|Comrades, on May 25th, Sundiata Acoli walked out of prison into the arms of his family and loved ones! We knew this day was coming but wanted to ensure it was official and that we saw it with our own eyes. As you can imagine, after 49 years, Sundiata is finally able to spend time with his family and we want to make sure we respect these precious moments. To that end, we will be asking our supporters to hold off on requesting meetings with him until he can get settled and his family can love up on him by themselves. We’ll announce an official homecoming celebration in the coming weeks.|
In prison, there’s no 401k, no savings plan, and no pension. It’s up to all of us to provide that. We ask for your generous support to allow Sundiata to enjoy his years of freedom with the financial stability he deserves.
All donations received will go to Sundiata’s family to care for him.
Tag: Black Panther Party (BPP)/ Black Liberation Army (BLA)
After almost 50 years, former Black Panther Sundiata Acoli to be released from prison
Sundiata Acoli, a former Black Panther member who was convicted of murder in 1974 and has been denied parole multiple times, will now be released from prison. The New Jersey supreme court has granted parole to Acoli, ruling that he was no longer a threat to the public.
85-year-old Acoli has been serving a life sentence for the 1973 murder of a New Jersey state trooper during a shootout in which Assata Shakur, the self-exiled aunt of Tupac Shakur, was also arrested. Shakur escaped in 1979 and fled to Cuba, where she was granted political asylum. Acoli had been eligible for parole since 1992 but had been denied so many times.
In the 1970s when the Black liberation fighters’ struggle was at its peak in the United States, it gave birth to militant groups like Philadelphia-based MOVE founded by John Africa in 1972 and the Black Panther Party founded in late October 1966 by Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale. The Black Panthers’ militant wing was called the Black Liberation Army.
Acoli, a member of the Black Liberation Army, was on May 2, 1973, driving just after midnight when a state trooper, James Harper, stopped him for a “defective taillight”. Acoli was then in the vehicle with two others — Assata Shakur and Zayd Malik Shakur — who were also members of the Black Liberation Army. Harper was joined by another trooper, Werner Foerster, at the scene. Foerster then found an ammunition magazine for an automatic pistol on Acoli. A shootout ensued; Foerster died in the process and Harper was wounded.
Assata Shakur was arrested while Zayd Malik Shakur was found dead near the car. Acoli fled but was caught some hours later. Acoli and Assata Shakur were convicted of the murder of Foerster in separate trials. Acoli said he did not remember what happened as he passed out after being hit by a bullet. In 1974, Acoli was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life with the possibility of parole after 25 years. Acoli became eligible for parole in 1992 but was not allowed to take part in his own parole hearing.
All in all, he has been denied parole eight times. His lawyer, Bruce Afran, said each time he is denied, the reason given is the same — “he hasn’t done enough psychological counseling; he doesn’t fully admit to his crime, or he hasn’t adequately apologized for it,” according to the Post. In 2014, a state appellate panel ruled that Acoli should be released, citing good behavior since 1996. The state Attorney General’s office however contested and the case was sent back to the board. Again, it denied Acoli’s request. Acoli started appealing that decision.
After being repeatedly denied parole, New Jersey’s Supreme Court has now voted 3-2 to overturn a parole board ruling, according to BBC. Acoli’s prison record has been “exemplary”, the judges said, adding that he had completed 120 courses while in prison, received positive evaluations from prison officials, and participated in counseling. The parole board had “lost sight that its mission largely was to determine the man Acoli had become”, the judges said.
Activists now hope that Acoli’s release would bring attention to other elderly members of the Black Panthers who are still imprisoned in the U.S
In major reversal, N.J. Supreme Court orders parole of man convicted of murdering state trooper in 1973
By S.P. Sullivan – May 10, 2022
New Jersey’s highest court on Tuesday ordered the parole of one of New Jersey’s most high-profile prisoners, Sundiata Acoli, the Black Liberation Army activist convicted for the 1973 murder of New Jersey State Trooper Werner Foerster.
In a narrow 3-2 vote, the state Supreme Court reversed a decision by the state parole board denying Acoli parole, ruling there was not “substantial credible evidence” to support the board’s findings that his release presented a danger to the public.
“In light of Acoli’s verbal renunciation of violence as an acceptable way to achieve social change; more than two decades infraction-free in the federal prison system; the multitude of programs and counseling sessions he completed; his honor status as an inmate; his acquisition of vocational skills; and his advanced age, it is difficult to imagine what else might have persuaded the board that Acoli did not present a substantial likelihood to reoffend,” Justice Barry Albin wrote for the majority.
The gun battle on the New Jersey Turnpike in which Foerster was killed remains one of the most infamous cases in the Garden State over the last half century and Acoli’s parole petition has been closely monitored by both the law enforcement community and a network of supporters who say Acoli has repaid his debt to society.
The state had denied parole eight times over the course of decades, finding Acoli lacked remorse for the killing because, under questioning at his last hearing, Acoli posited that Foerster could have been killed by “friendly fire” in a lengthy interview.
Acoli’s supporters said he’s an 85-year-old grandfather with dementia, a “model prisoner” who poses no risk to the public.
While he has apologized for his role in Foerster’s murder, Acoli, formerly known as Clark Edward Squire, has claimed he was grazed by a bullet and blacked out during the shootout, and couldn’t remember the exact sequence of events.
It remains an open question who actually fired upon the trooper.
Acoli was in a car with Assata Shakur, then known Joanne Chesimard, when they and another passenger, James Costen, were pulled over for a busted taillight in 1973. Somehow, the routine stop turned into a gunfight that left Costen and Foerster dead and another state trooper, James Harper, wounded.
Shakur and Acoli were both convicted for Foerster’s murder, although Shakur escaped to Cuba, where she remains one of the FBI’s most wanted fugitives to this day. Acoli, meanwhile, has served the intervening decades in prison.
“He has lived in one of the worst environments in the world for 40 years without a single offense,” Bruce Afran, a civil rights lawyer who has taken up Acoli’s cause, said during oral arguments in January.
The state Attorney General’s Office had opposed Acoli’s release, saying he has not demonstrated remorse.
“Despite him saying he’d accepted responsibility and understanding, when pushed with what happens, he goes to blaming the victims here, the officers,” assistant attorney general Stephanie Cohen said during oral arguments earlier this year.
Advocates said Acoli, who first became eligible for parole in 1993, has been repeatedly denied parole because he was convicted of murdering a state trooper, which tarred his efforts at parole.
Under the law that was in effect when Acoli was sentenced, he is technically eligible for parole, but the state parole board ruled in 2017 that he showed a lack of remorse and remained too dangerous for release.
New Jersey State Police Trooper Werner Foerster’s funeral in 1973.
“Don’t Mourn, Organize!” Defining Phenomena (Fascism) with Dhoruba Bin Wahad
Veteran of the Black Panther Party, Black Liberation Army and former Political Prisoner Dhoruba Bin Wahad was back to help interpret and properly define the moment.
Black History (Our-story): ‘Lest we forget’ by Safiya Bukhari
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)
From the sea of loss.
It is the return of the sun,
Of my exiled ones,
And for her sake and his
I shall not compromise
And to the last pulse in my veins
I shall resist,
Panther community service programs grow
by Kevin ‘Rashid’ Johnson
A key strategy of the New Afrikan Black Panther Party (NABPP), from its inception, has been to empower the oppressed communities through the creation and growth of programs that serve the needs of the communities and build them into base areas of social, political and economic revolution.
Since beginning the transition from a prison-based organization to the outside and developing its headquarters in Newark, N.J., earlier this year, the NABPP and its mass organization, the United Panther Movement (UPM), have been steadily sinking roots in the oppressed communities and developing Serve the People programs.
Empower the Block
The earliest program, called Empower the Block, has brought Panthers and volunteers out on weekends to clean up trash and educate the people on the need and their independent power to clean up their neighborhoods which the system’s so-called sanitation service refuse to serve.
No Prison Fridays
The next initiative were weekly demonstrations called No Prison Fridays, which developed in response to a prison construction project slated for Newark’s inner city.
In only a few weeks, these Panther-initiated protests grew from involving less than a dozen participants to hundreds, and forced the New Jersey governor to cancel the construction project.
Black August Barbecue
Next came the Panthers’ Black August Barbecue, where NABPP and UPM comrades served the communities wholesome meals and political education through a free public barbecue commemorating Black August on Aug. 31, 2019.
Free water distribution and protests
In the wake of the Flint water crisis, where lead-tainted water was piped into the homes of Flint, Michigan’s poor communities, a similar crisis has surfaced in Newark.
About a year ago, Newark Mayor Ras Baraka went on record with lies projected against public suspicions, that there was no lead problem in Newark’s water, which was proven false by the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC), who sued forcing the release of documents that showed lead contamination in Newark as bad or worse than in Flint.
A group called the Newark Water Commission (NWC) organized protests against the situation and the local government’s indifference and cover-ups. Several times Baraka and Public Safety Director Anthony Ambrose dismissed the protests as involving only people from outside Newark, which the Panthers openly contradicted.
On Aug. 23 the Newark water situation was protested at the MTV Video Music Awards held in Newark, where the Panthers helped mobilize hundreds of local demonstrators in collaboration with the NWC.
The Panthers then joined protests on Sept. 21 at the United Nations in New York, alongside Boriqua Resistance against the ongoing US colonization and occupation of Puerto Rico. At that demonstration the groups also called attention to the water situation in Newark.
On Oct. 3, the Panthers helped organize and joined protesters along with the NWC in disrupting Mayor Baraka’s Town Hall meeting. Chairman Shaka Sankofa Zulu of the NABPP directly confronted Public Safety Director Ambrose and was physically expelled along with other protesters by cops.
Two days later, on Oct. 5, Panthers distributed 250 free cases of water and free meals to Newark residents.
Free Food (Breakfast and Lunch) Program
But the Panthers’ most important program involves distributing free food through which it will conduct a free breakfast and lunch program. This program began Saturday, Oct. 26, 2019.
At its Oct. 26 unveiling, the program distributed over 150 bags of groceries to people from Newark’s poor communities. Each bag contained fresh meats, tuna, assorted vegetables, bread, eggs etc. Also distributed were dozens of free cases of water and a number of large cardboard boxes of assorted packaged foods.
The program, staffed by Panthers and community volunteers, will continue to occur each Saturday 10 a.m.-4 p.m., and will serve free breakfast and lunch meals.
Free Busing to Prisons
The Panthers are also in the process of launching a Free Busing to Prisons program. This will provide members of the oppressed communities, which have been so terribly impacted and destabilized by mass imprisonment, free transportation to visit loved ones frequently imprisoned far away from the communities.
The role of the NABPP and UPM is not to merely criticize this system, nor simply tell the people that they are exploited, oppressed, played against each other, have unmet needs, and are lied to and manipulated against their own best interests in a thousand ways; nor, as the many opportunists and agents of the system do, to feed them false hope, or the lie that this is the best of all possible worlds; nor that their salvation can somehow be found in the very system that creates all their problems.
Our role instead, as our unfolding programs are setting the basis for, is to serve the people and demonstrate that through their own cooperation and collective power (as opposed to the individualism and competition which the system teaches) they can solve their own problems, meet their own needs, and ultimately free themselves from this exploitative, oppressive, racist order that enables a handful of scavengers to hoard and monopolize socially produced wealth and resources while everyone else suffers.
Dare to Struggle, Dare to Win!
All Power to the People!
Send our brother some love and light: Kevin Johnson, 264847, Pendleton Correctional Facility, G-20-2C, 4490 W. Reformatory Road, Pendleton, IN 46064.
Appeals court denies Sundiata Acoli’s latest bid for parole
Sundiata Acoli, now 82, was convicted along with Joanne Chesimard in the shooting death of Trooper Werner Foerster and wounding of Trooper James Harper during a traffic stop on the New Jersey Turnpike in East Brunswick.
A three-judge appellate panel affirmed the state parole board’s denial of Acoli’s latest bid for parole, with one judge dissenting.
Formerly known as Clark Edward Squire, Acoli was sentenced in 1974 to life plus 24 to 30 years in prison for his crimes. Chesimard escaped from prison in 1979 and fled to Cuba. She remains on the FBI’s most wanted list.
Acoli was denied parole in 1994 and 2004, with the parole board citing “continued anti-social behavior” and continued denial of the evidence presented at his trial.
After a two-member parole board panel denied him again in 2010, Acoli appealed and the state appellate court ruled in 2014 that he was wrongly denied parole and ordered his release.
The state attorney general and parole board appealed that ruling to the state Supreme Court, which reversed the lower court ruling in 2016 and ordered that he receive a hearing before the full parole board.
While Acoli previously stated that he blacked out during the confrontation with the troopers because of a graze wound from a bullet and didn’t remember how Foerster died, he speculated during this new hearing that another trooper “probably” shot Foerster with a “friendly fire shot.”
Acoli and Chesimard were members of the Black Panthers and the militant Black Liberation Army at the time of the shooting.
Trooper James Harper stopped their car for a broken tail light just after midnight on May 2, 1973. Harper called Foerster for backup and Foerster discovered Acoli had a gun, according to previous reports.
During a gun battle, Chesimard shot and wounded Harper and Foerster was shot when Acoli’s gun fired during a struggle between the men. The prosecution argued that Chesimard then took Foerster’s gun and shot him twice in the head. The defense argued that Chesimard was too badly injured from her own gunshot wounds to have killed Foerster.
A third man in the car with Acoli and Chesimard, James Costan, was shot and killed at the scene.
In seeking parole, Acoli claimed he led a crime-free life for about 40 years and took “full responsibility” for Foerster’s death. The parole board didn’t buy it, though, calling it “disturbing” that he would raise the friendly fire theory — which is not supported by ballistic evidence — while also claiming he took responsibility for the crime.
The parole board found there remained a “substantial likelihood” he would commit new crimes if released from prison. His bid for parole was denied and a 15-year period of parole ineligibility was set.
In reviewing his appeal of that decision, the appellate court ruled Friday that the parole board’s decision was reasonable and supported by “substantial credible evidence.”
Appellate Judge Garry S. Rothstadt, disagreed with his colleagues’ decision. In a dissenting option, Rothstadt said Acoli had been a model prisoner for decades and that the parole denial included no evidence that he was likely to commit new crimes if released.
He said Acoli’s new speculation about how Foerster was shot doesn’t change the fact that he has expressed remorse for his part in the crime.
Acoli, one of the state’s oldest and longest-serving inmates, is currently housed at a federal prison in Maryland.
McCarthy Era Laid Groundwork for Sixties Repression
Charisse Burden Stelly, professor of Africana Studies and Political Science at Carleton College, said the long US history of red-baiting led to lethal repression of radicals in the 1960s. “When you have Black radical insurgencies like the Panther Party, there’s already a repressive apparatus in place to crush them,” said Burden-Stelly, who recently wrote an article in the Black political journal Soul on “anti-foreignness, anti-radicalism and anti-Blackness” during the McCarthy era.
Campaign to Commute Jalil Muntaqim’s Sentence to Time Served