Category Archives: Liberation Struggles

No Justice No Peace

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Hello,

This clip is taken from a 1988 speech by Ahmed Obafemi of the New Afrikan People’s Organization in San Francisco. Obafemi speaks of the death of Michael Griffith, a Black youth murdered in a racist attack in Howard Beach, New York., and how the Black community came together following Michael’s murder.

 

Learn more about New Afrikan politics here.

No Justice, No Peace!

-Nathaniel

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

 

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

Herman Bell on the 50th Anniversary of the Black Panther Party

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Hello,

herman-spring-2015

Are you innocent of being a revolutionary, or are you guilty of being a revolutionary?  Rather an absurd question, especially if put to the many political prisoners in the US, fourteen of whom are former Black Panthers. Yet it seems like so many of us on the outside have fallen into the government’s criminal injustice trap of placing so much importance on whether our political prisoners are guilty or innocent of the crimes the government has charged and convicted them of.  Could this be the reason why so many of these brave elders, who have sacrificed their entire adult lives for the revolutionary ideals espoused by the BPP,  have received so little support and recognition over the forty-plus years of their imprisonment?

As we all recognize the tremendous courage, brilliance, and achievements of the Black Panther Party on its 50th anniversary, we should honor those who risked their lives for the Black liberation movement and continue to pay such a high price for their ideals. They were courageous as youth in the community. They are now elder political prisoners and tremendous Afrikan role models to the many thousands of Black people forced to live their lives behind prison walls. One of them, Herman Bell, has just written and recorded a piece especially for the occasion of the BPP’s 50th Anniversary.  It’s an 11-minute message – so kick back and take a few minutes to listen to what our brother has to say.

 

-Nancy

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