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Todd Steven Burroughs

radical prison journalist and author. Mumia Abu-Jamal was born Wesley Cook in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. As a teenager in the 1960s he was attracted to the Black Panther Party (BPP). Cook—christened “Mumia” by one of his high school teachers—helped form the BPP's Philadelphia chapter in spring 1969 and became the chapter's lieutenant of information. He wrote articles for the Black Panther, the party's national newspaper, and traveled to several cities to perform BPP work. He left the party in the fall of 1970 because of the split between Eldridge Cleaver and Huey Newton.

After attending Goddard College in Plainfield Vermont Cook now calling himself Mumia Abu Jamal the surname is Arabic for father of Jamal Jamal being his firstborn returned to Philadelphia and began a radio broadcasting career in the early 1970s Abu Jamal was part of the first generation of black journalists to become professional newscasters for ...

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Peter Brush

The Black Liberation Army (BLA) defined itself as a politico-military organization engaged in armed struggle against the U.S. government. Operating from about 1971 to 1981, the BLA used tactics including bombings, robberies, and prison breaks. Although not all its members were Marxists, the BLA considered itself the embryonic form of the people's army of the black nation in America. It compared itself to the National Liberation Front, or Vietcong, of Vietnam. The BLA credited Malcolm X for its ideology and claimed to be the inheritor of Malcolm's legacy.

The Black Panther Party (BPP) was the largest, most important revolutionary organization of the black liberation movement of the 1960s and 1970s. By 1968 because of government repression some Panther leaders saw the need for a guerrilla army that would serve as a vanguard revolutionary force According to this concept the force would be the Black Liberation Army It would ...

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Jesse J. Esparza

The Black Panther Party (BPP) was one of the most prominent and notorious organizations of black power to emerge during the 1960s. It successfully organized thousands of militant blacks committed to improving the social conditions of their communities. The Panthers’ founders, Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale, were initially inspired by the work of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) in conjunction with activists from rural Alabama who formed the Lowndes County Freedom Organization (LCFO). But Newton and Seale, attracted also to the revolutionary rhetoric and black nationalistic ideals of Malcolm X, adopted the black panther as a symbol and formed the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense in October 1966 in Oakland, California, after they were unsuccessful in their efforts to influence the politics of existing campus organizations. Newton was a former street criminal who had gone on to study at Oakland's Merritt College, and Seale was a ...

Article

Mason R. Hazzard

police officer, civil rights activist, and litigant, was born in Waterbury, Connecticut, to Cicero B. Booker Sr., the first African American police officer in the town of Waterbury, and Addie Booker, a homemaker.

Booker attended and graduated from the local public schools before going on to further his education, earning an associate's degree in Police Science and Administration from Mattatuck Community College, now known as Naugatuck Valley Community College, in Waterbury in 1978. He also attended Western Connecticut State University. In 1955, at the age of seventeen, Booker enrolled in the US Marine Corps as a private, remaining on active duty for three years until he left the military in 1958 at the rank of corporal.

Booker then joined the police department in his hometown of Waterbury in 1961. He quickly ascended to the rank of patrol officer, but by 1985 his ...

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Jamason Pestana

policeman and community leader, was born in Corapeake, Gates County, North Carolina to Emilie P. Benton, a homemaker, and John Zebedee Booker, a farmer. He was the third child in a family of seven and attended the local segregated schools in Gates County.

Booker moved to Connecticut in 1926, where he settled in Waterbury in New Haven County. There, in about 1934, he married Addie (maiden name unknown), a woman from South Carolina, and the couple had three children: Ann, Sally, and Cicero Jr. In 1943 Booker was appointed to the City of Waterbury supernumerary police force, an informal black citizen group. By 1946 a committee was formed in the African American community to recruit one of their own to the Waterbury police force. In January 1946 Booker was appointed to the police force as a patrolman He was the first African American police officer ...

Article

Jamal Donaldson Briggs

lawyer, activist, and first African American mayor of Los Angeles. Thomas J. Bradley was born to Lee and Crenner Bradley in Calvert, Texas. The Bradleys moved to Los Angeles in 1924; there his father worked as a porter on the railroad and his mother worked as a maid. His father abandoned the family shortly after they all moved out West.

Bradley excelled in athletics at Polytechnic High School in Los Angeles, serving as captain of the track team and making the all-city football team. Bradley graduated in 1937 and attended the University of California at Los Angeles on a track scholarship. He dropped out during his junior year to join the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) in 1940 as a lieutenant; at the time he was the highest-ranking African American police officer in Los Angeles. In 1941 he married his childhood sweetheart, Ethel Mae Arnold The ...

Article

George White

lawyer, politician, and writer. Born and raised in Woodrow Wilson's Washington, D.C., Edward William Brooke III proved to be a trailblazer who built a legal and political career that exceeded the socially imposed limits on blacks in America. At the height of his career, Brooke represented a social justice wing of the Republican Party that has disappeared. Even in his retirement he continues to be a pioneer as an advocate for cancer detection in men.

Brooke grew up in a middle-class household; his father was a lawyer for the Veterans Administration. Brooke attended the segregated public schools of Washington, graduating from Dunbar High School in 1936 and from Howard University in 1941 Shortly thereafter the U S Army drafted Brooke During his tenure in the military he served with the 366th Combat Infantry Regiment and defended enlisted men in military court cases Following the deployment of ...

Article

Jennifer Jensen Wallach

civil rights activist and religious leader. Hubert Gerold “H. Rap” Brown was born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, in 1943. He attended Southern University in Baton Rouge, studying sociology from 1960 to 1964. He then relocated to Washington, D.C., where he became chairman of the Nonviolent Action Group (NAG), a civil rights organization. During his brief tenure with the NAG, Brown attended a high-profile meeting with President Lyndon B. Johnson. Much to the chagrin of more moderate black leaders, Brown refused to show deference to the president, instead rebuking him for the state of American race relations.

In 1966 Brown joined the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), becoming director of the Alabama Project. In 1967 at the age of twenty three he was elected chairman of the organization Brown led SNCC in a transition away from the nonviolent philosophy of the early days of the civil ...

Article

Cary D. Wintz

law enforcement officer, mayor, cabinet secretary, and professor. Lee Brown is best known as a high-profile law enforcement officer who held the position of chief of police or its equivalent in four major U.S. cities, served in President Bill Clinton's cabinet as drug czar, and was the first black mayor of Houston, Texas.

Lee Patrick Brown was born in Wewoka, Oklahoma, on 4 October 1937 to Andrew and Zelma Brown, who worked as farm laborers. When Brown was five the family moved to Fowler, California, about ten miles south of Fresno. As a child Brown often joined his parents in the fields, picking crops. But he also stayed in school, and he attended Fresno State University on a football scholarship, studying sociology and criminology.

In 1960 one semester before graduation Brown left college and took a job as a patrolman with the San Jose ...

Article

Caryn E. Neumann

a black teenager whose death at the hands of a white police officer sparked weeks of rioting in the St Louis Missouri suburb of Ferguson The son of Lesley McSpadden and Michael Brown Sr Brown came from a poor background He sold candy in middle school to make money Brown attended the predominantly black Normandy High School in Wellston St Louis County in the large and poverty stricken Normandy School District In his freshman year he joined Junior ROTC In his sophomore year Brown played football along with some of his friends For his junior year Brown attended McCluer High School in the neighboring Ferguson Florissant district before returning to Normandy By the time that he finished high school Brown stood 6 feet 4 inches and weighed 292 pounds Described by teachers as a gentle giant Brown had no reputation for causing trouble A quiet boy with a sharp sense ...

Article

Joseph Wilson and David Addams

a central figure in the civil rights and human rights movement in the United States as an activist, attorney, and scholar. Born in New York City in 1940, William Haywood Burns helped integrate the swimming pool in Peekskill, New York, at fifteen years of age and was a leader in the struggle for human rights and civil rights over the next four decades. He graduated from Harvard College in 1962. As a law student at Yale University, he participated in the 1964 Freedom Summer in Mississippi. He already had authored The Voices of Negro Protest (1963), which critiqued the leadership and mass character of the civil rights movement, and throughout his career he contributed chapters to other books. He was assistant counsel to the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund in the late 1960s. Later he served as general counsel to Martin Luther King Jr.'s ...

Article

Dorsia Smith Silva

the son of Tanya Carson. He was raised by his maternal grandmother, Julia Carson, because his father did not want to be involved in his life and his mother suffered from schizophrenia. André grew up in a political household: his grandmother Julia served in the Indiana House of Representatives from 1972 to 1976 and the Indiana Senate from 1976 to 1990. She was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives for Indiana’s 10th District, covering Indianapolis, in 1997. After redistricting in 2003 she represented Indiana’s 7th district, which included much of her old seat.

While attending Arsenal Technical High School in his native city, André developed an interest in law enforcement. Carson continued studying this field by obtaining a Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice management from Concordia University Wisconsin in 2003 Two years later he obtained a Master s degree in Business Management from Indiana ...

Article

Boyd Childress

lawyer, jurist, and ardent civil rights activist who has worked for equal rights since high school. Carter was born in Careyville, Florida, but his family moved to Newark, New Jersey, soon after his birth. When Carter was one year old, his father died, leaving his mother (who worked as a domestic) to raise eight children. As a senior at East Orange High School, Carter successfully ended segregation of the school's swimming pool (a hollow victory as the school closed the pool rather than integrate). Although encounters with racism did not discourage the youthful Carter, he admitted that he was delusional to think that race was irrelevant. Graduating from historically black Lincoln University in 1937 and Howard Law School in 1940, Carter earned a master's degree in law from Columbia (1941). At Howard, Carter met Dean William Hastie who was a mentor to Carter later ...

Article

Eric Montgomery

“Paris is lovely. It is beautiful it is lush and wonderful. I would gladly trade it all for a corner at 41st Street & Central Ave” —John Kinloch

The United States is a nation of movement, with the population expanding and contracting in regions as a result of technological, societal, and economic changes. With each significant change came opportunities for mobility both socially and geographically—there was no time that this was truer than during World War II. As the war continued, defense production in the United States grew exponentially and there was a surge in need for labor in automobile, rubber, and steel factories. As a result, there was a second great migration as more than 5 million African Americans migrated from the South to the Northeast, Midwest, and West in search of work.

Los Angeles was given more than $11 billion in war contracts and saw its African American ...

Article

Daniel Donaghy

lawyer. Johnnie L. Cochran Jr. was born in Shreveport, Louisiana, to Johnnie L. Cochran, an insurance company executive, and Hattie Cochran. The great-grandson of a slave, Cochran grew up in an affluent and loving family that moved to California when his father accepted a position at Golden State Mutual Life Insurance Company. Cochran was an exceptional student in high school as well as at the University of California at Los Angeles, where he earned a bachelor's degree in 1959. While an undergraduate, he sold insurance policies for his father's company to support himself.

In 1963 Cochran graduated from Loyola Marymount University Law School and passed the California bar exam He took his first job as a lawyer that year as a deputy city criminal prosecutor for the city of Los Angeles After two years he joined the private practice of a criminal attorney named Gerald Lenoir before ...

Article

Jared A. Ball

The reach of the FBI's Counter Intelligence Program, or COINTELPRO, extended to all so-called dissident groups, including the American Indian Movement (AIM), the Communist Party, the Socialist Workers Party, and all those considered part of the New Left. But it was the black nationalist groups, particularly the Black Panther Party, that suffered most from COINTELPRO. Indeed, COINTELPRO set very specific goals with regard to African Americans:

For maximum effectiveness of the Counterintelligence Program and to prevent wasted effort long range goals are being set 1 Prevent the coalition of militant black nationalist groups 2 Prevent the rise of a messiah who could unify and electrify the militant black nationalist movement 3 Prevent violence on the part of black nationalist groups 4 Prevent militant black nationalist groups and leaders from gaining respectability by discrediting them 5 A final goal should be to prevent the long range growth of militant black nationalist ...

Article

Brian Purnell

David Simon, a reporter with the Baltimore Sun, author of the book Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets, and creator of the hit television series The Wire, also wrote The Corner: A Year in the Life of an Inner-City Neighborhood (1997). Simon partnered with coauthor Edward Burns, a retired Baltimore Police Department detective, to write this book. While a work of eyewitness journalism, The Corner fits into a genre of urban sociology and anthropology that examines urban crime, violence, poverty, untaxed work, family structures, policing, and imprisonment effects.

The Corner takes place during 1993 Burns and Simon spent over a year hanging out in neighborhoods of West Baltimore and gaining the confidence of local residents in order to write a book on how the trade of illegal narcotics shaped everyday urban life in America The book is divided into four sections winter ...

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Eric W. Rise

The history of the criminal justice system has been closely linked to the African American experience in the twentieth century. In the wake of emancipation, southern states turned to the criminal justice system to perform social control functions previously served by slavery. After the civil rights movement of the mid-twentieth century, politicians used the language of crime control to signify lingering racial animosities. In the meantime blacks were arrested, convicted, and incarcerated in numbers far greater than would be predicted based on their representation in the total population. In 1940 the Uniform Crime Reports compiled by the Federal Bureau of Investigation reported that the arrest rate for serious felonies was 17 per thousand for blacks compared to 6 per thousand for whites. By 1978 those rates had climbed to 100 per thousand for blacks and 35 per thousand for whites. In 1923 blacks constituted about 10 percent of the ...

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Joseph Wilson

a leading African American attorney, judge, and congressman from Detroit, Michigan. Born and raised in Jacksonville, Florida, George Crockett graduated from Morehouse College and the University of Michigan Law School. Subsequently he started a law practice and later was a cofounder of the National Lawyers Guild, the nation's first racially integrated lawyers' organization which he then served as vice president. In 1939, Crockett became the first African American attorney in the United States Department of Labor and, later, in the Federal Employment Practices Commission. In 1943, he directed the United Auto Workers' Fair Practices Commission, which sought to prevent white workers from engaging in “hate” strikes designed to bar black workers from working in auto plants.

In 1946 in Detroit, he helped form the country's first integrated law firm (Goodman, Eden, Crockett and Robb) and served as a partner until 1966. In 1949 Crockett was sentenced ...

Article

Jesse J. Esparza

In 1991, the flames of racial discord engulfed a Brooklyn neighborhood. On 19 August of that year, a station wagon driven by a Hasidic man, Yosef Lifsh, swerved onto a sidewalk killing a seven-year-old black child, Gavin Cato, and injuring his cousin Angela Cato. Three hours later, a Jewish scholar, Yankel Rosenbaum, surrounded by a group of black youth, was robbed and stabbed four times. Following the attack, officers nabbed several suspects and brought them to the victim, who lay dying on the hood of a car. Rosenbaum was able to identify Lemrick Nelson Jr. as one of his attackers. Nelson was arrested and taken to the 71st precinct, where, according to the testimonies of detectives, he confessed to stabbing Rosenbaum.

Following the two deaths the neighborhood of Crown Heights Brooklyn experienced four days of rioting firebombings and mass demonstrations Vehicles were smashed burned and ...