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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 ...


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 ...


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 ...


J. B. Danquah was one of the founders of the modern state of Ghana. He cofounded the country’s first nationalist party in 1947. Danquah led the opposition to Kwame Nkrumah after Nkrumah became the country’s leading nationalist figure. To silence Danquah, Nkrumah had him confined to prison, where Danquah died under miserable conditions.

By birth, Danquah belonged to the royal family of Akyem Abuakwa, a province of Asante. He attended Basel Mission Schools in Akyem Abuakwa. Subsequently, he studied in London, England, where he received a law degree and a Ph.D. in ethics in 1927. Danquah returned to the then British colony of the Gold Coast (now Ghana), where he practiced law privately. In 1931 he founded the Times of West Africa, which became a leading newspaper.

Danquah s editorial writing led him into politics in opposition to British colonial repression and exploitation During the ...


Born to Senegalese parents in present-day Mali, Guèye fought in France during World War I and remained to study law. Guèye returned to Senegal in 1922. The first black lawyer in French-speaking Africa, he was elected mayor of Saint-Louis in 1925. From 1931 to 1934 he served as a magistrate on the island of Réunion in the Indian Ocean. In 1935 Guèye, an opponent of French colonialism, assumed leadership of the Parti Socialiste Sénégalais (PSS). He focused on recruiting the educated elite and made the PSS into the first modern political party in French-speaking Africa. In 1936 he affiliated the PSS with the French Socialist Party (SFIO). Guèye promoted Léopold Senghor’s career, and both men won seats representing Senegal in the French Constituent Assembly in 1945 and 1946 As a member of the Assembly Guèye helped secure eligibility for French citizenship for all colonial subjects ...


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 ...


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 ...


Larvester Gaither

Muslim minister and black nationalist leader. Born in Omaha, Nebraska, as Malcolm Little and later also known as El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz, Malcolm X arose from a childhood marred by racial violence and poverty to become of one of the most admired African American political leaders of the twentieth century. He articulated radical ideas on racial solidarity, self-defense, and Pan-Africanism during the same period in which Martin Luther King Jr. and other mainstream civil rights leaders emphasized integration and nonviolence.

Malcolm s father Earl Little a Baptist minister born in Reynolds Georgia was a devoted follower of Marcus Garvey the early twentieth century black nationalist leader and cofounder of the Universal Negro Improvement Association UNIA based in Harlem New York City While Little served as president of the local Omaha Nebraska branch of UNIA Malcolm s mother Louise Little a Grenadian born immigrant of racially mixed ancestry served as a ...


James Graham

Adopted name of Malcolm Little, also known by his Muslim name, el‐Hajj Malik el‐Shabazz (1925–1965), influential black nationalist. Raised in a Baptist family but bereaved of both parents at an early age, Malcolm's troubled childhood and adolescence is vividly retold in the posthumous best‐selling Autobiography (1965). It was during his imprisonment for burglary (1946–52) that Malcolm discovered the Islamic faith which was to become the driving force in his life. For the next eleven years he dedicated himself to the cause of race pride and black nationalism, spreading the teachings of Elijah Muhammad and the influence of his organization, the Black Muslim sect (later to become the Nation of Islam). In 1964 Malcolm left the organization and formed his own group the Organization of Afro American Unity It was in the following years of antipathy between Malcolm and his former leader and followers ...


Robin D. Kelley

Malcolm X (Malcolm Little; later El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz) has been characterized in many ways: Pan-Africanist, father of Black Power, religious fanatic, closet conservative, incipient socialist, and a menace to society. The meaning of his public life—his politics and ideology—is contested in part because his entire body of work consists of a few dozen speeches and a collaborative autobiography whose veracity is often challenged. Gunned down three months before his fortieth birthday, Malcolm X's life was cut short just when his thinking had reached a critical juncture.

Malcolm's life is a Horatio Alger story with a twist. His is not a “rags to riches” tale but a powerful narrative of self-transformation from petty hustler to internationally known political leader. Born in Omaha, Nebraska, the son of Louise and Earl Little, the latter a Baptist preacher and activist in Marcus Garvey's Universal Negro Improvement Association ...


J. Scrimgeour

Born Malcolm Little (and later also known as el-Hajj Malik el-Shabazz) in Omaha, Nebraska, on 19 May 1925, Malcolm X was the fourth of eight children of the Reverend Earl Little and his wife, Louise. Soon after Malcolm's birth the Littles moved to the outskirts of East Lansing, Michigan. When Malcolm was six, his father died, presumably murdered by the Black Legion, a violent racist group similar to the Ku Klux Klan, and the Little home life became more and more difficult. Louise was eventually placed in the state mental hospital, and her children were declared wards of the state. In 1941 Malcom moved to Boston to live with his half sister, Ella He became caught up in the nightlife of Boston and later New York After a few years in the underworld of Harlem selling drugs and working for call girl services Malcolm began a burglary ...


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 ...


Todd Steven Burroughs

a leader of the Black Power movement and a scholar. As one of the cofounders of the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense (BPP), Newton became an internationally recognized leader of America's left-wing political forces and a symbol of black radicalism. While he was in jail, the BPP grew into an organization of local chapters and branches across the United States.

Huey Percy Newton was born in Monroe, Louisiana. He attended college part-time in Oakland, California, between 1959 and 1965, studying psychology and philosophy. He was inspired by Malcolm X, whom he had heard speak at a local high school in the early 1960s, and as a result became a student activist.

The BPP, which Newton came to symbolize, formed after the assassination of Malcolm X in 1965. Asking permission to use the black panther symbol from the Lowndes County Freedom Organization, Newton and his friend Bobby Seale ...


Marian Aguiar

Born in New Orleans, Louisiana, Huey Newton grew up in Oakland, California, a place that would become the West Coast center of the American Black Nationalist movement. While attending Merritt College in Oakland, he met Bobby Seale, and the two began to work together on a project to diversify the school's curriculum. Inspired by nationalist struggles in the Third World and revolutionaries such as Fidel Castro and Mao Zedong, Newton became critical of the racist oppression of blacks in the United States and the capitalist system he saw as underpinning that exploitation.

As a response to the condition of black America, Newton and Seale founded the Black Panther Party for Self Defense later simply called the Black Panther Party We want land bread housing education clothing justice and peace concluded the organization s ten point program which Newton coauthored Patrolling black neighborhoods with shotguns which were ...


Kathleen N. Cleaver

leader of the Black Panther Party, was born Huey Percy Newton in Monroe, Louisiana, the son of Amelia Johnson Newton and Walter Newton, a sharecropper and Baptist preacher. Walter Newton so admired Louisiana's populist governor Huey P. Long that he named his seventh and youngest son after him A proud powerful man Newton defied the regional convention that forced most black women into domestic service and never allowed his wife to work outside the home He always juggled several jobs to support his large family Like thousands of black southerners drawn to employment in the war industries the Newtons migrated to California during the 1940s Settling in Oakland the close knit family struggled to shelter young Huey but could not stop the mores of the ghetto from shaping his life Years later those same ghetto neighborhoods became the springboard of the Black Panther Party that thrust Newton ...


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 ...


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 ...


Charles Rosenberg

the first mayor of Oakland, California (and the first Alameda Superior Court judge) of African descent, and an active member of the East Bay Democratic Club, was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, the son of Jules and Louise Wilson. His father was a carpenter and plasterer.

The family moved to Oakland in 1918 when Wilson was three years old, at the urging of a maternal uncle, Ponce Barrios, who had found work in the shipyards. Living first with Barrios, the family settled in the northern end of West Oakland between 28th and 32nd streets, near Myrtle, Chestnut, and Linden. The Wilsons had five more children in Oakland. Wilson later recalled that schools in the neighborhood were predominantly attended by children of Portuguese, Italian, and Irish ethnic families, with 10 to 15 percent African Americans.

In 1932 Wilson graduated from McClymonds High School and entered the University of California ...


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 ...