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W. S. Tkweme

militant political activist and religious leader, was born Hubert Geroid Brown in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, the youngest child and second son of Eddie C. Brown, a laborer for Esso Standard Oil, and Thelma Warren, a teacher. According to his own account, Brown was a rebel from the earliest days against the color biases of his community as well as the authoritarianism and Eurocentric curricula of the schools in Baton Rouge. He identified with youth street culture and its heroes, whose verbal and physical jousting he extolled in his 1970 memoir Die Nigger Die! His facility at signifying or “playing the dozens” earned Brown the “Rap” sobriquet that he was to carry throughout the first phase of his public career.Brown attended Southern University in Baton Rouge from 1961 to 1963 but dropped out to pursue his growing interest in the civil rights movement Following his brother Ed whose ...

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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 ...

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Alonford James Robinson

Hubert Brown was born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. In 1962 he dropped out of Southern University to join the Nonviolent Action Group (NAG) at Howard University. In 1965 he became chairman of NAG. Labeled an extremist by the media for his nationalist views, Brown was an outspoken advocate of Black Power in the United States. In May 1967, when Stokely Carmichael stepped down, Brown was elected national chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC).

That same year, Brown was charged by the states of Maryland and Ohio with inciting violence. He was harassed by the police and targeted by the Counterintelligence Program (COINTELPRO) of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). While under indictment, Brown was arrested for transporting weapons across state lines. He resigned as SNCC chairman in 1968 Later that year he was sentenced to five years in prison on federal weapons charges ...

Article

Steven J. Niven

emigrationist and militant, was born near Pine Bluffs in Copiah County, Mississippi, the fourth of ten children of Jasper Charles and Mariah (maiden name unknown), sharecroppers. Though Robert never lived under slavery, the exigencies of the crop-lien system ensured that his family remained heavily in debt to their landlord and to the local furnishing merchant.-Thus Jasper Charles could neither expand his holdings nor leave them. The family supplemented its-meager earnings by fishing and by hunting the bountiful small game to be found in the nearby pine forests. Although we know few details of Robert Charles's early life, it seems probable that he gained his proficiency with a rifle in the piney groves of Copiah County.

The adolescent Charles witnessed the erosion of African American citizenship rights that had been established during Reconstruction. His father was a loyal Republican and even sat on local juries throughout the 1870s. In 1883 ...

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Jocelyn L. Womack

activist, educator, and lawyer, was born Kathleen Neal in Dallas, Texas, to Ernest Neal and Juette Johnson, educators. Activism and scholarship were staples of the Neal family home, as both of her parents held advanced degrees. Ernest and Juette met while attending the University of Michigan in the 1940s. Juette held a master's degree in mathematics, and Ernest earned a PhD in Sociology. Ernest was working as a Wiley College sociology professor in Marshall, Texas, at the time of Kathleen's birth.

Shortly after Kathleen s birth Ernest accepted a job at Tuskegee Institute relocating the family to Alabama In addition to Kathleen s early exposure to academia her father s work in foreign aid promoted a family environment in which social progress was frequently discussed At the age of nine Kathleen had already embarked upon a life of global travel and had an appreciation of diverse cultures Her father ...

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Candace Cardwell

attorney and political activist. Born in Dallas, Texas, Kathleen Neal Cleaver was the first child of Ernest Neal and Juette Johnson Neal. Her father was in the foreign service and the family lived in India, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and the Philippines. When Cleaver returned to the United States, she enrolled in a boarding school near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She attended Oberlin College in Ohio and later transferred to Barnard College in New York.

In 1966 Cleaver left college to work for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). At a SNCC conference at Fisk University in Tennessee, she met Eldridge Cleaver, the minister of information for the Black Panther Party (BPP). Attracted by the party's radical approach to social change, she left SNCC and joined the Black Panthers. She married Eldridge Cleaver on 27 December 1967.

As the national communications secretary for the BPP, Kathleen Cleaver ...

Article

James Thomas III Jones

chairman of the Chicago branch of the Black Panther Party (BPP) for Self-Defense, was born in Chicago, Illinois, and raised in Maywood, a suburban community located to the east of the city. Hampton's parents, migrants from Louisiana, had secured work at the Argo Starch Company. Hampton was an excellent athlete, and his athletic accomplishments were exceeded by his academic prowess. The Chicago area youth displayed his mental prowess via his matriculation from high school with honors in 1966.

Coming of age in the racially charged crucible of Chicago politics Hampton a prelaw student at Triton Junior College witnessed the civil rights movement in the South as a potential solution to his worsening urban environs As a teen Hampton adopted a posture of nonviolent civil disobedience and assumed leadership of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People s West Suburban Branch Youth Council in Chicago However by the ...

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Norman O. Richmond

Black Panther spokesman assassinated in a police raid. Fred Hampton came from a stable black working-class family, but he said that he identified with the “wretched of the earth.” At age thirteen, he joined the youth chapter of the Maywood, Illinois, NAACP and was elected president. The chapter went from seventeen to seven hundred members under Hampton's leadership. By the age of twenty he had become a prominent member of one of the most militant political organizations in the history of the United States, the Black Panther Party (BPP), and was scheduled to become the Panthers’ chief of staff.

Hampton's leadership role in the BPP made him a target of government harassment and surveillance. The 4 December 1969 raid in which Hampton was assassinated occurred after a police informer named William O'Neal cooked dinner for the Panthers at Hampton s apartment and slipped a large dose of secobarbital into ...

Article

David Dabydeen

Adopted name of Michael de Freitas (1933–1975), black revolutionary and civil rights activist in London. Michael X was born in Trinidad to a Portuguese father and Barbadian mother. He immigrated to London in 1957 and lived in the Notting Hill area. Before converting to Islam, Michael X, who was also known by the name of Michael Abdul Malik, was a pimp and a hustler, similar to his idol Malcolm X. He founded the Racial Adjustment Action Society and in 1967 became the first person to be imprisoned under England's Race Relations Act. Michael X's impulsive nature resulted in several convictions, among them an eighteen‐month jail sentence for advocating the shooting of black women who were seen in the company of white men. He argued for the congregation of Blacks in social communes. In 1969 he was given money to start a commune in Islington but ...

Article

Andrew Smith

author, former gang member, was born Kody Scott in south central Los Angeles, the fifth of six children of Birdie M. Scott and the only one fathered by professional football player Dick Bass. Shakur was the godson of musician Ray Charles. He was a formative member of the Crip gang from the age of eleven. He joined his set (chapter) of the Crips, the Eight-Tray Gangsters, in June 1975.

The Eight-Tray Gangsters organized in 1974, but the Crip gang to which they belonged began in the wake of the 1965 Watts rebellion. The riots in Watts exposed police brutality and aggravated racial tensions in south central Los Angeles. Between 1968 and 1969Raymond Washington founded the Crips at Fremont High School in Watts and persuaded Stanley “Tookie” Williams and “Godfather” Jimel Barnes from Washington High School in Los Angeles to follow Barnes affirmed that ...

Article

Tekla Ali Johnson

minister of information for the Black Panther Party of Omaha, Nebraska, and political prisoner, was born David Lewis Rice in Omaha, Nebraska, to Vera (Black) Rice and Otis Rice. We Langa graduated from Creighton Preparatory School in 1965 and for the next two years he took classes at Creighton University He was active for a short while in the Nebraska Democratic Party but grew increasingly discouraged over the continued oppression of African Americans in North Omaha Nebraska and soon began writing social commentary for alternative newspapers Police violence in the segregated community led to protests by young African Americans in North Omaha including we Langa Amid mounting police violence in Omaha during the 1960s a local branch of the Black Panther Party formed Its leaders declared their intention to serve as surveyors of police activities to document incidents of physical and verbal abuse and defend Nebraska s African American ...

Article

Maurice Possley

was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, the eldest of six children of Ruby Edwards Mable, a barmaid, and Leroy Woodfox, owner of a dry cleaning business. Woodfox grew up in the Treme neighborhood of New Orleans. He was arrested at fifteen for charging drivers to park their cars and dropped out of school while in the tenth grade. He then went to jail again at age seventeen after he was caught in a stolen car. At age twenty he was convicted of robbing a bar. After he was sentenced to fifty years in prison, he escaped from the courthouse and went to New York City in 1969 where he met members of the Black Panther Party for the first time After only a few days he went to pick up winnings from a bookmaker was beaten and subsequently arrested by the police While in The Tombs the Manhattan detention ...