Panthers/BPP, New Afrikan Liberation Prisoners:
- Mumia Abu-Jamal
- Zolo Agona Azania
- Veronza Bowers Jr.
- Sundiata Acoli (C. Squire)
- Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin
- Joseph “Joe-Joe” Bowen
- Fred “Muhammad” Burton
- Marshall Eddie Conway
- Romaine “Chip” Fitzgerald
- Robert Seth Hayes
- Freddie Hilton (Kamau Sadiki)
- Sekou Kambui (W. Turk)
- Maliki Latine
- Abdul Majid
- Sekou Odinga
- Russell Maroon Shoats
An award winning journalist and one of the founders of the Black Panther Party chapter in Philadelphia, PA, Mumia has been struggling for justice and human rights for people of color going back to when he was 14 years old ~ the age he was when he joined the Party.
In December of 1982, Mumia, who moonlighted driving a taxi, happened upon police who were beating his brother. During the melee, a cop was shot and killed and despite the fact that many people saw someone else shoot and then runaway from the scene, Mumia, in what could only be called a kangaroo court, was convicted and sentenced to death.
During the summer of 1995, a death warrant was signed by Governor Tom Ridge, which sparked one of the most effective organizing efforts in defense of a political prisoner ever. Since that time, Mumia has had his death sentence overturned, but is still expected to serve the rest of his life in prison.
Support site: freemumia.com
Zolo Agona Azania
ZOLO AGONA AZANIA
Indiana State Prison
1 Park Row
Michigan City, IN 46360
Zolo is a former Black Panther convicted of a 1981 bank robbery that left a Gary, Indiana cop dead. He was arrested miles away from the incident as he was walking unarmed down the street. After a trial plagued with injustices, Zolo was given the death penalty. After years of campaigning and several orders to stop his execution, the death penalty sentence was finally dropped. Zolo still adamantly maintains innocence and continues to fight for his freedom.
At the time of his arrest for the shooting death of a policeman, Zolo was a well known activist in his hometown of Gary, Indiana. He was an ex-con who had grown up in extreme poverty, but he was also the valedictorian of his CETA federal job training class and had received a scholarship to Purdue University just prior to his arrest. A talented artist and writer, he was involved in the campaign to make Martin Luther King’s birthday a national holiday and designed a button used by King campaigners. The lion above is one of Zolo’s beautiful paintings. Check out his art on his website: http://www.prairiefire.org/Zolo/zolosart.html
Veronza Bowers Jr.
Veronza Bowers Jr. is a former Black Panther Party member framed for the murder of a U.S. Park Ranger. He is being illegally detained beyond the 30 year sentence given to him, making him one of the longest-held political prisoners in U.S. history. Veronza has been making his time count for something by working with at-risk youth, inmates with anger-management problems and as a mentor and tutor for prisoners with learning disabilities. Numerous prison officials have relied on him as an intermediary in dealing with troubled inmates. At one facility, Mr. Bowers helped to disarm a fellow inmate and save a prison guard from harm. Veronza was given a letter of commendation for this intervention. To learn more about him check out: http://www.veronza.org/
Some of Veronza Bower’s writings:
- Meditation Healing with Shakuhachi
- The Journey of Three Tai Hei
- Poetry Page
- Statement to the Journey for Justice Rally
Sundiata Acoli is a New Afrikan political prisoner of war. A tireless worker for black liberation, Sundiata joined the Harlem Black Panther Party in 1968. He did community work around issues of schools, housing, jobs, child care, drugs, and police brutality and was a prominent member of the Harlem chapter of the Black Panther Party. Acoli was continually targeted and harrassed by the FBI’s illegal COINTELPRO operation and so, went underground to continue the work with the Black Liberation Army. In 1973 Sundiata and two other men, Zayd and Assata Shakur were ambushed by New Jersey state troopers. Zayd Shakur was killed, while Assata was wounded and taken into custody. One state trooper was killed in the fray and another injured. In a politically charged and biased trial Sundiata was sentenced to life plus 30 years. In 2010 Sundiata was denied parole, but the fight for his freedom continues. To join the campaign to free Sundiata visit: www.sundiataacoli.org
For articles by Sundiata, go to: Articles by Sundiata Acoli
Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin
Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin
USP Florence ADMAX
P.O. Box 8500
Florence, CO 81226
Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin, formerly H. Rap Brown, was a black liberation leader serving as the chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and later was Justice Minister of the Black Panther Party. He went on to convert to Islam, became an Imam and helped found a mosque in Atlanta. In 2000 he was charged with the shooting of two officers, one of whom died and is now serving a life sentence. He is reportedly being held in solitary confinement.
1 Kelley Drive
Coal Township, PA 17866-1021
“Joe-Joe” Bowen is a Black Liberation Army (BLA) Prisoner of War, serving two life sentences for the assassination of a prison warden and deputy warden, as well as an attempted prison break which resulted in a five-day standoff. A native of Philadelphia, Joe-Joe was a young member of the “30th and Norris Street” gang, before his incarceration politicized him. Released in 1971, his outside activism was cut short one week following his release, when Joe-Joe was confronted by an officer of the notoriously brutal Philadelphia police department. The police officer was killed in the confrontation and Bowen fled. After his capture and incarceration, Bowen became a Black Liberation Army combatant, defiant to authorities at every turn. Joe-Joe’s time in prison has been marked by conflict, episodes of violence and escape attempts. Much of his time has been spent in and out of control units, solitary confinement and other means of being isolated from the general prison population. It is unlikely he will ever be released back into the general prison population.
Fred Muhammad Burton
FRED “MUHAMMAD” BURTON
1590 Walters Mill Rd
Somerset, PA 15510
Fred Burton is one of the Philly 5, a group of men accused of an alleged attack on a police station that left one officer dead. Fred was sentenced to a life term for murder. Burton has maintained his innocence since his arrest. Prior to his incarceration, Fred worked for a phone company, was a well-respected member of his community and father to four children. In 1970, Fred was accused and then convicted of participating in planning the murder of some Philadelphia police officers. While the plan was allegedly to blow up a police station, what occurred was that a police officer was shot and killed – allegedly by members of a radical group called “the Revolutionaries.”
The prosecution’s sole witness was the wife of a co-defendant in the case. She did not accuse Fred of being at the scene of the crime but did indicate there was a relationship between Fred and “the Revolutionaries.” She later testified she had no knowledge of “the Revolutionaries” or of Fred’s involvement with them. Fred’s appeals are ongoing.
Marshall Eddie Conway
Marshall Eddie Conway, is a former Black Panther Party leader framed for the murder of a Baltimore police officer and the shooting of two other officers. He is currently serving a life sentence. Conway continues to assert his innocence and is fighting for parole. To learn more about Eddie and how you can join in the effort to free him visit www.freeeddieconway.org.
“Eddie” was born and raised in Baltimore. He joined the Army as a young man and in 1966, while stationed in Germany, he saw a play about Malcolm X. That led to wanting to learn more about the struggle, so he sought out King’s autobiography. Disillusioned with the Army, Conway returned to Baltimore in 1967 with an Honorable Discharge. He joined the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE). At home in Baltimore, Conway was instrumental in integrating the local Fire Department and was one of the first black firefighters in a department notorious for its racism. Working in such a hostile workplace and with his experience in organizing, Eddie decided to step up his work for black liberation by joining the Baltimore Chapter of the Black Panther Party in April of 1969. For more about him see: www.freeeddieconway.org Free Eddie blog: eddieconway.wordpress.com
Romaine “Chip” Fitzgerald
Kern Valley State Prison
P.O. Box 5101
Romaine “Chip” Fitzgerald, born and raised in Compton, California, joined the Southern California Chapter of the Black Panther Party in early 1969 as a teenager. He had just been released from the California Youth Authority. Despite witnesses to the contrary, Chip was convicted of the murder of a security guard and attempted murder of a CHP officer. He has been in prison for 40 years, serving 2 life sentences. To learn more and to join the campaign to free Chip go to: www.freechip.org
Robert Seth HayesROBERT SETH HAYES
Sullivan Correctional Facility 325 Riverside Drive, P.O. Box 116 Fallsberg, NY 12733-0116
Seth Hayes is a member of the Black Panther Party and the Black Liberation Army. He was framed and convicted of murdering a NYC police officer in 1973. Seth was charged with seven counts of attempted murder and one count of murder in the first degree. Jailed for over 30 years, Seth has served more time than he was sentenced to. Seth has repeatedly been denied parole, not based on his record in prison but because of his political beliefs and work with the Black Panther Party. While in prison, he has worked as a librarian, pre release advisor, and AIDS councilor. He has remained drug and alcohol free throughout his entire period of incarceration and has maintained a charge free record. Seth first came up for parole in 1998, but prison officials refused to release him and added on another two years, after which, he was again denied parole. Prison officials are effectively punishing him for having been a member of the Black Panther Party and remaining true to his ideals. Seth has been diagnosed with Hepatitis C and diabetes since the year 2000. He is not receiving adequate health care and his condition is steadily deteriorating. Take action and learn how you can help work for Hayes release by visiting: www.sethhayes.org
Freddie Hilton (Kamau Sadiki)
Augusta State Medical Prison, Bldg 13A-2 E7
3001 Gordon Highway
Grovetown, GA 30813
At 19, Kamau joined the Black Liberation Army and later, the Black Panther Party. He was was convicted in 2003 of the 30-year old murder of an Atlanta Police Officer, James Green, who was murdered in 1971. On the night of that murder, two witnesses observed three black males run from a van where Officer Green sat at a gas station in downtown Atlanta. The witnesses failed to identify Kamau from a photographic line-up, nor was there any physical evidence that implicated him. In 1971, the case was closed as unsolved. Nonetheless, testimony managed to turn up, decades later; by dint of some renewed pressure applied to 3 former members of the Black Liberation Army by the FBI. Learn more about Kamau and join the struggle for his freedom at: www.freekamau.org
William Turk (SEKOU KAMBUI)
Bibb Correctional Facility
565 Bibb Lane
Brent, AL 35034#113058
Sekou is a former Black Panther Party member and New Afrikan political prisoner currently serving two consecutive life sentences. Throughout the 1960′s, Sekou participated in the Civil Rights movement, organizing youth for participating in demonstrations and marches across Alabama and providing security for meetings of the Southern Christian Leadership Council, Congress of Racial Equality, and the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee. Sekou became affiliated with the Black Panther Party in 1967 and also became a member of the Republic of New Afrika. During the 1970′s, he was also a community organizer with many groups, among them The Alabama Black Liberation Front, Inmates for Action, and the Afro-American People’s Party. Sekou was also a soldier in the Black Liberation Army (BLA) during the years before his capture.
Sekou was captured in 1975, when pulled over for an alleged traffic infringement. During this stop, a 9mm pistol was found in the car lying between the front seats. When police ran the numbers on the gun, they discovered that the pistol was listed as stolen during a Tuscaloosa, AL murder. In the investigation that followed, authorities delved deeply into Sekou’s personal relationship with a white woman. At one point, while being transported, Sekou was told by one of the investigators, “…we don’t really give a damn whether you committed these crimes or not, but you should have because we’re gonna hang your ass with them anyway…” Sekou was then charged with the murder of two white men: a KKK official from Tuscaloosa and a multi-millionaire oil man from Birmingham. The trial was racially charged from the beginning with the black civil rights leader being accused of killing two white men in the state of Alabama.
Maliki is originally from the Bronx. He early on became involved with the Nation of Islam and the path of confronting society’s oppressive forces. In 1969, Maliki and his brother, Shaqwan, joined up with the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense (BPP). Maliki began taking political education classes offered by the Black Panther Party. He studied Chairman Mao, Lenin, Castro, Che, and many others. The Panthers’ community outreach included the Free Breakfast and lunch programs, free clothing drives and free day care – the U.S. government, not being a big advocate of free, took definite notice of the Black Panther Party. That such free programs were also anchored by a black revolutionary message, caused the US government to take an entirely dim view of the Panthers and their activities. At the time, profiling of Black people by law enforcement was even worse than it is today but the Panthers were perpetually in the cross-hairs. Maliki soon found himself behind prison bars in Riker’s Island. There he met one of the Panther leaders, Lumumba Shakur. Lumumba and 20 other Panthers (known as the Panther 21) all faced trumped up charges, which included a plot to blow up various locations in New York City. All of the Panther 21 would eventually have those charges dismissed, so the government thought up some new ones. In the late 1970′s, Harlem experienced a boom in drug trafficking. Maliki, seeking to curb this influx of illegal substances, was set up on the false testimony of those who resented any opposition to their enterprise. He was indicted on charges of attempted first- degree murder, four counts of criminal possession of a weapon, and criminal possession of stolen property. On October 1, 1981, Maliki Latine was sentenced to 25 years-life.
Maliki has medical issues due to poor health care in prison. He is currently serves on the Prisoner Committee of the Anarchist Black Cross Federation and is a beneficiary of the ABCF Warchest Program. For more info see:
- LA ABCF- PO Box 11223, Whittier, CA 90603
- Jericho Amnesty Coalition- PO Box 34186, Los Angeles, CA 90034
- Free Maliki Latine pamphlet.
Abdul Majid #83-A-0483
Elmira Correctional Facility
PO Box 500, 1879 Davis St
Elmira, New York 14902-0500
Abdul Majid is a native of Queens New York and has been imprisoned for two decades. In the late 60s Abdul joined the Black Panther Party and the Republic of New Afrika. Abdul was involved in many of the community-based programs of the BPP including the free health clinic, free breakfast for children program, and efforts to decentralize the public schools and the police department. On the night of April 1981, two NYPD officers were fired on by two suspects during a traffic stop. Police claim that the stop was in connection with several burglaries, while they also claim the van was pulled over because of its connection to the liberation of Assata Shakur from a New Jersey prison. Regardless of the reason for the stop, the occupants exited the car and opened fire, shooting both officers and killing one. A few days after the shooting, police began circulating a folder of “suspects” which consisted exclusively of former members of the Black Panther Party and their associates. 2 Panthers, Abdul and another man, were identified as the shooters and became the targets of a “shoot to kill” manhunt. Abdul was arrested and brutally beaten by police. Over a five-year period, Abdul and the other man were tried three times for this crime. The star witness against them did not get a good look at them and didn’t recall much of anything; but he was hypnotized by the police into recalling more. Their first trial ended in a hung jury divided along racial lines. The second trial was declared a mistrial by the judge; immediately after the jury rendered a decision that acquitted one of them on the murder charge. The third trial was presided over by a judge who was the son of one cop, and brother to another. Throughout the trial, cops harassed the 2 Panthers, their families and supporters. A racially stacked jury in the third trial returned a guilty verdict and sentenced the two to 33 1/3 years-life.
During Majid’s imprisonment, he was beaten by prison guards and awarded $15,000 in compensation for his injuries. That compensation was taken back in 2006, when a court ruled that Abdul must pay $42 million in civil damages to the family of the cop he allegedly killed and to the wounded partner. The money Abdul would have received for being beaten by guards, instead was given to them. Any funds Abdul might receive are now automatically confiscated.
Sekou Odinga, formerly Nathanial Burns, was born in 1944 in Queens, NY. In tenth grade he was kicked out of school when he defended himself from a teacher. At 16 he was sentenced to three years at Great Meadows Correctional Institution Comstock, for robbery and he finished high school in jail. Comstock was notorious for its racism. One of the sergeants was head of the Ku Klux Klan and no blacks were allowed to work there in any capacity. In 1963, Sekou was caught up in a race riot and it was in this climate of intense racism and repression that he started becoming politicized. Malcolm X was a big influence on Sekou at the time and in 1965, Sekou joined the Organization of Afro-American Unity , founded byMalcolm X. After his assassination, Sekou grew frustrated with the direction of the group, so in 1967 Sekou and some friends started taking interest in the Black Panther Party. In 1968, Sekou became the section leader of the newly formed Bronx Black Panther Party.
In 1969, there was a violent skirmish between NY Police and the Panthers. Sekou was informed that police were searching for him in connection with a police shooting. In his own words, Sekou recalls “On April 22, 1969, I awoke at 5:30 AM to the sound of wood splitting around my door. When I investigated, I found that my house was completely surrounded with pigs on my roof, fire escape, in the halls, on the street, etc. I was fortunate enough to evade them and go deeper into hiding.” At that point Sekou went underground and traveled to Algeria to establish an international chapter of the Black Panther Party – The Black Liberation Army. Through COINTELPRO, FBI agents infiltrated the Party and successfully split the group. At that point Sekou decided to return to the US to continue his work with the Black Liberation Army. On October 23, 1981, Sekou and another man were ambushed by NYC police and FBI agents. The police murdered the other man in the street. Sekou was taken into custody and tortured: “When I was captured, I was burned with cigars, beaten, and had my head flushed in toilets. I was taken to a window, and the officers threatened to throw me out. This went on for about six hours, when they were trying to get me to give up information on other comrades. I was captured in October 1981, and didn’t get out of the hospital until February ’82.” Sekou ended up being charged with the liberation of Assata Shakur and the expropriation of money from an armored car. The charges themselves were manipulated to maximize sentencing. For example, the liberation of Shakur was labeled as kidnapping because jail-breaking isn’t a felony. The courts justified this because two prison guards were tied up and moved from one rooftop to another during the escape. This was somehow kidnapping. Sekou was convicted of two federal charges and sentenced to forty years imprisonment and a $50,000 fine. He was also convicted of six state counts of attempted murder stemming from defending himself during the police attack in 1981. For this he was sentenced to concurrent life sentences. For more info, go to: Free Sekou Odinga Facebook Page. Prisoner of War in America: Pamphlet
Russell Maroon Shoats
Russellis a committed community activist, founding member of the Black Unity Council, former member of the Black Panther Party and soldier in the Black Liberation Army. He is serving multiple life sentences for an attack on a police station which resulted in an officer being killed. Russell is from PA and was one of 12 children. Russell became active in the New Afrikan liberation movement in the mid 1960′s. He founded the Black Unity Council, which merged with the Philadelphia Chapter of the Black Panther Party in 1969. Racial tensions were running high in Philadelphia in 1970. Philadelphia Police Chief Frank Rizzo had ordered a crackdown on militant groups in the run-up to the national convention of the Black Panther Party in Philadelphia on September 5, 1970. Tensions intensified when police killed a black youth. A retaliatory attack was carried out on a police station, killing officer Frank Von Coln and injuring one other. The shooting prompted a 2 a.m. raid on Black Panther headquarters in North Philly. After the raid, police officials allowed news photographers to take humiliating photos of the Panthers being strip searched on the street. Russell and four others (who became known as the “Philly Five”) were immediately charged with the attack. They went underground and continued to struggle for New Afrikan self-determination as part of the Black Liberation Army. Russell was captured 2 years later, convicted of the attack on the police station and sentenced to life.
In 1977, Russell and 3 others escaped from Huntingdon State Prison. Two were recaptured and the third was killed by guards. Russell remained at large for 27 days, leading to a massive manhunt. After his recapture, Russell was shipped around to various state, county and federal prisons and kept in long term solitary confinement until 1989. Although not insane, at one point malicious authorities forcibly moved Shoats to the Fairview State Hospital for the Criminally Insane. While at Fairview he was restrained and drugged to the point of overdose, which resulted in his being hospitalized. Because of a later escape attempt and a prison riot he had nothing to do with, Russell was eventually moved to supermax prison – Marion. He has been in solitary confinement and locked down 23 hours a day since 1991. ABCF Pamphlet on Russell Shoats