Category Archives: Prison and Political Prisoners

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 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

Resistance to Forced Sterilization Curriculum

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sterilization thumbnailHello,

We’re excited to announce the release of a curriculum focused on historical and contemporary resistance to forced sterilizations. This project was conceived and started in 2014 by intern Teeanna Munro as an educational resource to connect forced sterilizations in California’s prisons to historical uses of the practice in Black, Native American and Puerto Rican communities. The curriculum contains audio and paper archival materials from the Freedom Archives and includes activities that incorporate and develop different skill sets, such as critical thinking, active reading, active listening and expository or persuasive essay writing, all with the intention of deepening understanding of this recent history and its lessons.

We have created this curriculum in order to provide historical context for forced sterilization, illuminate the voices of those directly affected by forced sterilization, and generate community discussion and activism around women’s liberation and reproductive justice. You can download the free curriculum and resource guide and check out our entire archival collection on forced sterilization here.

We would also like to thank Vera Tykulsker and Carli Lowe for their invaluable contributions to this resource.

peace Nathaniel

ps. We’d love to hear about your experiences using this curriculum. Please send comments and feedback to info@freedomarchives.org.

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

Seize the Time

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Hello,

We’re excited to announce the full digitization of the periodical Seize The Time, published by a Marxist-Leninist organization of the same name that grew out of the revolutionary national struggles of Black, Chicano, Asian American and Native American peoples. Based in California, Seize the Time was created mainly by people identifying as third world revolutionaries along with some white revolutionaries. The main purposes of the paper were:

1. as an organizing tool for local struggles and coordinating tool for regional and national organizing.

2. to provide revolutionary information and analysis.

3. to create communication network independent of bourgeois media.

4. to exist as a forum to discuss the major problems and tasks of the revolution.

This is truly an invaluable historical resource. In addition to the comprehensive reporting, in-depth political study and focus on the importance of intersectionality, self-determination and self-defense; I was particularly struck by the attention and emphasis on revolutionary culture. Whether the vibrant artwork best showcased on the front and back covers, the moving poetry from political prisoners and martyrs of the struggle, or step by step guides on how to create sustainable and co-operative ways of living together, Seize the Time was a blueprint for a better future as well as a canvas for revolutionary resistance. Check out the full collection here.

-Nathaniel

Seize The Time April 1974 (Front Cover) Seize The Time April 1974 (Back Cover) Seize The Time October 1974 (Back Cover) Seize The Time February 1975 (Front Cover) Seize The Time February 1975 (Back Cover) Seize The Time July 1975 (Front Cover) Seize The Time July 1975 (Back Cover) Seize The Time October 1975 (Front Cover)
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Seize The Time February 1975 (Front Cover)

 

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