The Story of Manuel Ramos

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Hello,

This article in the Movement (June 1969) covers the the murder of Manuel Ramos. Manuel was a 20 year old member of the Young Lords Organization (YLO) in Chicago, IL. On May 4th, 1969 Manuel was shot and killed by a police officer outside of the apartment of another member of the Young Lords at 2am. Another member of the Young Lords was wounded and four others were arrested. Manuel was unarmed at the time of his murder.

As the details of the case surfaced, the Chicago police department did the best they could to cover up Manuel’s murder including trying to plant a weapon into evidence and claiming in the media that a police officer had been critically wounded in the incident. Both of these were exposed as lies soon after.

Over the next weeks, in response to the police violence, cover up and lack of judicial transparency, the Rainbow Coalition [Black Panther Party; Young Lords Organization and Young Patriots Organization] and community members organized numerous protests and a funeral attended by several hundred people. These protests culminated in the takeover of McCormick Seminary.

On May 15th, the Young Lords, supported by Panthers, Patriots, SDS and McCormick Seminary students seized the brand new W. Clement Stone Academic-Administration Building and renamed it the Manuel Ramos Memorial Building. McCormick Seminary is located in the Lincoln Park neighborhood in Chicago and although it maintained a liberal facade, it restricted community members from entering its property (community members had to walk several blocks around the seminary to get to a shopping strip), using its playground, enjoying its ample green space, or using its library. W. Clement Stone was also Richard Nixon’s largest contributor, further exemplifying the institutions’ detachment from the community.

The Young Lords presented 10 demands to the administration at McCormick Seminary. With support and material assistance being supplied by community member coalition allies, the YLO stayed in the Manuel Ramos Memorial Building for a full week despite constant threats of physical eviction by the police. By the end of the week, the administration had agreed to all of the Young Lords’ demands including pledging nearly $700,000 (and institutional support) for the creation of a low-income housing development, a children’s center, and a Puerto Rican cultural center. Unfortunately, it is unclear how much of the money pledged by McCormick leaders was actually delivered. In the fall of 1969 the YLO claimed in their newspaper that “McCormick still wasn’t coming through.”

The mobilizations around the murder of Manuel Ramos demonstrate not only the decisive and effective actions taken by the Young Lords Organization (Chicago) but also the importance of cross class and cross racial organizing in achieving ones’ demands.

-Laura

 

New Additions to the Freedom Archives

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Hello,

We’ve got some great new materials up on our search site!

Statements from International Women’s Day: Statements in honor of International Women’s Day, 1983, in solidarity with all freedom fighters and prisoners of war. Published by Women Against Imperialism.

3 poems from Chicano Poet Tomas Vigil: Originally recorded by SF Bay Area radio collective Comunicacion Aztlan.

Critica:

Marche:

Nation:

 

I-Hotel Calendar: This calendar focuses on the struggle to keep the tenants of the International Hotel from being evicted during 1977. Each month has a pertaining photo that features photography from the protests, personal photos of tenants in their rooms, poetry and more.

Don’t hesitate to contact us info [at] freedomarchives [dot] org if you want to donate archival materials to the Freedom Archives and stay tuned for new arrivals.

-Nathaniel

 

New Collection at the Archives

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Hello everyone,

My name is Casey and I’ve been an intern here at the Freedom Archives since September. As a recently-graduated university student earning a minor in Gender Studies, I was tasked to acquaint myself with the sub-collection “Feminism and Women’s Liberation” and get a feel of how I would incorporate new materials. However, after reviewing many of the materials it became clear that several had a reoccurring, specific theme of Gay Liberation and the LGBTQ movement. This realization led to the construction of our newest sub-collection, “Gay Liberation Movement/LGBTQ Community.”

From the “Feminism and Women’s Liberation” sub-collection, I added several articles, pamphlets, and periodicals specifically relating to the LGBTQ community and would be better placed in Gay Liberation Movement/LGBTQ Community. These materials included, “Artificial Insemination: an alternative conception,” “Confronting Homophobia: Notes on Creating a Lesbian Community, A Matter of Life,” “Ache Periodical” which highlights the voices of Black lesbians, and more…

Gender and Sexuality Collection

Gay Liberation Movement/LGBTQ Collection

Working with the Freedom Archives, with Claude and Nathaniel and the several other progressive volunteers and interns, has given me a wonderful opportunity and privilege in embracing such relevant and important history. Reading through the materials in both of the sub-collections mentioned has been incredibly educational and has opened my eyes to the progression of these social movements. Coming here is the highlight of my week and I am grateful for their necessary presence, organization, and overall engagement both in local and global communities. I will never forget seeing the 2nd-3rd wave Feminist documentary, “She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry,” and getting giddy when they referenced exact materials I had personally handled, read, and been inspired by from our sub-collection “Feminism and Women’s Liberation.”

In solidarity, Casey

The Story of Ahmed Evans and the Glenville Shootout

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Part 2 in our blog series on histories of resistance to racist police violence, as depicted in the pages of The Movement newspaper.

Fred "Ahmed" Evans

Fred “Ahmed” Evans

By the summer of 1968, tensions had been mounting between the Black residents of Cleveland and the police department for over a year. In the spring of 1967, riots broke out after the police shooting of two children, one Black and one white. That fall, a young Black lawyer named Carl B. Stokes rode a wove of Black disaffection into political office when he won the city’s mayoral race. Many Black residents had high hopes for a Black-led Democratic administration to usher in an era of meaningful change, but by 1968 some were becoming disillusioned as they witnessed police harassment of Black militants intensifying.

In the late 1960’s Cleveland had a vibrant Black nationalist scene, which centered around Fred “Ahmed” Evans’ Afro Culture Shop and Bookstore in the Glenville neighborhood. Evans had opened the shop after returning home from serving in the Korean War, and had dedicated himself to creating a meeting place for Black residents interested in Black nationalist culture and politics. Evans’ shop was burned down multiple times, and undercover police were permanently stationed across the street in order to monitor the activities of Evans and others who frequented the shop.

On July 23, Evans was in bed when he realized the cops were outside his house. He looked out the window to see what looked like officers shooting down a Black man who was running away from them. Evans took his gun into the bushes outside his home and began shooting. A fifteen-minute gun battle ensued, leaving 15 wounded and 7 dead. Police officers and Black militants on the scene offered conflicting accounts of the event, with Evans insisting they had been ambushed and police claiming they had been attacked by snipers from Evans’ home. After a stand off, Evans surrendered to the police.

National Guard on patrol in Glenville.

The next day, Cleveland broke out into rebellion. The Black residents of Glenville protested in the streets for three consecutive days. On the night of July 23, fires burned on ten blocks of Superior Avenue. Mayor Stokes called in the National Guard in order to quash the rebellion. On September 22, Evans was sentenced to death by electric chair for allegedly killing three officers. His sentence was later commuted to life in prison. He died of cancer in prison in 1978.

He remained unrepentant after his sentencing, stating: “I don’t think there is any doubt that the people of my race have every right in the world and have every reason in the world to resist and to reach out and become what they were created, men–not symbols, I mean–not half anything, but whole as I am whole. I fully understand the ways of life as they are now, and the truth of the matter is I have no regret….This is to be expected. I mean, you just can’t say that you are going to turn away from a world of iniquity and walk along a red carpet. It is not that way.”

Check out the full story here

-Laura

The Story of the TSU Five

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Hello,

This multi tsu-five-photo-2 part blog series highlights significant but relatively unknown moments of resistance to racist police violence as depicted in the pages of The Movement. When looking at the stories in The Movement, the continuity between historical events and the emerging movement against police violence comes into sharp focus. Police treatment of Black and Brown people has not changed much, if at all. The murders that are captured on smartphones today and streamed online are not a new phenomenon. They were happening in the 1960’s too, and they were met with rage and resistance then, just like they are today.

In early 1967, Texas Southern University (a historically black college) students and Black residents of Houston began organizing on and off campus. In March, students demonstrated against conditions on campus, which were significantly worse than those at the white college down the street. Their grievances included bad food, early curfews, and a lack of courses in fields like engineering and technology. The administration responded by throwing TSU’s Friends of SNCC chapter off campus, firing the group’s faculty advisor, and working with the local police to have a warrant issued for the arrest of a student organizer.

The administration’s crackdown only further angered students, and their protest expanded. They came forward with new demands, including an increase in faculty salaries, the disarmament of campus police, the removal of the campus dean from the local draft board, a student court for disciplinary cases, and the dropping of all charges against student activists.

In May studenttsu-5-photo-1s joined together with local Black residents to protest poor living conditions and city government neglect. A demonstration in the Sunnyside neighborhood was called after a child drowned in an unfenced city garbage dump. Another was held in Northeast Houston to protest the beating of Black high school students with ax handles and chains. The demonstrations gave city officials an excuse to retaliate against TSU students. On the night of May 16, police officers blockaded the campus. Students gathered and some threw rocks at the police. Soon, hundreds of armed police officers swarmed the campus. They arrested 489 students and opened fire on a dormitory. They shot between 3 and 5,000 rounds of AR-15 shells into the dorm. In the course of the raid, a student and a number of officers were shot, and one officer was killed, almost certainly from ricocheting bullets.

Although the ballistics and coroners reports confirmed that the officer was killed by a .30 bullet (the caliber used by Houston PD), the city used the death as a pretext for crushing the Black movement. They arrested five students known for their political activism–one of whom was actually in jail the night of the raid–and charged them with the murder of the police officer. The students became known as the TSU 5 among activists, who organized support for their defense. Despite the lack of evidence, it took over three years for them to be cleared of charges. In November 1970 a Houston judge finally dropped the charges and the state admitted that the officer probably died from a ricocheting police bullet.

The story of the TSU 5 is told in the pages of The Movement, check out the newspaper here: Page1 Page2

Please help us continue our educational work at the Freedom Archives. You can make an online donation here. Your support really makes a difference!

 

-Laura

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