I had the great fortune to grow up during the 1960s when change was so palpable the air buzzed with excitement and electricity. I also had the privilege of living in a town I called Berserkeley which was quite close to the birth place of THE BLACK PANTHER PARTY. I didn't miss a chance to demonstrate my support for the Panthers, yelling "The Sky Is The Limit" and "Free Huey". Perhaps I would have had an even better chance to show my support in Los Angeles where the headquarters of the Panthers was raided by the police in 1969 [Cointelpro]. So many revolutionaries of great courage. Or perhaps Chicago where I wished I could have stopped the assassination of Fred Hampton and Mark Clark.
Yet the one who stuck most in my memory at the time was H. Rap Brown, now known as Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin. In researching this slight post on a very complex subject I found out that Jamil Al-Amin is very ill with cancer and is not being treated for it while he languishes in jail for a crime he didn't commit.
And tomorrow I am going to a manifestation for Leonard Peltier, another political prisoner who is very ill and not getting proper treatment in our jails. FREE LEONARD PELTIER.
So who was H. Rap Brown? And why is it so difficult to find out anything about him online. He was born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and eventually succeeded Stokely Carmichael (Kwame Toure) as head of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee - SNCC. In the south he organized voter registration drives, freedom schools, and cooperatives and is credited with laying the basis for Black political power in those areas. Eventually Both Carmichael and Brown rejected integration and instead advocated for BLACK POWER in 1966. "Violence is as American as apple pie." Brown famously stated. Here is a video that I hope you will watch to really get an understanding of the man.
Black Agenda Report is one of the most reliable sources of African American history and current life that exists. Here is their information about H. Rap Brown leading up to his current situation. He was known to confront drug traffickers to keep them out of the neighborhood. Yet the police attacked him and he spent five years in jail. It was there that he converted to Islam, taking the name Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin. As Al-Amin he organized business enterprises, a mosque, youth sports leagues and was a leading light of the Muslim community. Despite this he continued to be persecuted and falsely accused, lastly of murder, although another man confessed to the killing. [Exactly what happened to Leonard Peltier.] He was convicted and sentence to life without parole.
From Black Agenda Report managing editor Bruce Dixon: "Once you earn the lasting ire of police authorities in the US, you don't lose it, not even after your conviction and incarceration. Prison officials apparently regarded Al-Amin's presence in a maximum security Georgia prison, near his family, congregation and a community which widely disputed his guilt, a threat. So over the objections of some prominent African American political figures, they hurriedly transferred El Amin in the dead of night to the remote federal supermax prison of Florence, Colorado, despite the fact that he has never been accused, let alone convicted of any federal offense. In Florence he never sees direct sunlight, and inmates are typically allowed only a few communications with the outside per month.
Iman Jamil Al-Amin's life and work, and the way in which he was singled out for repeated attempts at false conviction, along with his highly questionable trial and his uniquely savage handoff into federal custody absent any federal offense plainly mark him as a political prisoner." Al-Amin is now 70 years old and suffering from cancer and the effects of solitary confinement. After a visit from Former Attorney General Ramsey Clark and his wife Attorney Karima Al-Amin, the prison authorities finally took a blood test which indicated he has multiple myeloma, cancer of the plasma cells, and needs a bone marrow biopsy. Wikipedia has an update on his status: On October 21, 2007, Al-Amin was transferred to the ADX Florence supermax prison in Florence, Colorado. Having been diagnosed with multiple myeloma, Al-Amin was transferred on July 18, 2014 to Butner FMC Federal Medical Center in North Carolina.However, today, on February 1, 2016, this Editor(JMD,Sr.), discovered that Al-Amin was transferred to the USP, Tucson, Arizona, on or about December 19, 2015. We need to find out what more can be done to get him the health care he needs. He can be written to at his latest address: USP Tucson United States Penitentiary, P.O. Box 24550, Tucson, AZ 85734. Please understand that Jamil Al-Amin is beloved by people who know him and has contributed so much to the lives of people in our country.
Some updates can be found here: https://www.causes.com/campaigns/5158-the-forgotten-imam-jamil-abdullah-al-amin-h-rap-brown There is also a petition to sign.
An interview with Attorney Karima Al-Amin, his wife: http://sfbayview.com/2014/06/free-imam-jamil-al-amin-his-wife-attorney-karima-al-amin-tells-of-the-us-47-year-campaign-to-silence-h-rap-brown/
Cointelpro explained: http://www.democracynow.org/topics/cointelpro
A list of H. Rap Brown's books: http://www.amazon.com/s?ie=UTF8&page=1&rh=n%3A283155%2Cp_27%3AH.%20Rap%20Brown