50 YEARS! [BPP] [col. writ. 10/8/16] ©2016 by Mumia Abu-Jamal

When 2 young college students gathered together in an anti-poverty office in Oakland, California in mid-October, 1966, no one-not even themselves-knew what they would, or could, accomplish.

The men, 24-year-old Huey P. Newton, and 29-year-old Bobby G. Seale, would leave the office with something called the 10 Point Program, and through the organization they founded (the Black Panther Party) they would impact the nation, and enter the annals of history.

The Party had global impacts, and marked a generation with its paw-mark of Black youth and class resistance.

But, as we know, that was 50 years ago –a lifetime ago. Who knew that any of us would still be alive today?

Today, decades later, some of us still dwell in the system’s prison cells, political prisoners in everything but name. Let us not forget our brothers and fellow warriors in chains: among them:

*Sundiata Acoli, a comrade of freed political prisoner, Assata Shakur, and the late Zayd Malik Shakur, captured May 2, 1973, and a prolific writer.

*Delbert Orr Africa, a member of the Chicago chapter, now a member of the MOVE Organization, and one of the MOVE 9 (members of MOVE imprisoned after a confrontation with Philadelphia police, Aug. 8th, 1978).

*Russell ‘Maroon” Shoatz, a member of the Black Unity Council, an affiliate of the Philadelphia branch of the Black Panther Party, also a brilliant writer, historian and thinker.

*Imam Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin (formerly known as ‘Rap’ Brown) was the former Minister of Justice of the Black Panther Party. He was an anti-drug activist in Atlanta, where he led as Imam of the local mosque.

*Joseph ‘Jo-Jo’ Bowen, of the Philadelphia branch.

*Robert Seth Hayes, of the New York Chapter, presently facing serious health challenges, including diabetes and hepatitis C conditions.

*Fred ‘Muhammad’ Burton, Philadelphia branch, now doing time at SCI Somerset, PA.

*Dr. Mutulu Shakur, an acupuncturist by training, who was convicted of helping Assata Shakur get free. He is also the loving stepfather of the late, legendary rapper, Tupac Shakur.

*Jalil Muntaqim, of the New York Chapter, who, with the late revolutionary leader, Safiya Bukhari, co-founded the Jericho Movement in 1998, to help educate people on political prisoners and advocate for their release.

These are some of the people who have done decades in prison for political revolutionary activities during the ‘60s, ‘70s, and 1980s. Most have been members of the Black Panther Party or the Black Liberation Army, and were freedom fighters for the Black nation.

Let us not forget them. Let us organize for their freedom-and the freedom of us all. (For more information, contact the Jericho Movement at: http://www.thejerichomovement.com).

It’s been 50 unbelievable years since Huey and Bobby typed out the Ten Point Program and Platform of the Black Panther Party for Self Defense.

How many times-in the last 50 years-have you re-read the Ten Point Program, and marveled at how grim the conditions remain for millions of Black people? Half a century later and Black Lives Still Don’t Matter!

Let us join with our younger brothers and sisters and help build a freedom movement worthy of our fallen warriors –and our ancestors!


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