Tag Archives: Black Panther Party

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

 

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

The Political Thought of Afeni Shakur

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afenishakurAfeni Shakur, known to most of us as rap icon Tupac Shakur’s mother, passed away last month (2nd May 2016).  In his 1995 song  “Dear Mama”, Tupac Shakur speaks about  the deep appreciation for his mother and the difficulties she faced with drugs and poverty when raising him. But what many people are often not aware of is that Afeni Shakur was a revolutionary thinker and activist who shaped the political discourse of Black Liberation movements in the 70s. She joined the Black Panther Party in 1968 and was a crucial member in the NYC chapter.  In April 1969, she was accused of conspiring with 20 other Black Panther Party members to carry out bombings in New York. Afeni Shakur  defended herself in the so-called Panther 21 trail, earning an acquittal on all charges after serving a total of 11 months in jail.

In remembrance of Afeni Shakur’s legacy as a revolutionary, mother and activist, I have digitized sound bytes from an interview with Afeni Shakur in 1972, in which she speaks passionately about why she joined the Black Panthers, lessons to draw from the Panther 21 trail, and what it means to be a political prisoner as well as how to foster racial solidarity within and outside of the prison. Listening to Afeni Shakur does not only provide insights into the political climate of the early 1970s and the Panther 21 trail, but also evokes memory and inspiration of a recently departed ancestor.

Afeni Shakur: Joining the Black Panthers:

 

Afeni Shakur: Solidarity during Panther 21 Trail:

 

Afeni Shakur: On Racial Solidarity:

 

Afeni Shakur: On Lessons from the Panther 21:

 

The Freedom Archives  is a space that has allowed me to discover and learn more about Black history, prison movements and other national and international political movements.  It is dedicated to honoring lesser known revolutionaries, such as Afeni Shakur. To enable us to continue doing this type of work help support the Freedom Archives.

-Ismahan

Slideshow- Recent 2015 Additions to the Freedom Archives

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Hello,

One of the core functions of the Freedom Archives is to preserve the audio, video and paper documents of revolutionary and progressive movements of the past 50+ years. Below you can cycle through a slideshow of some of the digitized documents we’re happy to share from the past couple of months.

We really need your support to continue the vital task of safeguarding our history! You can donate here. Thanks for all your support, it makes a huge difference!

-Nathaniel

Poem by Dylcia Pagan (former Puerto Rican Prisoner of War) Anarchist Black Dragon Periodical Geronimo Pratt (Ji-Jaga) Flyer White Lightning Periodical Dessie Woods Monograph Free Breakfast Program Flyer White Lightning Periodical Bobby Hutton Murdered Flyer
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Poem by Dylcia Pagan (former Puerto Rican Prisoner of War)

Prisoners and Politics: from the San Quentin Six to Pelican Bay

SQ6 defendants Fleeta Drumgo; Hugo Pinell; and David Johnson stage an impromptu sit in at San Quentin in 1975 when trial jurors toured the prison
SQ6 defendants Fleeta Drumgo; Hugo Pinell; and David Johnson stage an impromptu sit in at San Quentin in 1975 when trial jurors toured the prison.

Greetings,

Last Wednesday we co-sponsored Prisoners and Politics: from the San Quentin Six to Pelican Bay with Shaping San Francisco. 518 Valencia was standing room only with the space packed to capacity. The four panelists all shared interesting perspectives and drew important connections between historical and contemporary prison resistance. If you missed it, or just want to hear it again, follow the link below to a podcast of the entire event. We’ve also included the approximate timing for each panelists if you want to jump around. Thanks to everyone who helped make this a great event!

Prisoners and Politics Podcast

Author of Captive Nation Dan Burger (08:00- 32:00); original member of SQ Six David Johnson (32:30-48:00); original member of SQ Six Luis “Bato” Talamantez (48:00-54:30); National Lawyer’s Guild attorney Caitlin Kelly Henry (54:30-1:12:00); Q and A (1:12:00-end).

-Nathaniel

 

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