixties. The rulers of this country have always considered their property more important than our lives. They call us murderers, but we were not responsible for the twenty-eight brother inmates and nine hostages murdered at attica. They call us murderers, but we did not murder and wound over thirty unarmed Black students at Jackson State—or Southern State, either.

They call us murderers, but we did not murder Martin Luther King, Jr., Emmett Till, Medgar Evers, Malcolm X, George Jackson, Nat Turner, James Chaney, and countless others. We did not murder, by shooting in the back, sixteen-year-old Rita Lloyd, eleven-year-old Rickie Bodden, or ten-year-old Clifford Glover. They call us murderers, but we do not control or enforce a system of racism and oppression that systematically murders Black and Third World people. Although Black people supposedly comprise about fifteen percent of the total amerikkkan population, at least sixty percent of murder victims are Black. For every pig that is killed in the so-called line of duty, there are at least fifty Black people murdered by the police.

Black life expectancy is much lower than white and they do their best to kill us before we are even born. We are burned alive in fire-trap tenements. Our brothers and sisters OD daily from heroin and methadone. Our babies die from lead poisoning. Millions of Black people have died as a result of indecent medical care. This is murder. But they have got the gall to call us murderers.

They call us kidnappers, yet Brother Clark Squires (who is accused, along with me, of murdering a new jersey state trooper) was kidnapped on April z, 1969, from our Black community and held on one million dollars’ ransom in the New York Panther 21 conspiracy case. He was acquitted on May 13, 1971, along with all the others, of 156 counts of conspiracy by a jury that took less than two hours to deliberate. Brother Squires was innocent. Yet he was kidnapped from his community and family. Over two years of his life was stolen, but they call us kidnappers. We did not kidnap the thousands of Brothers and Sisters held captive in amerika’s concentration camps. Ninety percent of the prison population in this country are Black and Third World people who can afford neither bail nor lawyers.

They call us thieves and bandits. They say we steal. But it was not we who stole millions of Black people from the continent of Africa. We were robbed of our language, of our Gods, of our culture, of our human dignity, of our labor, and of our lives. They call us thieves, yet it is not

we who rip off billions of dollars every year through tax evasions, illegal price fixing, embezzlement, consumer fraud, bribes, kickbacks, and swindles. They call us bandits, yet every time most Black people pick up our paychecks we are being robbed. Every time we walk into a store in our neighborhood we are being held up. And every time we pay our rent the landlord sticks a gun into our ribs.

They call us thieves, but we did not rob and murder millions of Indians by ripping off their homeland, then call ourselves pioneers. They call us bandits, but it is not we who are robbing Africa, Asia, and Latin America of their natural resources and freedom while the people who live there are sick and starving. The rulers of this country and their flunkies have committed some of the most brutal, vicious crimes in history. They are the bandits. They are the murderers. And they should be treated as such. These maniacs are not fit to judge me, Clark, or any other Black person on trial in amerika. Black people should and, inevitably, must determine our destinies.

Every revolution in history has been accomplished by actions, al-though words are necessary. We must create shields that protect us and spears that penetrate our enemies. Black people must learn how to struggle by struggling. We must learn by our mistakes.

I want to apologize to you, my Black brothers and sisters, for being on the new jersey turnpike. I should have known better. The turnpike is a checkpoint where Black people are stopped, searched, harassed, and assaulted. Revolutionaries must never be in too much of a hurry or make careless decisions. He who runs when the sun is sleeping will stumble many times.

Every time a Black Freedom Fighter is murdered or captured, the pigs try to create the impression that they have quashed the movement, destroyed our forces, and put down the Black Revolution. The pigs also try to give the impression that five or ten guerrillas are responsible for every revolutionary action carried out in amerika. That is nonsense. That is absurd. Black revolutionaries do not drop from the moon. We are created by our conditions. Shaped by our oppression. We are being manufactured in droves in the ghetto streets, places like attica, san quentin, bedford hills, leavenworth, and sing sing. They are turning out thousands of us. Many jobless Black veterans and welfare mothers are joining our ranks. Brothers and sisters from all walks of life, who are tired of suffering passively, make up the BLA.

There is, and always will be, until every Black man, woman, and child is free, a Black Liberation Army. The main function of the Black

Liberation Army at this time is to create good examples, to struggle for Black freedom, and to prepare for the future. We must defend ourselves and let no one disrespect us. We must gain our liberation by any means necessary.

It is our duty to fight for our freedom.
It is our duty to win.
We must love each other and support each other.
We have nothing to lose but our chains


Black History (Our-story): ‘Lest we forget’ by Safiya Bukhari

Black History: ‘Lest we forget’ by Safiya Bukhari

Safiya Bukhari. Liberation News screenshot from “safiya bukhari on the black panther party & the black liberation army” Youtube video posted by Rebuild Collective.

In honor of Black History Month we republish here a commemorative article by revolutionary leader Safiya Bukhari, first published in 1981 in pamphlet form. Bukhari was a member of the Black Panther Party and the Black Liberation Army. She was a political prisoner from 1975 until 1983 minus two months when she escaped to seek medical treatment denied to her by prison authorities. 

Among other roles she served as vice-president of the Republic of New Afrika, co-founder and co-chairperson of the New York Free Mumia Coalition and the National Jericho Movement for U.S. Political Prisoners and Prisoners of War. Dubbed a “Lioness for Liberation” by Mumia Abu Jamal and a “legendary figure” by Angela Davis, Bukhari’s autobiographical “The War Before: The True Life Story of Becoming a Black Panther, Keeping the Faith in Prison & Fighting for Those Left Behind” remains essential reading

Black Seeds Introduction

Constantly people of color are confronted with the reality that death is our ever-present companion. We’ve had to live with the the conditions that make us more prone to high blood-pressure, diabetes, high infant mortality, strokes, heart attacks, etc., for so long that we see these things as part of our heritage. It has become commonplace to hear that someone known to us or related to us was killed in an argument, gambling, or trying to take someone off. Even more commonplace is our spending our lives in the living death of prison.

We’re not shocked or surprised by this. In fact we’ve become complacent with this as the status quo. We’ve begun to plod along, waiting for our number to come up. On a very real level we are the walking dead: people without a future and with an extremely chaotic past. We have been aimlessly wandering through life, purposeless, directionless–slaves to other peoples whims, ideas, and desires.

Through history, voices rose out of and above the quagmire and declared themselves men and women. HUman beings with souls, who wanted to know how it felt to be free and live outside the shadow of death. Cinque, Nat Turner, Gabriel Prosser, Harriet Tubman, Denmark Vesey–men and women who lived and died to the tune of “Oh freedom, Oh freedom, Oh freedom in my heart. Before I’d be a slave I’ll be buried in my grave and go home to my Lord and be free.”

There is no equivocation when we recall those heroes. Why? Because it’s safe to remember them. They are far removed from our day and time, so we can glory in their battles and victories vicariously with no threat to us.

While we are busy recanting the glory of our long dead heroes, new heroes are going forth into battled to carry our struggle for dignity, freedom, independence, and humanity one step closer to reality in the spirit of Claude McKay’s “If We Must Die”:

If we must die, let it not be like hogs

Hunted and penned in an inglorious spot

While round us bark the mad and hungry dogs,

Making their mock at our accursed lot.

If we must die, O let us nobly die,

So that our precious blood may not be shed

In vain; then even the monsters we defy

Shall be constrained to honor us through dead!

O kinsmen! We must meet the common foe!

Though far outnumbered let us show us brave,

And for their thousand blows deal one deathblow!

What though before us lies the open grave?

Like men we’ll face the murderous, cowardly pack,

Pressed to the wall dying, but fighting back!

The past thirty years have seen some doors crack for Blacks and other people of color in America. These changes didn’t occur in a vacuum. They were political moves in an attempt to undermine the rising tide of Black unrest and our demands for civil and human rights. No concrete changes in the very real condition of Black people occured. We’re still at the bottom of the totem pole.

With the advent of the twentieth century the Black man in American began to take a decided shift away from quiet acquiescence to our plight. We had begun, in massive numbers, to say, “No More.” Our leaders–Marcus Garvey, Elijah Muhammad, Martin Luther King Jr., and Malcolm X–articulated the determination of our people to wait no longer for the realization of people of African descent as human beings in the eyes of mankind.

The twentieth century became the time to take a stand. Four hundred years of racist oppression and economic exploitation were enough. Not one more century. Not one more generation without a collective, organized resistance. “Either.or” became the battle cry. America was put on notice: the choice is the ballot or the bullet!

Realizing that no concessions would be gained without a fight, brothers and sisters determined to lay down their very lives, if it became necessary, to achieve our freedom. The following is a chronicle of those unsung heroes who have given the only thing that was theirs to give–their lives!

A People’s War of Liberation is like the points of a starfish. When a soldier (guerilla) dies, another grows and takes his or her place in the struggle, or in the body of the army.

Here are some of those fallen:

Arthur Morris. Member of the Southern California chapter, Los Angeles Branch, of the Black Panther Party. Arthur was the first member of the Black Panther Party to die in the struggle for Black liberation. ASSASSINATED March 1968.

Bobby James Hutton. Affectionately known as Lil’ Bobby Hutton, born April 25, 1950. He was the first person to join the Black Panther Party. He joined when he was sixteen when the Party was founded in 1966. He served as finance coordinator. He was one of the Panthers arrested on May 2, 1967, at the Sacramento legislature protest where Bobby Seale read the Party’s position on self-defense for oppressed people (Executive Mandate No.1). Bobby was murdered two days after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., by dozens of Oakland police. He was unarmed, but with utmost courage, sacrificed his life so others might live. ASSASSINATED April 6, 1968.

Steve Bartholomew, twenty-one; Robert Lawrence, twenty-two; and Tommy Lewis, eighteen. They were riding in a car when they noticed they were being followed by a Los Angeles police squad car. They stopped at a gas station so that any incident could be witnessed. The squad car stopped also. As Steve was getting out of the car a volley of police gunfire killed him instantly. The Panthers returned fire and Robert was killed. Tommy died later at a Los Angeles Central Receiving Hospital from peritonitis (severe intestinal inflammation) caused by stomach wounds and loss of blood. ASSASSINATED August 25, 1968.

Nathaniel Clark. Member of the Los Angeles Branch of the Black Panther Party and a student at the University of California, Los Angeles. Killed as he slept. ASSASSINATED September 12, 1968.

Welton Armstead. Member of the Seattle, Washington Branch of the Black Panther Party and a student at the University of California, Los Angeles. Killed as he slept. ASSASSINATED October 15, 1968.

Sidney Miller. Twenty-two days after the Seattle police murdered Welton Armstead, a white Seattle businessman murdered Sidney Miller, twenty-one years old. He was shot point blank in the head as he was leaving a west Seattle grocery store. The owner said he “thought” Sidney was about to rob the store. ASSASSINATED November 7, 1968.

Frank Diggs. Los Angeles chapter, Black Panther Party, forty years old. Frank was shot to death and left in an alley on the outskirts of Los Angeles by unknown assailants. ASSASSINATED December 30, 1968.

Alprentice “Bunchy” Carter. Came from the streets of LA, where he was “the Mayor of the Ghetto.” He became the organizer and driving force for the Southern California chapter of the Black Panther Party, the first chapter of the Party outside of the Bay area. Before coming to the Party Bunchy had been a member of the Slausons, one of the largest gangs in LA. The sum total of his life experiences imbued Bunchy with a revolutionary fervor and commitment, which he expressed as follows:

Black Mother, I must confess that I still breathe

Though you are not yet free….

For a slave of natural death who dies

Can’t balance out two dead flies.

I’d rather live without the shame

A bullet lodges within my brain

If I were not to reach my goal

Let bleeding cancer torment my soul.

Bunchy was shot from behind and killed on the steps of UCLA while organizing and educating Black students around self-determination and student control of the Black student unions in preparation for community control. Though the fingers that pulled the trigger on Bunchy were members of Ron Karenga’s US organization, in the final analysis, Bunchy’s death is the responsibility of the racist American government. ASSASSINATED January 17, 1969.

John Jerome Huggins. Born in New Haven, Connecticut. John and his wife Ericka, became members of the Southern California chapter of the Black Panther Party soon after it’s doors opened. Together with Bunchy Carter, John, as deputy minister of information, provided the leadership needed as that chapter grew. The assassination of Bunchy and John, on the steps of UCLA, by members of the US organization was part of the COINTELPRO strategy to foment a war between the Black Panther Party and the US organization so they would kill each other off. Bunchy and John ASSASSINATED January 17, 1969.

Alex Rackley. Member of the New York chapter, Harlem Branch, of the Black Panther Party. Alex was killed by George Sams, a police agent who infiltrated the Party. He was shot through the head and heart in New Haven, Connecticut. The New Haven Police Department also had an informer on the scene at the Sams-engineered-and-ordered execution, but no effort was made to prevent it. ASSASSINATED May 21, 1969.

John Savage. In the aftermath of the assassinations of unchy and John, relationships between the Black Panther Party (BPP) and US grew increasingly tense. On Friday, May 23, 1969, John Savage and another Party member, Jeffrey Jennings, were walking toward the Party office in San Diego, California, when they met a US member named “Tambozi.” As they walked past, Tambozi grabbed John Savage by the shoulder, jammed a .38 automatic to the back of his neck and pulled the trigger. John, age twenty-four, died instantly. ASSASSINATED May 23,1969.

Sylvester Bell. Less than three months after the assassination of John Savage, US struck again. Sylvester Bell became the fourth member of the Black Panther Party murdered in cold blood by Karenga’s men. Sylvestres murder came at a time when the AL trial of US members for the assassination of Bunchy and John had just begun–an attempt to intimidate witnesses at the trial. Sylvester was thirty-four years old. ASSASSINATED August 15, 1969.

Larry Roberson. On the morning of July 14, 1969, Larry Roberson, twenty years old, and Grady “Slim” Moore, members of the Chicago Branch of the Black Panther Party, noticed police harassing a group of elderly Black men, forcing them to line up aga wall, and they went to investigate. An argument ensued and without hesitation the police pulled their guns and started shooting. Larry was critically wounded in his stomach, thigh, and leg. (Grady Moore escaped uninjured.)

Larry managed to wound two of his assailants. He was taken to Cook County Hospital and placed under police guard. He was harassed, threatened, and periodically beatend. He died in the hospital. Because Larry placed himself between the oppressor and his people without thought for his own life, Fred Hampton said, “Larry Roberson was too revolutionary proletarian intoxicated to be astronomically intimidated.” ASSASSINATED September 4, 1969.

Walter “Toure” Pope. As soon as he was released by the California Youth Authority from Tracy, California, Walter joined the Black Panther Party. Toure, twenty years old, was singled out for constant harassment y the Los Angeles Police department because of his effectiveness as distribution manager of the Black Panther Community News Service in Southern California. In three months he increased the circulation from fifteen hundred a week to over seven thousand a week. Walter was brutally gunned down in broad daylight as he left a store where he had just dropped off some newspapers. According to eyewitness reports, the police suddenly came upon him and opened fire. Toure never had a chance. ASSASSINATED October 18, 1969.

Spurgeon Winters. “Jake” was an honor student in school and a revolutionist. He worked on the Chicago chapters Breakfast Program and the free health clinic and was part of the education cadre. He was killed when one hundred policemen opened fire on him and Lance Bell, who was wounded. Three policemen were killed and seven wounded in the attack on the deserted building where the two took refuge. Jake was nineteen. ASSASSINATED November 13, 1969.

Mark Clark. Mark was a defense captain for the Peoria, Illinois, Branch of the BPP. He made frequent trips to Chicago to confer with the leadership of the Party’s chapter there in order to help him organize in downstate Peoria. Mark made one such trip in December of 1969 and stayed at Fred Hampton’s apartment. Chicago police raided Fred’s apartment on the morning of December 4, Mark was murdered by the raiders as they crashed through the apartment door. He was shot through the heart. Several other occupants were wounded by indiscriminate police gunfire. Mark Clark was twenty-two. ASSASSINATED December 4, 1969.

Fred Hampton. The name Fred Hampton has secured a permanent place in the annals of the people’s struggle, because, sadly enough, this was one of the hundreds of thousands of Black deaths American chose to publicize. A young outspoken critic of America’s treatment of Black and poor people, Fred’s dedication to the cause of freedom led him and others to organize in CHicago. The organizational and speaking abilities of Fred Hampton won for him national attention. Political persecution of Fred Hampton included numerous false arrests. He was convicted of a seventy dollar ice cream truck robbery in 1969, but community pressure forced his release. Such persecution culminated on December 4, 1969 at four o’clock in the morning, when a raiding party of Chicago police invaded Fred’s apartment and shot him several times as he slept. He was twenty-one years old. The Black community lost a beautiful warrior for human dignity, but Fred often said, “You can kill a revolutionary but you can’t kill the revolution.” ASSASSINATED December 4, 1969.

Sterling Jones. Fred Hampton and Mark Clark were only days in their graves when the Chicago Police Department struck again. On Christmas Day, Sterling Jones, seventeen, a member of the Illinois chapter, respond to a knock at his family’s apartment door. As Sterling opened the door, he was shot directly in the face by an unknown assailant. The bullet killed him and his assailant fled into the night. ASSASSINATED December 25, 1969.

Jonathan Jackson. On August 7, 1970, a young Black man entered the Marin County Courthouse in California. The events that followed came to be called the August 7 Movement. Jonathan had walked into the courthouse where San Quentin prison inmate James McClain was defending himself against charges of assaulting a prison guard. Also present were two inmates serving as witnesses on behalf of McClain. They were William Christmas and Ruchell Magee. Jonathan interrupted the court proceedings, stating, “We are revolutionary justice,” then gave weapons to McClain, Christmas, and Magee. They all left the courtroom. Several jurors, the prosecutor, and the judge were also taken. Within minutes the van that jOnathan and party had gotten into was riddled with bullets from the guns of San Quentin guards and other state gents, who disregarded the lives of not onl Jonathan Jackson and the three inmates, but also those of the jurors, judge, and prosecutor. When the shooting ended, Jonathan Jackson lay dead, as did William Christmas, James Mcclain and the Marin County judge. George Jackson summed up his brothers heroic actions in this way: “Man-child, Black man-child with a machine gun in hand, he was free for awhile. I guess that’s more than most of us can expect.”

Carl Hampton. Brother Carl was chairman (coordinator) of the People’s Party II, a revolutionary organization in Houston, Texas. Carl was the motivating force of the small organization, which followed the example and the policies of the BPP. At the time the Party was not oranizing in the South, so Carl, seeing the need for a party that would serve the people’s needs and desires, started the People’s Party, which sold the BPP newspaper. Culminating a series of incidents on July 28, 1970, Houston police surrounded the Dowling Street area where the People’s Party II office as located and attacked the entire community. Carl was killed at two a.m. in defense of the community.

Fred Bennett. Pieces of the body of Fred Bennett were found in April 1971, in a mountainous region near Oakland, California. Fred had been the coordinator of the East Oakland branch of the BPP and had been a Party member for three years, having joined in early 1968. Fred’s body was mutilated when the police claimed they “found” jim. They held onto Fred’s body without announcement for more than two months. ASSASSINATED February 1971.

Ralph Featherstone and Che Payne. Killed by a car bomb outside a Maryland courthouse where Rap brown was scheduled for a hearing. ASSASSINATED March 9, 1970.

Babatunde X Omarwali. A member of the Illinois chapter of the BPP, Babatunde was a sining example of our many revolutionary brothers who have turned from being used as Black cannon fodder by the US military to become dedicated soldiers in service to the oppressed community as Black liberation fighters. Babatunde joined the Party in Chicago after serving two years in the US army, and he quickly became one of the Party’s best organizers. In the summer of 1970, he had just returned to Chicago from the Cairo-Carbondale area, after organizing a National Committee to Combat Fascism (NCCF) office there. On July 27, twenty-six-year-old Babatunde’s remains were “found” lying across railroad tracks in a deserted area of the city by Chicago police. They claimed that Babatunde had been attempting to destroy the tracks and that the bomb went off prematurely killing him. Although mutilated beyond recognition, the body of “Black Panther Babatunde X Omarwali” was positively identified by the Chicago police. They could do so because it was the police themselves who murdered him and laced his body on the railroad tracks. ASSASSINATED July 27, 1970.

Robert Webb. Deputy minister of defense of the BPP. Spent years organizing coast to coast, building the discipline and security of the Party and community in preparation for liberation. When it became apparent that there were corrupt forces operating within the BPP, Robert took a stand for principles first. That stand was to bring about his death on March 8, 1971.

Sam Napier. Circulation manager, BPP. Lived and breathed the Black Panther newspaper. He would constantly intone, “Circulated to educate to liberate.” Sam was another casualty of the internal split of the BPP. Fanon talked of the contradictions in Wretched of the Earth when he referred to colonial war and mental disorders. Oftentimes we lose sight of who our real enemies are and give ben to our emotional responses. In the deaths of Robert Webb and Sam Napier, the people’s liberation struggle lost two of it’s staunchest supporters. Psychologically, COINTELPRO scored a bull’s eye. Sam died April 17, 1971.

George Jackson. George Jackson spent the last eleven years of his life behind prison walls, seven of them in solitary confinement. During his imprisonment, George attained an extraordinary level of revolutionary political consciousness. He was appointed field marshal of the Black Panther Party. He was an eloquent writer. He authored two important books: Soledad Brother and Blood in My Eye. The latter was completed shortly before his assassination. On August 21, 1971, nameless guards of California’s San Quentin prison assassinated George Jackson. They said he was trying to escape, but the brothers inside said that George gave his lie to save the lives of others. The people of the oppressed communities of the world know that the San Quentin prison officials carried out a premeditated plan to silence a voice that was so full of revolutionary humanism they could no longer bear it.

Harold Russell. The first Black Liberation Army member to be slain. The BLA–the people’s liberation army–boldly declared themselves to be soldiers fighting against the oppressive regime of the US government. Harold was killed in a shootout on 122nd Street between Seventh and Eighth Avenues in Harlem, New York. Prior to becoming a member of the BLA, Harold had been a member of the Brooklyn Branch of the BPP. SLAIN IN COMBAT spring 1971.

Sandra Pratt. Wife of Geronimo. Known as Red to her comrades and friends. The death of Sandra was especially heartfelt because of its senselessness, beastality, and brutality. The sister was pregnant with new lifeblood for the people’s struggle. The reactionary forces that slew the sister mutilated her and placed her body in a mattress cover and dumped her in an intersection in Los Angeles. ASSASSINATED fall 1971.

Frank Fields. Known to his comrades as Heavy, a member of the Olugbala tribe of the BLA. Open war had been declared between the US government and the BLA. Frank was killed i one of the FBI’s search-and-destroy missions in Florida. SLAIN IN COMBAT December 31, 1971.

Ronald Carter. The response of the government to the BLA was to close ranks and consolidate their fores. For the first time they realized that every act of aggression they launched upon the Black community would be met with an act of revolutionary justice. He FBI launched a nationwide manhunt for BLA soldiers and ordered them killed on sight. Ronald was killed in one of these confrontations in St. Louis, Missouri. SLAIN IN COMBAT February 15, 1972.

Joseph Waddell. Joseph Waddell, or “Joe-Dell,” joined the BPP in September 1970 while in the city jail in High Point, North Carolina. Before going to jail, he had functioned as a community worker. Joe-Dell was transferred to Central prison in Raleigh, North Carolina, and because of his revolutionary posture, he was frequently beaten by prison guards. On June 13, 1972, twenty-one-year-old Joseph Waddell was pronounced dead by prison officials. They said the cause of death was a heart attack. Joe-Dell was physically healthy before his death and had never suffered from heart troubles before. Prison inmates close to Joe-Dell said he was the victim of the prison authorities, who had probably drugged or poisoned him to induce the attack. Joe-Dell’ internal organs were removed by prison authorities before they released his body to his family.

Anthony White. Known affectionately and in struggle as Kimu Olugbala. Kimu had been captured and seriously injured in the process, but his spirit had not been broken. While incarcerated at the infamous Tombs (the Manhattan House of Detention for Men) in New york he escaped to rejoin his comrades in struggle. On Monday, January 22, 1973, Kimu was killed in a shootout with New York police, choosing death over slavery. SLAIN IN COMBAT January 22, 1973.

Woodie Greene. Known in the struggle as Changa Olugbala. All we need to know about Brother Woodie is that he was a warrior in the people’s army. He was a young man who’d once been bound and gagged and caged in the white man’s zoos (jails), and had vowed never to return. He was slain in the same shootout that same the death of Kimu. SLAIN IN COMBATE January 22, 1973.

Mark Essex. Mark became involved in the struggle for Black liberation while still within the US military apparatus. He served as a dental technician in the navy. Upon his release his first stop was at the Harlem office of the BPP. he wanted to learn as much as possible to take home with him to Emporia. Kansas. Mark died valiantly holding off enemy forces in Louisiana. SLAIN IN COMBAT spring 1973.

Zayd Malik Shakur. Known as Dedane Olugbala, Zayd was the minister of information of the New York Black Panther Party. He spent months and years educating the people to what must be done to secure our freedom and liberation. On May 2, Zayd died the way he lived–in combat, resisting the forces of oppression. He was skilled in a shootout on the New Jersey Turnpike, in which Assata Shakur and Sundiata Acoli were captured. Zayd was a soldier in the people’s liberation army. SLAIN IN COMBAT May 2, 1973.

Twymon Myers. “The elusive Twymon Myers” is what he came to be known as–to the oppressors. To the people he was friend, comrade, and defender. Twymon was no superstar; he just did what had to be done and faded into the night. He cared about everyone, especially the children. He believed that the only way to achieve freedom was to be willing to fight and die for it. If it wasn’t worth fighting for, it wasn’t worth having and you didn’t really want it. On November 14, 1973, a combined force of New York police and FBI agents surrounded Twymon on a Bronx street and opened fire. Eight bullets riddled his body. As he lay dead a police officer stood over him and shot him again in the head. The police rallied in front of the Forty-fourth precinct in celebration. Twymon Myers was a warrior we can all be proud of. SLAIN IN COMBAT November 14, 1973.

Alfred Butler. Known in struggle as Kombozi Amistad. Became a member of the BPP in his youth and functioned out of the New Rochelle, New York, office. Kombozi later transferred to the West Coast from whence he went underground to carry the struggle to the next level–the armed struggle–as a member of the BLA. It was in his capacity as a soldier in this formation that he was SLAIN IN COMBAT in Norfolk, Virginia, January 25, 1975.

Timothy Adams. Known to his comrades in arms, friends, and family as Red. Red was critically wounded in a battle with the enemy after attempting to liberate fellow comrades from the infamous Tombs in 1973. For many years he was confined to a wheelchair as a result of these wounds, but his spirit was undaunted. Even though his death came years after the battle, it was directly related. His life, his struggle to overcome, and his death, were a source of inspiration to us all.

Melvin Kearney. Known in struggle as Rema Olugbala, he was a member of the BLA. Rema was killed in a courageous attempt to escape from the Brooklyn House of Detention, when the rope he was climbing down broke. He was twenty-two years old. Even against the overwhelming odds posed by prison officials, Rema never lost his combative spirit. DIED IN COMBAT May 25, 1976.

To Martyr Rema Olugbala, BLA

I make love at a fraction of an inch

Outside my window bars

I make love with freedom

And she invites me to be with her

And she’s right outside my window bars

My love is great

I cherish her

And she’s right outside my window bars

I dance with death

But y mind is set..


We’re going to get it on a fraction of an inch

Outside my window bars

I love you, freedom

I dance with death.

John Clark. Andaliwa was a thirty-year-old Back revolutionary who gave his life in an attempt to escape to freedom. He died in a shootout between prisoners and guards inside Trenton state prison in New Jersey. In that shootout, three guards were injured. John carried on the struggle behind the walls. SLAIN IN COMBAT January 19, 1976.

Mtayari Shabaka Sundiata (Samuel Smith). Became a citizen of record in the Republic of New Afrika in 1968. Mtayari worked among the youth in the Ocean Hill-Brownsville section of Brooklyn. In 1970 he was incarcerated as the result of a shootout with the police. Upon his release, he joined the ranks of the bA. It was in this capacity as a people’s warrior that he was SLAIN IN COMBAT October 23, 1981.

To those of us who have dedicated our lives to the liberation of Black people, who have dared to say, “We shall have our freedom or the Earth will be leveled by our attempts to gain it,” death is a common occurrence. It is something we had to accept, for we knew that in waging struggle to free ourselves from the chains of slavery our choices were small–either to be jailed, or assassinated–but we had nothing to lose and everything to gain.

We know that where there is struggle there’s sacrifice. The death of our comrades was a sacrifice, for our struggle some deaths are lighter than a feather and others are as weight as a mountain. Everyone one of these deaths is weighty as mountains, for these comrades not only practiced the principles of revolutionary warfare, they taught others to do the same. In their lives and in their deaths they said:

I may–if you wish–lose my livelihood

I may sell my shirt and bed,

I may work as a stone cutter,

A street sweeper, a porter.

I may clean your stores

Or rummage your garbage for food.

I may lay down hungry

O enemy of the sun,


I shall not compromise

Anf to the last pulse in my veins

I shall resist.

You may take the last strip of my land,

Feed my youth to prison cells.

You may plunder my heritage

You may burn my books, my poems,

Or feed my flesh to the dogs.

You may spread a web of terror

On the roofs of my village,

O enemy of the sun,


I shall not compromise

And to the last pulse in my veins

I shall resist.

You may put out the light in my eyes.

You may deprive me of my mother’s kisses.

You may curse my father, my people.

You may distort my history,

Ou may deorive my children of a smile

And of life’s necessities.

You may fool my friends with a borrowed face.

You may build walls of hatred around me.

You may glue my eyes to humiliations,

O enemy of the sun.


I shall not compromise

And to the last pulse in my veins

I shall resist.

O enemy of the sun

The decorations are raised at the port

The ejaculations fill the air,

A glow in the hearts,

And in the horizon

A sail is seen

Challenging the wind

And the depths

It is Field Marshal Dedan Kamathi (Mau Mau)

Returning home

From the sea of loss.

It is the return of the sun,

Of my exiled ones,

And for her sake and his

I swear

I shall not compromise

And to the last pulse in my veins

I shall resist,

Resist–and resist.


Move 9 member Delbert Orr Africa freed after 42 years in prison

Delbert Orr Africa with his daughter after his release from prison. Only one of the nine, Chuck Africa, remains behind bars.
 Delbert Orr Africa with his daughter after his release from prison. Only one of the nine, Chuck Africa, remains behind bars. Photograph: Brad Thomson

One of the great open wounds of the 1970s black liberation struggle came closer to being healed on Saturday with the release of Delbert Orr Africa, a member of the Move 9 group who has been imprisoned for 42 years for a crime he says he did not commit.

Del Africa walked free from Pennsylvania’s state correctional institution, Dallas, on Saturday morning after a long struggle to convince parole authorities to release him. He is the eighth of the nine Move members – five men and four women – to be released or to have died while in prison.

Only one of the nine, Chuck Africa, remains behind bars.

The nine were arrested and sentenced to 30 years to life following a dramatic police siege of their communal home in Philadelphia which culminated with a shootout on 8 August 1978. In the maelstrom a police officer, James Ramp, was killed with a single bullet. Move has always denied that any of its members were responsible.

Brad Thomson, a member of Del Africa’s legal team, said the decision to release him on parole “affirms what the movement to free the Move 9 has been arguing for decades: that their continued incarceration is unjust”.

Delbert Orr Africa upon his release.
 Delbert Orr Africa upon his release. Photograph: Brad Thomson

Thomson added: “With the release of Delbert, that leaves Charles ‘Chuck’ Africa as the last member of the Move 9 to still be in prison. Chuck went before the parole board last month and we are optimistic that he will be released in the very near future.”

The Guardian told the story of Del Africa and his fellow Move 9 member Janine Phillips Africa in a series of articles on black radicals who have been incarcerated for decades as a result of their activities in the 1960s, 70s and 80s.

Move was formed in Philadelphia as a group of black radicals committed not only to the liberation from racial oppression, in tune with the Black Panther party of the time, but also to environmentalist and back-to-nature ideals. They lived, as they still do today, as a family, taking “Africa” as their shared last name.

Over two years, from prison, Del Africa related his story to the Guardian in emails and a three-hour interview. He recounted how he became engaged in the black struggle when a girlfriend introduced him to the Black Panther Party in Chicago in the late 1960s.

Later, he moved to Philadelphia and drifted into Move. He was inside the Move house in Powelton Village in the summer of 1978 when it came under police siege.

The city, under a notoriously brutal mayor, Frank Rizzo, wanted to evict the group on the grounds that they were a nuisance and an affront to public decency.

When the shootout broke out, police went in with guns and water cannon. Del Africa provided one of the astonishing images of the black liberation struggle when he emerged from the house with his arms outstretched, as if on the cross, while a police officer jabbed a rifle in his neck.

Video footage shows two officers throwing him to the ground and kicking him on the head, which bounces between them like a ball.

Members of move in front of their house in Philadelphia in 1977.
 Members of move in front of their house in Philadelphia in 1977. Photograph: Leif Skoogfors/Corbis via Getty Images

Africa described the event: “A cop hit me with his helmet. Smashed my eye. Another cop swung his shotgun and broke my jaw. I went down, and after that I don’t remember anything till I came to and a dude was dragging me by my hair and cops started kicking me in the head.”

For six years of his incarceration, Delbert Africa was put in an infamous solitary confinement wing known by prisoners as the “dungeon”. His isolation was imposed because he refused to have his dreadlocks cut – part of the Move philosophy.

He recalled in Guardian interviews how he survived in solitary confinement by developing a black history quiz with other prisoners, which they would play by tapping out messages. Other prisoners joined the game, which asked questions like: when was the Brown v Board of Education ruling in the US supreme court? What year was the Black Panther party founded? Who was Dred Scott? For what is John Brown remembered?

In 1985, when Del Africa had been in prison for almost seven years, tragedy struck again. He learned that Philadelphia police had conducted a second siege on the Move communal home, which was now located in Osage Avenue.

On this occasion, the police dropped an incendiary bomb from a helicopter. The bomb ignited a fire that spread through the overwhelmingly African American neighborhood.

City leaders allowed the fire to rage. Sixty-one houses were razed and 11 people in the Move house were killed, including five children. One of the survivors, Ramona Africa, was badly burned. She was duly put on trial and sentenced to seven years in prison.

One of the children who died was Delisha, Del Africa’s 13-year-old daughter. He told the Guardian how he responded to the news that she had been killed in an inferno: “I just cried. I wanted to strike out. I wanted to wreak as much havoc as I could until they put me down. That anger, it brought such a feeling of helplessness. Like, dang! What to do now? Dark times.”

With the 35th anniversary of the bombing approaching in May, Del Africa is free. At the end of the Guardian’s interview with him, he described how he had managed to endure four decades behind bars.

“I keep staying on the move. Stagnation is the worst thing. I’m on the move, and I hope you are too,” he said.

“We’ve suffered the worst that this system can throw at us – decades of imprisonment, loss of loved ones. So we know we are strong. For all of that, we are still here and I look on that with pride.”



Restrictions on First Amendment speech rights warrant congressional investigation – later for impeachment

Ruchell Cinque Magee, gravely wounded, was the sole survivor of the Marin Courthouse Slave Rebellion on Aug. 7, 1970, led by George Jackson’s little brother Jonathan. That incident is still, a lifetime later, the Parole Board’s excuse for denying him parole, even despite a jury acquittal decades ago. He’s almost 81. Give him freedom for his birthday.

by Ruchell Cinque Magee

According to the Democrats, considerable efforts are being made to commence an impeachment inquiry against Donald Trump because Trump told the government in Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden’s son.

The same Democrats – mainly Joe Biden – supported Jim Crow restrictions in the Antiterrorist Act that was put in the law books by Bill Clinton in 1996, which told corrupted judges to deny indigent prisoners access to court. This act amounts to TREASON against the United States Constitution, making the First Amendment a deception.

According to federal law governing the writ of habeas corpus, no government restrictions may be allowed regarding the filing by people complaining of illegal government restraints.

The Supreme Court in 1963 made a decision entitled Fay vs. Noia (372 U.S. 391, 83 S. Ct. 822, 9 L. Ed. 2d 837), which upheld 200 years of no restrictions on habeas corpus filing.

Why? Because the lack of restrictions impeached those arguments in favor of keeping indigent people in prison on false convictions, once judged criminal or slave. However, since a war was building in Arab country – killings on both sides – the word TERRORIST has become the foundation for White Supremacy to make its move against peoples of color in the name of protecting the public. Meaning, there existed no one to publicly remind the American people that the Jim Crow device would encourage the poison growth of White Supremacy covering up its mob trial frameups.

Legal or political arguments today against endless miscarriage of justice in government frameups brought to public attention will remove all restrictions on the First Amendment, giving back the protective writ of habeas corpus as a fundamental right.

Denial of access to court to people who have been wronged by society shows clearly that actual prejudice exists. Judges ignoring the fact are equally guilty as the politicians who put that garbage in the law books.

A very long time being denied access to court without being able to raise my voice against a political frameup is worse than doing time in solitary confinement!

A lawsuit pending in federal court shows that the jurors on my state trial presented their acquittal. It asks for an injunction to stop the use of all government restrictions in violation of the double jeopardy clause of the United States Constitution’s Fifth and 14th Amendments.

The lawsuit is entitled Ruchell Cinque Magee vs. Steven Arkowitz et al. (2:19-cv-00172) before the U.S. District Court, Eastern District, at Sacramento, California.

Ruchell Cinque Magee – Art: Kiilu Nyasha

The suit asks a constitutional question that judges fear to answer in public: “May the Parole Board agencies conceal the acquittal reflected in the record without violating the Fifth Amendment prohibition against double jeopardy prosecution?”

New evidence of the jury’s acquittal is reflected in documented declarations, in particular the one dated October 2010, notary stamped: “During deliberations, which commenced March 26, 1973, all 12 jurors agreed that the defendant was not guilty of violating Penal Code 209, Kidnaping for Purposes of Extortion.”

Publicly acknowledged by Donald Trump or his administration, the federal judge presiding would ignore the Democrats’ tainted gag restrictions and honor the acquittal and respect the constitutional law against the corruption complained of. People reading this information may ask: “Why did judges fail to correct the injustice shown to the court?”

My experience with judges leads me to believe that the politicians, Democrats and Republicans, joined White Supremacy organizations in developing and enforcing a duel set of social, economic and political realities, including reactionary dynamics designed to subject the indigent class to slave conditions in ways that our lives do not matter where certain reactionary groups want to play God above the people and above the law.

These corrupted judges, appointed by politicians, focus too much on the Jim Crow restrictions or loopholes upon changing issues showing false convictions that led to unlawful imprisonment and were never allowed to be corrected. How could the Democrats be more concerned with another European government having been told to investigate Biden’s son than in protecting the American people from slavery or terrorism so inhumane it amounts to a death sentence?

Mouthing off in the news about Democrats being better or Republicans being better at making progress or change never justifies the inhuman treatment of the indigent human beings.

The lawsuit shows facts supported by documents that this writer has been in the California state prison system since 1963 on false convictions. That is irrefutable.

When do the voters become aware enough to ask the presidential candidates what about the endless wait for justice by those with wrongful convictions? Like their slave institutions, the prisons, they have no respect for the law.

False convictions leading to imprisonment prove to be a transportation of slavery. Left uncorrected while mouthing off about insignificant facts takes the country into the direction of barbarism.

The political mentality of Democrats and Republicans is deeply institutionalized. It cannot protect what’s under the slave code. The Lincoln administration warned the public that those scared of the rights of life and liberty would come to destroy the Writ of Habeas Corpus, but they would be caught and exposed by those not scared of freedom.

The Jim Crow device represents a white supremacy apartheid where the Constitution applied deception such as a Jim Crow curfew on the indigent subjected to slave labor.

Impeachment of Trump will change nothing.   People fed up with damn drunks’ rejecting to think for ourselves will be the ones who bring about change for the better. Voting for the Democrat or Republican outfit to lead will change nothing, will not bring peace to the American hemisphere. Corruption in government as it stands today, the American people are better off not engaging in the presidential election.

Politicians close to the impeachment investigation are aided and abetted by reactionary groups who are hostile to the written Constitution. Any voters showing belief or trust in Republicans or Democrats have a train of misery to catch on its way to hell, with no possibility of parole.

Not knowing your enemy can become a death sentence. Knowing your enemy, but singled out for retribution, can also be fatal – a matter of life imprisonment or death – where there’s a lack of outside support to get your message to public.

Jury acquittal publicly acknowledged will compel the judicial system to honor the process guaranteed by written constitutional laws. The acquittal honored will cause wider investigation into police frameups as far back as 1955. Slave practicing – under color of justice.

Bill Clinton and Joe Biden will have to tell the public what they were thinking white supremacy style when they put restrictions in the law books that would be used by corrupt judges to deny people their right of access to court while committing assault on the jury system, including the prisoners caught up in the slave operation atmosphere.

Readers concerned may convey to community advocate Kim Kardashian that I have been trying to reach her regarding the public acknowledging the acquittal and showing the federal court.

I remain,

Brother Ruchell Cinque Magee

Send our brother some love and light: Ruchell Cinque Magee, A-92051, B3-278, P.O. Box 8101, San Luis Obispo, CA 93409. Ruchell is the longest held political prisoner in the world, facing every day the wrath and revenge of state and federal authorities for being the sole survivor of the Marin Courthouse Slave Rebellion led by George Jackson’s younger brother Jonathan, then 17, on Aug. 7, 1970, that ended with the deaths of the judge and the other rebels, Jonathan Jackson, James McClain and William Christmas. (Read more at

Over the decades, Ruchell has told the story of the jury acquittal that should have released him, hoping to find the words that will move someone who can help him win freedom. He is not the only political prisoner in the U.S. tells all their stories. Those imprisoned during the Black Panther era are getting old. Don’t let them die in prison! Free ‘em all!

Following is perhaps the last article written by beloved Panther veteran and revolutionary journalist Kiilu Nyasha, a strong supporter of Ruchell. It was published under the headline “Ruchell Magee, longest held political prisoner in the world, heads to parole hearing” on March 2, 2018. Kiilu joined the ancestors on April 10, 2018.

Kiilu Nyasha 1939-2018

Legendary activist Kiilu Nyasha asks you to join her in demanding freedom for Ruchell Cinque Magee

by Kiilu Nyasha

When you read this letter, please know and understand the following facts:

Ruchell is now 78 [now 80 in 2019] years old and will turn [81] in March. I have no trouble recalling his age; he’s just two months older than I.

He’s eligible for parole for several reasons, the most obvious of which is the federal three-judge order to release elderly prisoners to reduce the prison population that he points to in the letter. He also notes he’s (probably) the longest-held political prisoner in the world – 54 years!

I met Ruchell Cinque Magee 47 years ago in the holding cell of the Marin County Courthouse in the summer of 1971. Ru was soft-spoken, warm and gentlemanly in typically Southern tradition.

Originally from Franklinton, La., he was falsely charged with “attempted rape” for being with a White girl in KKK territory. He was 16 and sentenced to the infamous Angola State Prison.

On release eight years later, he was banished from the small town of his birth and forced to move to L.A. An only child, his mother died while he was incarcerated and – on information and belief – her house was confiscated, depriving Ru of his inheritance.

I had just returned to California from New Haven, Conn. Already familiar with courtroom injustice, racism and bias against Black defendants witnessed in two capital trials, it didn’t come as a surprise that Ruchell was getting a raw deal in the Marin Courtroom where he was frequently removed for outbursts of sheer frustration.

Ruchell took on the name Cinque after trying to escape his illegal incarceration of seven years – seven years in slavery. An African slave, Cinque, escaped the slave ship Amistad and established the right to escape slavery in Connecticut. In Ru’s own words, “Slavery 400 years ago, slavery today – it’s the same but with a new name.”

When the 17-year-old Jonathan Jackson invaded the Marin Courtroom Aug, 7, 1970, armed to the teeth, Ruchell seized the hour to join the rebellion with William Christmas and James McClain, on trial for assaulting a guard in the wake of the murder of Fred Billingsley, another murder of a Black prisoner. All were shot and killed except Ru, who suffered a serious wound and lay unconscious. For more information on Ruchell and Black August, you can access my blogspot,

Please take the time to write letters to the governor, legislators, lots of editors and online publications, and spread it all over social media. Fifty-four years in prison is outrageous! Let our brother live out his life in relative freedom for goodness sake. As far as I know, Ruchell has never physically assaulted anyone. He is truly a political prisoner.


Mumia Abu-Jamal: A Redux

As he completes his magnum opus trilogy on the American empire, Abu-Jamal revisits two of his books

We Want Freedom: A Life in the Black Panther Party. New Edition.
Mumia Abu-Jamal.
Brooklyn, New York: Common Notions. 296 pp. $20.

Commentary by Todd Steven Burroughs

On this Wednesday night commemorating the 50th anniversary of Panther blood spilledMumia Abu-Jamal awaits the spring publication of the third and final volume of Murder Incorporated: Empire, Genocide, Manifest Destiny. Meanwhile, he thinks and writes new thoughts about old works. Both reissued books–originally published in 1996 and 2004, respectively–are only considered “new” if the author’s new introductions are included.

But there are still spaces between the bars, an image behind the glass. And so….

In the 2020 Death Blossoms, 2020 Abu-Jamal writes: “It has been many long years and almost ten books since I lived in the crisp white pages of Death Blossoms. Around that time, I had come within thirteen days of an execution date, and would soon be given another exact date to die.” Abu-Jamal was still Live From Death Row back then, an outlaw journalist forbidden to use a typewriter. “I handwrote the pages of this book on three-ring-binder paper….” He did so after meeting members of the Bruderhof, the name for an alternative community in Pennsylvania.  The MOVE Organization supporter discovered distant, white cousins of a sort: “I found them intriguing. We conversed together about ideas, and out of those conversations—and the sense that I might soon be killed by the state—grew Death Blossoms.” He talks about how although there is still darkness on the Row, he sees a ray of light from young activists who “have already run repressive district attorneys out of office in half a dozen cities across America.” He mentions that this is the book’s “third life,” which shows its staying power as a kind of Black radical spiritual reader.

In the 2016 issue of We Want Freedom, the author—who, as a teenage Panther 50 years ago this month, spoke at a Fred Hampton memorial in Philadelphia—roll calls as Donald Trump prepares to escort Barack Obama out of the White House. “We Want Freedom’s republication comes at a time that can only be considered serendipitous: the era of Black (and multi-toned) outrage at the brutality of the State. Ferguson was smoldering. Then Cleveland. Staten Island. The Bronx. Chicago. Baton Rouge. Falcon Heights. I thought of sisters and brothers now gone from us, soldiers of the Black revolution, like Zayid Malik Shakur; Safiya Bukfhari; Dr. Huey P. Newton, Fred Hampton….the list goes on. How would they have interpreted –and responded to—this ‘new’ age of protest to attacks on Black life? They would have perhaps started by pointing out how old this legacy of protest and resistance is.” The surviving Panther reminds the reader that “Black rebellion has deep roots in American soil; its seeds have now sprouted across the centuries.”

We now wait for Abu-Jamal—champion of anti-colonial words for a half-century, from young-and-fiery Black Panther newspaper agit-prop correspondent to the powerful, senior heir to multiple lettered legacies, containing the insights of Howard Zinn merged with the ideological clarity of George Jackson—to finish a Black radical intellectual journey a lifetime in the making, to add his name to the Black revolutionary roll call as subject and narrator, to have a permanent corner shelf devoted to him, but one buried deep in dark libraries, invisible to all but the most agitated.



Mumia Abu-Jamal: A Redux

Healing & Justice: A Fundraiser feat. Holistic Treatments

We are pleased to announce the first Philadelphia-based Healing & Justice benefit event: a day of rejuvenation and inspiration in honor of Dr. Mutulu Shakur!

Saturday, December 7th  –  1-6pm

Six Fishes Neighborhood Acupuncture  –  2308 Grays Ferry Ave

Study, fast, train, fight: The roots of Black August

Study, fast, train, fight: The roots of Black August

George Jackson

This article originally appeared on Liberation School

Exactly 400 years ago, in August 1619, enslaved Africans touched foot in the first permanent English settlement in what is now the United States for the first time. The centuries since have seen the development of a racial system more violent, extractive, and deeply entrenched than any other in human history. Yet where there is oppression, there is also resistance. Since 1619, Black radicals and revolutionaries have taken bold collective action in pursuit of their freedom, threatening the fragile foundations of exploitation upon which the United States is built. These heroic struggles have won tremendous victories, but they have also produced martyrs—heroes who have been imprisoned and killed because of their efforts to transform society.

“Black August” is honored every year to commemorate the fallen freedom fighters of the Black Liberation Movement, to call for the release of political prisoners in the United States, to condemn the oppressive conditions of U.S. prisons, and to emphasize the continued importance of the Black Liberation struggle. Observers of Black August commit to higher levels of discipline throughout the month. This can include fasting from food and drink, frequent physical exercise and political study, and engagement in political struggle. In short, the principles of Black August are: “study, fast, train, fight.”

George Jackson and the origins of Black August

George Jackson was a Field Marshal of the Black Panther Party while he was incarcerated in San Quentin Prison in California. Jackson was an influential revolutionary and his assassinations at the hands of a San Quentin prison guard was one of the primary catalysts for the inception of Black August.

A 19-year-old convicted of armed robbery, in 1961 George Jackson was sentenced to a prison term of “1-to-life,” meaning prison administrators had complete and arbitrary control over the length of his sentence. He never lived outside of a prison again, spending the next 11 years locked up (seven and a half years of those in solitary confinement). In those 11 years—despite living in an environment of extreme racism, repression, and state control—George Jackson’s political fire was ignited, and he became an inspiration to the other revolutionaries of his generation.

Jackson was first exposed to radical politics by fellow inmate W.L. Nolen. With Nolen’s guidance, Jackson studied the works of many revolutionaries, including Karl Marx, V.I. Lenin, Mao Tse-Tung, and Frantz Fanon. Nolen, Jackson, and other prisoners dedicated themselves to raising political consciousness among the prisoners and to organizing their peers in the California prison system. They led study sessions on radical philosophy and convened groups like the Third World Coalition and started the San Quentin Prison chapter of the Black Panther Party. Jackson even published two widely read books while incarcerated: Soledad Brother and Blood in My Eye.

Unfortunately, if predictably, these radical organizers soon found themselves in the cross-hairs of the California prison establishment. In 1970, W.L. Nolen—who had been transferred to Soledad prison and planned to file a lawsuit against its superintendent—was assassinated by a prison guard. Days later, George Jackson (also now in Soledad Prison) and fellow radical prisoners Fleeta Drumgo and John Clutchette were accused of killing a different prison guard in retaliation for Nolen’s death. The three were put on trial and became known as the Soledad Brothers.

That year, when it was clear that George Jackson would likely never be released from prison, his 17-year-old brother Jonathan Jackson staged an armed attack on the Marin County Courthouse to demand the Soledad Brothers’ immediate release. Jonathan Jackson enlisted the help of three additional prisoners—James McClain, William Christmas, and Ruchell Magee—during the offensive. Jonathan Jackson, McClain, and Christmas were all killed, while Magee was shot and re-arrested. Ruchell Magee, now 80 years old, is currently one of the longest held political prisoners in the world.

On August 21, 1971, just over a year after the courthouse incident, a prison guard assassinated George Jackson. The facts regarding his death are disputed. Prison authorities alleged that Jackson smuggled a gun into the prison and was killed while attempting to escape. On the other hand, literary giant James Baldwin wrote, “no Black person will ever believe that George Jackson died the way they tell us he did.”

While the particular circumstances of Jackson’s death will likely forever remain contested, two facts are clear: his death was ultimately a political assassination, and his revolutionary imprint can’t be extinguished. Through the efforts and sacrifice of George and Jonathan Jackson, Nolen, McClain, Christmas, Magee and countless other revolutionaries, the 1970s became a decade of widespread organizing and political struggle within prisons. Prisoners demanded an end to racist and violent treatment at the hands of prison guards, better living conditions, and increased access to education and adequate medical care. Tactics in these campaigns included lawsuits, strikes, and mass rebellions. The most notable example may be the Attica Prison rebellion, which occurred in New York State just weeks after George Jackson was murdered. In protest of the dehumanizing conditions they were subjected to, about 1,500 Attica Prison inmates released a manifesto with their demands and seized control of the prison for four days, beginning on September 9, 1971. Under orders from Governor Nelson Rockefeller, law enforcement authorities stormed Attica on September 12 and killed at least 29 incarcerated individuals. None of the prisoners had guns.

This is the context out of which Black August was born in 1979. It was first celebrated in California’s San Quentin prison, where George Jackson, W.L. Nolen, James McClain, Willam Christmas and Ruchell Magee were all once held. The first Black August commemorated the previous decade of courageous prison struggle, as well as the centuries of Black resistance that preceded and accompanied it.

Political prisoners and the prison struggle

Observers of Black August call for the immediate release of all political prisoners in the United States. That the US government even holds political prisoners is a fact they attempt to obscure and deny. In reality, dozens of radicals from organizations such as the Black Panther Party, the Black Liberation Army, the American Indian Movement, and MOVE have been imprisoned for decades as a result of their political activity. As Angela Davis, who was at one time the most high profile political prisoner in the US, explains:

“There is a distinct and qualitative difference between one breaking a law for one’s own individual self-interest and violating it in the interests of a class of people whose oppression is expressed either directly or indirectly through that particular law. The former might be called criminal (though in many instances he is a victim), but the latter, as a reformist or revolutionary, is interested in universal social change. Captured, he or she is a political prisoner… In this country, however, where the special category of political prisoners is not officially acknowledged, the political prisoner inevitably stands trial for a specific criminal offense, not for a political act… In all instances, however, the political prisoner has violated the unwritten law which prohibits disturbances and upheavals in the status quo of exploitation and racism.”

Prisons in the United States are a form of social control which serve to maintain the status quo of oppression. Over the last few decades, prisons have become an increasingly important tool for the US ruling class. Prisons not only quarantine revolutionaries, but also those segments of the population who have become increasingly expendable to the capitalist system as globalized production, deindustrialization, and technological automation decrease the overall need for labor-power. These shifts, which began in earnest in the 1970s, have hit Black, Latino, and Indigenous communities the hardest, as exemplified by the sky high unemployment and incarceration rates those communities face. These groups are also historically the most prone to rebellion. Angela Davis noted in 1971 that as a result of these trends, “prisoners—especially Blacks, Chicanos and Puerto Ricans—are increasingly advancing the proposition that they are political prisoners. They contend that they are political prisoners in the sense that they are largely the victims of an oppressive politico-economic order.”

Though that definition of political prisoner is unorthodox, it illustrates the political and economic nature of criminalization. This is why observers of Black August connect the fight to free “revolutionary” political prisoners to the broader struggle against US prisons. Mass incarceration is a symptom of the same system that political prisoners have dedicated their lives towards fighting.

As increasing numbers of the US working class are “lumpenized,” or pushed out of the formal economy and stable employment, the potential significance of political struggle among the unemployed and incarcerated increases. George Jackson wrote in Blood in My Eye that “prisoners must be reached and made to understand that they are victims of social injustice. This is my task working from within. The sheer numbers of the prisoner class and the terms of their existence make them a mighty reservoir of revolutionary potential.”

George Jackson’s own journey is a perfect example of that revolutionary potential. Jackson didn’t arrive in prison a ready-made revolutionary. He had a history of petty crime and was apolitical during his first years in prison. He would have been dismissed by many people in our society as a “thug.” But comrades who knew that he held the potential inherent in every human being found him and took him in. They helped him understand his personal experiences within the context of capitalism and white supremacy. In turn, George Jackson dedicated his life to doing the same for others incarcerated individuals.

Black August today

August, more than any other month, has historically carried the weight of the Black Liberation struggle. Of course, enslaved Africans were first brought to British North America in August 1619. Just over 200 years later, in August 1831, Nat Turner led the most well-known rebellion of enslaved people in US history. This historical significance carried into the 20th century, when both the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom and the Watts Rebellion—an explosive uprising against racist policing in Los Angeles—occurred in August during the 1960s.

Even today, the month remains significant in the struggle. John Crawford, Michael Brown, and Korryn Gaines were three Black Americans who were murdered in high-profile cases of police brutality; Crawford and Brown in August 2014, and Gaines in August 2016. Their deaths have been part of the impetus for a revived national movement against racist police brutality. Finally, on August 27, 2018, the 47 year anniversary of George Jackson’s death, thousands of U.S. prisoners launched a national prison strike. They engaged in work stoppages, hunger strikes, and other forms of protests. The strike lasted until September 9, 47 years after the Attica Prison Uprising began. Like the Attica prisoners, the 2018 prison strike organizers put forth a comprehensive list of demands that exposed the oppression inherent to the U.S. prison system, and laid out a framework to improve their conditions.

Each of these historical and contemporary events reveal a truth that the Black radical tradition has always recognized: there can be no freedom for the masses of Black people within the white supremacist capitalist system. The fight for liberation is just that: a fight. Since its inception in San Quentin, Black August has been an indispensable part of that fight.

In the current political moment, when some misleaders would have us bury the radical nature of Black resistance and instead prop up reformist politics that glorify celebrity, wealth, and assimilation into the capitalist system, Black August is as important as ever. It connects Black people to our history and serves as a reminder that our liberation doesn’t lie in the hands of Black billionaires, Black police officers, or Black Democratic Party officials. Those “Black faces in high places” simply place a friendly face on the system that oppresses the masses of Black people in the United States and around the world, often distorting symbols of Black resistance along the way. Black liberation lies, as it always has, in the hands of the conscious and organized masses. Study, train, fight, and in the words of George Jackson, “discover your humanity and your love of revolution.”




Publishing As Political Action: The Enduring Influence Of The Black Panther Party Newspaper

Via the National Archives UK

Publishing has long played a major part in empowering and organizing the Black community. The newspaper for the Black Panthers was no expectation. The Black Panther newspaper debuted in Oakland 1967, which was actually the first year of the Party. It started out as a four-page, hand-typed newsletter. It was put together with an IBM typewriter, Elmer’s glue, and a copy machine.

“Its first edition announced a community meeting and featured an article about Denzil Dowell, who was killed by an officer of the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Department,” Cross Cut reported.

As the party grew so did the paper.

“Within a year, its distribution was over 250,000, and it continued to publish through the ’70s. The paper served as the Party’s ideological mouthpiece, chronicling police brutality, championing liberation struggles around the world, and connecting 48 Party chapters in 30 major cities,” the Columbia Journalism Review reported. The paper had dispatched from all over the world — Oakland, New York, Algeria, New Zealand, among other places. At its peak, from 1968 to 1971, The Black Panther was the country’s most-read Black newspaper.

The newspaper was sold by the party’s members and was also a source of financial empowerment for them. Each issue sold for 25 cents; sellers kept 10 cents.

“Selling papers was an everyday responsibility for almost all Panthers,” Elmer Dixon, who with his brother Aaron co-founded the Seattle chapter of the Black Panther Party for Self Defense, told Cross Cut. “It was very important to keep the information flowing out into the community.”

The paper was also a way for the party to recruit new members as well as spread the Party’s message. All members were required to read the newspaper.

“Black Panthers selling papers on the corner made you think that there’s a bunch of people who believe in this other way,” Stanley Nelson, director of a documentary film on the group, “Vanguard of the Revolution,” told The Columbia Journalism Review.

Oakland member Billy X Jennings used to sell the newspaper and has now become the de-facto historian and archivist of the Black Panther Party. Jennings, who started developing his Black Panther newspaper archive for a 30-year reunion of former Party members, currently hosts an online collectionof Black Panther newspapers and maintains a physical archive of newspapers at his home in Sacramento.

The newspaper was much more than a tool for the party and its message. It told the story of Black people and people of color, not just from the U.S. but from around the world.

“The Black Panther’s voice stood out: the paper regularly featured fiery rhetoric, called out racist organizations, and was unabashed in its disdain for the existing political system…it became well known for its bold cover art: woodcut-style images of protestors, armed Panthers, and police depicted as bloodied pigs,” The Columbia Journalism Review reported.

The paper would run stories about police brutality and social justice for a radical Black audience from around the county. It ran speeches by Eldridge Cleaver, editorial cartoons and art by Emory Douglas, and contributions from Panthers and supporters from across the country. Each issue also included the Party’s manifesto, the 10 Point Program.

“The paper reported on key events affecting the Party and the Black community, such as the eight-month trial of the Panther 21, a group of 21 members accused of conspiracy to attack a New York City police station and an education office; the raid and murder of Fred Hampton, a popular Panther leader in Chicago; and the Tuskegee Syphilis Study. It also covered other resistance movements and activism in the Bay Area, most notably the case of Los Siete, a Chicano group framed for the murder of a San Francisco police officer,” The Columbia Journalism Review reported.

The Black Panther ran an impressive international section that reported on liberation struggles around the world; under editor in chief David DuBois (stepson of W.E.B. DuBois).

It also wasn’t afraid to tackle problems within the party, such as sexism.

As the party’s membership fade, the paper eventually folded in 1980.

AFRICAN HISTORY@africanarchives

At 16, Yvette Stevens joined the Black Panther Party. She was responsible selling the Black Panther newspaper as well as helping start the free breakfast program for children. You might know her by another name: CHAKA KHAN! ‘

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