Tag Archives: 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

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

New Arrivals at the Freedom Archives

Hello,

clifford-glover-school

Over the summer we’ve been going through old piles, re-organizing the archive space and re-arranging book shelves. Needless to say we found some cool stuff.

This image is taken from the Clifford Glover Contingent’s Coloring Book published by the May 19th Communist Organization. Clifford Glover was a 10-year-old black youth murdered by Thomas Shea, a white on-duty, undercover policeman, on April 28, 1973. His death, and the policeman’s later acquittal for a murder charge, led to an urban rebellion in the South Jamaica section of Queens, New York. The inside cover of the coloring book reads:

“We want our children to be part of building this new socialist society. That is why we built the Clifford Glover Brigade for our young people to march with us today, under the leadership of the Black Liberation struggle. We want them to understand that a system that survives through the murder of Black children by killer cops and the klan provides no future for them. But for them to live in a better world, they must start fighting for it by fighting white supremacy now. That is the way that they will learn new values and can grow into young revolutionary women and men.”

-Solidarity Statement from May 19th Communist Organization in recognition of New Afrikan Freedom Fighter Day, July 18, 1981.

Stay tuned, more new arrivals to come…

-Nathaniel

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.

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