Design a site like this with
Get started

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



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. 

July4 for Mumia Abu-Jamal


Saturday, July 4 2PM
1401 JFK Blvd



Support Sundiata Acoli Legal Appeal

Fundraiser to Free Political Prisoner
Sundiata Acoli, 83, from 47 Years in Prison

Dear Friends and Supporters of Sundiata Acoli:

The New Jersey Appellate Court denied Sundiata’s release on parole in a decision dated Dec. 27, 2019. He gets a mandatory appeal to the New Jersey Supreme Court.

Sundiata’s attorney must get transcripts and will have other expenses, including printing, and of course his legal fees, as he prepares the next phase of this case. A minimum amount of $20,000 is the fundraising goal. His attorney needs funds now. He has done a great job so far on behalf of Sundiata, and no doubt will continue to do so.

Please give generously to ensure that lack of funds does not contribute to any delay in pursuing freedom for Sundiata, who is 83 years old and has been in prison for 47 years.

Sundiata deeply appreciates the support, and commitment to getting him released. Much thanks in advance, on his behalf.


Make checks or money orders payable to Sundiata Acoli Freedom Campaign (or SAFC). Mail them to: Florence Morgan, 147-25 Northern Blvd. #5Q, Flushing, New York 11354.

Or, if paying via Pay Pal, use this email:

And use this Pay Pal link to pay using the “pay with debit or credit card” option:

Be safe, healthy, and be encouraged.

Attorney Florence Morgan can be reached at

Editor’s note: In addition to your monetary donation, send our brother some love and light: Sundiata Acoli (Squire), 39794-066, FCI Cumberland. P.O. Box 1000, Cumberland MD 21501.

URGENT Week of Action for Dr. Mutulu Shakur

Join the URGENT WEEK OF ACTION February 21st-28th!

Day 1: Friday, February 21st

* Send cards and letters of love, support and healing energy to Mutulu! Given his medical situation, Mutulu may not be able to respond, but he appreciates mail. Send printed articles and/or tell him what you are doing in your community. Show the Bureau of Prisons a flood of support for him, so they know people are watching!

Dr. Mutulu Shakur #83205-012
FMC Lexington
P.O. Box 14500
Lexington, KY 40412


Day 2: Monday, February 24th

* Post your strong support for compassionate release for Dr. Shakur on social media! Use hashtags #MutuluisWelcomeHere, #FreeDrShakur, #StraightAhead and tag us on:

Twitter – @freedrmshakur

Instagram – @freedrmshakur

Facebook – Join the ‘FreeMutuluShakur’ group, create a post, & share it on your timeline


Day 3: Tuesday, February 25th

* Urge your member of Congress to sign a letter supporting Dr. Shakur’s compassionate release for humanitarian reasons. For routing to your Representative, go to Most Members of Congress provide email contact information on their websites. For telephone contact information, call the U.S. Capitol switchboard, (202) 224-3121. Please use the cover letter, compassionate release support request flyer, and sample letter below to ask them for a letter of support to send to Dr. Shakur’s attorney:

Brad Thomson, Attorney
People’s Law Office
1180 N. Milwaukee
Chicago, IL 60642

Cover Letter for Requests to Support Compassionate Release
The Compassionate Release Support Request
Sample Letter to Edit in Writer’s Own Words 


Day 4: Wednesday, February 26th

* Sign and share the petition for compassionate release for Mutulu!


Day 5: Thursday, February 27th

* Donate whatever amount you can for family visits, medical records analyses and experts, legal visits.

Please send financial donations to Family and Friends of Dr. Mutulu Shakur on Paypal.




Who Really Killed Malcolm X?

Fifty-five years later, the case may be reopened.
Malcolm X was assassinated at the Audubon Ballroom on Feb. 21, 1965.

Credit…Bettmann Archive, via Getty Images

For more than half a century, scholars have maintained that prosecutors convicted the wrong men in the assassination of Malcolm X.

Now, 55 years after that bloody afternoon in February 1965, the Manhattan district attorney’s office is reviewing whether to reinvestigate the murder.

Some new evidence comes from a six-part documentary called “Who Killed Malcolm X?,” streaming on Netflix Feb. 7, which posits that two of the men convicted could not have been at the scene that day.

Instead it points the finger at four members of a Nation of Islam mosque in Newark, N.J., depicting their involvement as an open secret in their city. One even appeared in a 2010 campaign ad for then-Newark mayor Cory Booker.

“What got us hooked,” said Rachel Dretzin, a director of the documentary along with Phil Bertelsen, “was the notion that the likely shotgun assassin of Malcolm X was living in plain sight in Newark, and that many people knew of his involvement, and he was uninvestigated, unprosecuted, unquestioned.”

Malcolm X on June 29, 1963.
Credit…Bettmann Archive, via Getty Images

The case has long tempted scholars, who see a conspiracy hidden in unreleased government documents. A detective on the case, Anthony V. Bouza, wrote flatly a few years ago, “The investigation was botched.”

Yet it has never sparked the widespread obsessive interest of the Kennedy assassination or the equally brazen killing of Tupac Shakur. Attempts to reopen the case — to uncover the possible roles of the F.B.I., New York Police Department and the Nation of Islam leadership, including Louis Farrakhan — have gotten nowhere.

“The vast majority of white opinion at that time was that this was black-on-black crime, and maybe black-extremist-on-black-extremist crime,” said David Garrow, a Pulitzer Prize-winning civil rights historian. “And there was for decades a consensus in black communities that we are not going to pick up that rock to see what’s underneath it.”


At the time Malcolm spoke at the Audubon Ballroom on Feb. 21, 1965, he was a marked man — spied on by the F.B.I. and the police, denounced as a traitor by the Nation leadership, viscerally hated and beloved. Mr. Farrakhan declared him “worthy of death.” A week before his assassination, his home in Queens was firebombed while he and his wife and four daughters slept inside.

A week before the assassination, Malcolm X’s home in Queens was firebombed.
Credit…Stanley Wolfson/World Telegram & Sun, via Library of Congress

Seconds after Malcolm stepped to the lectern, gunfire rang out, then pandemonium.

Talmadge Hayer, a member of the Nation of Islam from a New Jersey mosque, was arrested fleeing the ballroom, with a clip from a handgun used in the killing. Later the police arrested two men from Malcolm’s former Harlem mosque, Norman 3X Butler and Thomas 15X Johnson, both known as enforcers.

At trial, Mr. Hayer, who later became Mujahid Abdul Halim, admitted his guilt but said the other two men were innocent. All three men were convicted and received life sentences. Mr. Johnson, who became Khalil Islam, died in 2009; Mr. Butler, who is now Muhammad Abdul Aziz, was granted parole in 1985 and still maintains his innocence.

In the late 1970s, Mr. Halim filed affidavits naming four members of the Newark mosque as his partners in the crime. The civil rights lawyer William Kunstler moved to reopen the case but was denied.

Since then, the legwork has fallen to biographers and independent researchers, including a Washington, D.C., tour guide named Abdur-Rahman Muhammad, the central figure in the new documentary series.

“It bothered me that no one cared about it,” Mr. Muhammad said. “I didn’t get paid to do any of this. I’ve sold cars. I’m just a working-class guy.”

Mr. Muhammad in 2010 uncovered the identity of one of the supposed assassins named in Mr. Hayer’s affidavit, William Bradley, who had changed his name to Almustafa Shabazz and was married to a prominent Newark activist. It was Mr. Bradley’s shotgun blast, researchers contend, that killed Malcolm.

Mr. Shabazz, who died in 2018, denied any involvement in the murder, and lived in plain sight. “I knew him well,” Cory Booker says in the documentary, adding that he was not aware of Mr. Shabazz’s past identity.

Almustafa Shabazz, who died in 2018, lived in Newark. 
Credit…Luiz C. Ribeiro

Mr. Muhammad published Mr. Shabazz’s name and photograph on his blog in 2010, and then shared his research with Manning Marable, who was working on his Pulitzer Prize-winning biography, “Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention.” Mr. Muhammad believes that the other three men named in Mr. Hayer’s affidavits are dead.

After the book came out, Alvin Sykes, a Kansas City activist who helped persuade the F.B.I. and Justice Department to create a cold case unit for civil rights-era killings, lobbied federal prosecutors to reinvestigate Malcolm’s murder. The department declined. When Mr. Shabazz died, the last remaining loose end was Mr. Aziz, the former Norman 3X Butler, now 81, who served 20 years for a crime he insists he did not commit.

Lawyers for Mr. Aziz now hope the Manhattan district attorney will clear his name. A spokesman for Cyrus R. Vance Jr., the D.A., said in a statement that the preliminary review “will inform the office regarding what further investigative steps may be undertaken.” One of the prosecutors conducting the review, Peter Casolaro, played a vital role in throwing out the convictions of the five men wrongfully imprisoned for raping a jogger in Central Park in 1989.


Mr.Aziz, who declined an interview request, has said he could not have been at the Audubon that day because security would have blocked his entry, and that anyway, he was nearly immobile from a police beating a short while before. In the documentary he expresses little hope for the process. “I just don’t believe in these people,” he says. “I got 20 years of my life to show that I shouldn’t believe in them.”

Muhammad Abdul Aziz, left, with Abdur-Rahman Muhammad. Mr. Aziz was was granted parole in 1985. He still maintains his innocence.
Credit…Ark Media

Not all are convinced. Karl Evanzz, author of “The Judas Factor: The Plot to Kill Malcolm X,” cited film footage that he said shows Mr. Aziz at the Audubon, and dismissed Mr. Muhammad’s research as unreliable.

David Shanies, who with the Innocence Project is representing Mr. Aziz, said only that the lawyers looked forward to working cooperatively with prosecutors “to see that justice is done.” Their case includes F.B.I. documents that were never shared with local police or prosecutors. Barry Scheck of the Innocence Project said that based on this evidence, “We are troubled that the conviction was not vacated in 1978,” when Mr. Hayer filed his affidavits.

If the district attorney stands by the conviction, the lawyers can move to argue it in State Supreme Court.

But even if Mr. Aziz prevails, it will not settle questions about the larger forces that many think contributed to Malcolm’s death — the law enforcement agencies that spied on him but failed to protect him, the Nation leaders who called tacitly for his head. That part of the story, along with volumes of unreleased F.B.I. files, may never fully surface.

“When you’re dealing with a complex crime, and you simplify it to five members of the Nation of Islam walking into a ballroom, you don’t give people the context they need,” said Zak Kondo, author of “Conspiracys: Unravelling the Assassination of Malcolm X.”

“A whole generation went to their graves knowing important information that people like me will never know,” he said. “That’s the most frustrating part.”

New Netflix Documentary Avoids the Why in Favor of the “Who Killed Malcolm X?”

By largely ignoring questions of “why” he was killed the new Netflix documentary “Who Killed Malcolm X?” largely ignores the important politics and ideas that made Malcolm X a symbol to this day of international revolutionary struggle.



Black History Month: The Son Of A Slave Who Ran For President, George Edwin Taylor

George Edwin Taylor
Black journalist George Edwin Taylor ran for U.S. president in 1904, symbolizing the growth of political power that Black Americans acquired at the time. Image: Wikimedia/Creative Commons

Almost a century before Barack Obama made history as the first African American to become president of the United States in 2008, a Black man by the name of George Edwin Taylor set his eyes on the White House in 1904.

Born in 1857 as the son of a free woman and an African American slave, Taylor worked as a professional journalist before getting involved in politics. However, he discovered that neither the Democratic nor the Republican Party represented the interests of people of color.

1904, an all-Black independent party called The National Liberty Party nominated Taylor to run for president on a third-party ticket. Taylor’s candidacy was largely ridiculed as a joke and his name was left off the ballot in most states. Nevertheless, Theodore Roosevelt was re-elected as president. Still, Taylor’s run symbolized the growth of political power that Black Americans acquired following the Reconstruction Era.

According to, a few days after the election, Taylor explained in a newspaper interview why he decided to launch a presidential campaign.

“Yes, I know most white folks take me as a joke … but I want to tell you the colored man is beginning to see a lot of things that the white folks do not give him credit for seeing. He’s beginning to see that he has got to take care of his own interests, and what’s more, that he has the power to do it,” he told the paper.

Eight years later, Taylor moved to Jacksonville, Florida, in late 1912 and worked as the manager of the Promotion Publishing Co., which printed a newspaper aimed at the city’s Black residents. Records also show that he worked as the editor of the “colored section” of the “Florida Times-Union” and later for the “Florida Sentinel”, a progressive newspaper. He died in 1925. Forty-seven years later, congresswoman Shirley Chisholm launched a presidential campaign under the Democratic ticket, becoming the first African American candidate for a major party.



M.K. Asante’s While Black

                                                                                     by   Junious Ricardo Stanton
            M.K. Asante is the son of a scholar, academician, professor and his father Molefi Kete Asante is the founder of the Afrocentric movement. M.K. is just as gifted and talented as his father. He too is a scholar, academician and teacher but he’s added filmmaking, producing, being an author and a recording artist to his repertoire. The Philadelphia native now teaches at Morgan State University and in 2017 was appointed to Distinguished Professor-in-Residence at the  MICA (Institute of Strategic Marketing and Communication) in India.
            M.K. was in town along with his son Ion to speak at this father’s Institute for Afrocentric Studies located at 5535 Germantown Avenue in the Germantown section of Philadelphia. He came home to share information about his docuseries on SnapChat called While Black.
             Young Asante explained the genesis behind the series, its point of view and how important it is for people of color to tell our own stories. During his introduction Asante recited a poem “Two Sets of Notes” about the dichotomy between Eurocentric propaganda and our reality, using it to set the stage for his presentation and illustrate the reasons he created and produces the series. Citing Chinua Achebe the famous Nigerian author , poet and professor who popularized the African proverb, “Until lions have their own historians, tales of the hunt shall always glorify the hunter”, Asante explained the intent of the lecture and his series.
             “I really want this to be a conversation to share some things with you and I want you to also share your ideas and comments with me.” His poem about taking two sets of notes was not merely about the Eurocentric indoctrination process we call education or school. To Asante it is deeper and more pervasive; it impacts our psyches on so many levels.
             “The idea of taking two sets of notes can be applied to everything not just being a student in school, it’s the way we watch the news, the way we consume information, it’s the way we create information and media. One of the things I do is, I’m executive producing and hosting a show called While Black. It’s exclusively on SnapChat we did the first five episodes in November and we are receiving about two point five million unique views on each episode. The episodes are really about educating a whole new generation.”
             Asante recited a part of Two Sets of Notes again, about the minds of the youth being “polluted, diluted, convoluted and not culturally grounded and rooted” and said, “I also believe if you make an observation you have an obligation. So if you are observing that the children are not being culturally rooted and these things are not being taught, then what are you doing? What’s the obligation?”
          “So for me one of the obligations is to create media and content that informs, inspires and reaches the next generation.” He detailed why he chose that medium. “I’m excited about short form video content on the Web because it reaches people where they are.”
           He showed several episodes of the series and afterwards there was comment and he entertained a few questions. Each episode is about ten minutes in length just enough time to capture and retain the attention span of today’s multi-tasking short attention spanned society.
          His time was limited because he had to catch and plane; but promised he would return in February. He did say a few of the new episodes either were shot in Philly or would be shot in Philadelphia.
         Explaining the business of film making Asante stated, “My journey as a filmmaker has been interesting. Many of the films have been independent meaning I go raise the money myself from investors. I’ve been fortunate to have many investors who have been African-American, but not all the time. That’s been a great experience being around African-Americans who have the resources to help me make movies.”
         “The SnapChat project has several companies involved SnapChat, NBC, Maine Event Media and MK Asante Productions, four companies. MK Asante Productions you know what we are about but then you’ve got all these other companies who, do they really care about what we care about? I have to not be naïve to that, no they don’t care, they see this as an opportunity to reach a particular demographic and sell ads.”
          “But that’s not what we see it as. So it’s about being strategic and navigating that so that you can ultimately say what you want to say in the way that you want to say it and not compromise that. When we make something like this we employ people, we feature people who have not been featured before, we shed new light on things and we help educate.”
      While Black is a ten episode series streaming on the SnapChat app you can download the app and sign up to access it.

Langston Hughes: ‘The Negro Speaks of Rivers’

Jan. 2020 Langston HughesLangston Hughes (1902-1967) was an African American poet writing during the “Harlem Renaissance” of the 1920s. He had some white and Native American ancestry that also had influence on his work.  Hughes wrote many poems that were supportive of the history and culture of Black people and for a while in the 1930s was a sympathizer of the Communist Party. The poems “The Negro Speaks of Rivers” and “Democracy” express some of his core beliefs. 

“A Negro Speaks of Rivers”

I’ve known rivers:
I’ve known rivers ancient as the world and older than the
flow of human blood in human veins.

My soul has grown deep like the rivers.

I bathed in the Euphrates when dawns were young.
I built my hut near the Congo and it lulled me to sleep.
I looked upon the Nile and raised the pyramids above it.
I heard the singing of the Mississippi when Abe Lincoln
went down to New Orleans, and I’ve seen its muddy
bosom turn all golden in the sunset.

I’ve known rivers:
Ancient, dusky rivers.

My soul has grown deep like the rivers.


Democracy will not come

Today, this year

Nor ever

Through compromise and fear.


I have as much right

As the other fellow has

To stand

On my two feet

And own the land.


I tire so of hearing people say,

Let things take their course.

Tomorrow is another day.

I do not need my freedom when I’m dead.

I cannot live on tomorrow’s bread.



Is a strong seed


In a great need.


I live here, too.

I want freedom

Just as you.



source:Langston Hughes: ‘The Negro Speaks of Rivers’