Tag Archives: Herman Bell

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

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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.



The Burning Urgency of Now

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herman bell imageDo not condemn these men to prison for life as they’ve already spent decades there. Be not in a rush to throw fresh stones at this misfortune without taking a long look in your own mirror and see the face of injustice that has long been a bane to the long suffering of Black people so that others might exact from the sweat of their brow, stripes across their backs, and terrorist lynchings to attain the untold wealth and prosperity that this nation currently enjoys. And even today you continuously lock them in your prisons in unprecedented numbers. The urgency of now is upon us.

When is “enough is enough?” The burning urgency of now calls for change, for a sharp turn into the headwinds of new possibilities for ourselves, for our children and for our nation. We want these men home. Release of them would be symbolic. Thus retribution for retribution sake is liken to a dead letter with no forwarding address.

-Taken from a recent letter written by political prisoner Herman Bell. Read at Freeing Our Political Prisoners, San Francisco, California on October 23, 2015. Herman Bell is a former Black Panther who has been locked up since 1973. Since his imprisonment, Herman has continued his work as an educator and activist.

Freedom Archives on KPFA

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Yesterday, the Freedom Archives was featured on KPFA’s The Sunday Show guest hosted by Julieta Kusnir. I was joined by Noelle Hanrahan from Prison Radio and Linda Evans, former political prisoner and organizer with All of Us or None to discuss the importance of illuminating the voices of political prisoners. Specific topics of conversation include Mumia Abu-Jamal and a recent law in Pennsylvania to limit the free speech of prisoners and former offenders, the work of the Freedom Archives to highlight the work of political prisoners and how organizing to challenge mass incarceration coincides with larger movement and community building. Thanks to everyone who helped make this show possible.

You can stream the show below:



Celebrating 15 Years of the Freedom Archives

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Freedom Archives founders — (Left to right) Lincoln Bergman, Heber Dreher, Emiliano Echeverria, Kiilu Nyasha, Nina Serrano, Barbara Lubinski, Claude Marks, and Andres Alegria. Nancy Barrett not pictured.

tarika lewis 15th

Tarika Lewis, Val Serrant and Sandy Poindexter









Thanks to everybody who came out and celebrated 15 years with us! The music was outstanding, the statements from former and current political prisoners were inspirational and it was great to see so many longtime friends and supporters in one place. We want to extend our appreciation to everyone who helped make this anniversary possible and hope that you enjoyed it as much as we did.

If you were not able to make it, you can still help sustain the Freedom Archives by donating HERE.

We also wanted to share the audio of Herman Bell’s tribute to the work of the Freedom Archives. Herman, a former member of the Black Panther Party and political prisoner for the past 40 years, is a revolutionary thinker, educator, and longtime supporter of the Archives.


– Preserve the Past – Illuminate the Present – Shape the Future


Free Herman Bell

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Greetings friends,

Check out our new video Free Herman Bell on the recently launched Herman Bell support website at www.freehermanbell.org.

This website is maintained by the family & friends of US Political Prisoner Herman Bell and is intended to connect Herman to all his supporters. The short film, shot and produced by the Freedom Archives, is just one of the many pieces of information and inspiration that one can find on the site. Also available is additional information on Herman, his case, his parole efforts and his continuing commitment to cultivate and nurture community on both sides of the wall.

Free Herman Bell is a wonderful audiovisual compliment to the campaign to support Herman because it not only serves to humanize Herman (challenging the state’s demonic portrayal) but also illustrates that incarceration not only disrupts the lives of those behind bars, but also their families and the social fabric of entire communities. Please take a moment to check out the website.


[vimeo http://www.vimeo.com/51465733 w=500&h=281]

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