Tag Archives: jail

Happy Birthday H. Rap Brown

3In the 1960s, during civil rights movement, there were several leaders of note. Most fell into two very distinct factions; there were the non-violent faction and the more aggressive revolutionary wing of the movement. As we all know, it did not matter which faction the leader participated in “they all were either killed or jailed.” One of the more aggressive and outspoken leaders from the revolutionary side was H. Rap Brown! He is famously known for statements like “Burn Baby Burn.”

His government name was Hubert Gerold Brown before changing it to H. Rap Brown and one of the most outspoken faces of the Black Power Movement. He served as chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and as their Minister of Justice during the short-lived alliance between SNCC and the Black Panther Party. He became famous for his proclamations during that period saying “violence is as American as cherry pie,” as well as once stating that “If America don’t come around, we’re gonna burn it down”. He is also the author of his autobiography “Die Nigga Die!”

Brown like most of the so-called black radicals appeared on Hoover’s Ten Most Wanted list and was added after avoiding trial on charges of inciting a riot and of carrying a gun across state lines. Brown disappeared for 18 months and arrested after a reported shootout with officers. The shootout occurred after what was said to be an attempted robbery of a bar in 1971 in New York. His attorneys in the gun violation case were civil rights advocate Murphy Bell of Baton Rouge, and the self-described “radical lawyer” William Kunstler. Brown was scheduled to be tried in Cambridge, but the trial was moved to Bel Air, Maryland on a change of venue.

On March 9, 1970, two SNCC officials, Ralph Featherstone and William (“Che”) Payne, died on U.S. Route 1 south of Bel Air, Maryland, when a bomb on the front floorboard of their car exploded, completely destroying the car and dismembering both occupants. Theories of the origin of the bomb were disputed. Some say it was planted in an assassination attempt, others say it was intentionally carried by Payne to be used at the courthouse where Brown was to be tried. The next night the Cambridge courthouse was bombed.

He spent five years in Attica Prison after a robbery conviction. While in prison, Brown converted to Islam and changed his name from Hubert Gerold Brown to Jamil Abdullah al-Amin. After his release, he opened a grocery store in Atlanta, Georgia. He became a Muslim spiritual leader and community activist preaching against drugs and gambling in Atlanta’s West End neighborhood.

He is currently serving a life sentence for murder following the 2000 shooting of two Fulton County Sheriff’s deputies, both black, who were trying to serve a warrant on him. One deputy, Ricky Kinchen, died in the shooting. On March 9, 2002, nearly two years after the shooting took place, al-Amin was convicted of 13 criminal charges, including the murder of Deputy Kinchen. Four days later, he was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. He was sent to Georgia State Prison, the state’s maximum security facility later transferred to ADX Florence Supermax prison in Colorado.

He believed “there is no in between, you’re either free or you’re a slave”. I agree!!! And that’s my thought provoking perspective…


The Biggest Issue Of Our Time

2In today’s world, everyone with an issue feels their issue is the biggest issue we face. The LBGT community calls their issue the “New Civil Rights” issue. There are many who say it is health care; others will say it Women’s Rights”; still others will say its “Race” and the list goes on and on… Now, equality is involved in the grievances of whoever has an issue. I agree with all who face discrimination! However, I happen to believe, notwithstanding anyone’s issue, that the biggest issue we face as humans is that of “Income Equality.”

Regardless of where you live without money, you are a slave. Let me ask, when was the last time you got a pay raise. Facts indicate that the income for what we commonly refer to as the 1% have increased significantly and often. Here in America the imposed Free Trade Agreements foster low wages because sending jobs offshore significantly impede both jobs and wages. This is not just an American issue – it is a worldwide concern.

In his “apostolic exhortation,” Pope Francis recently stated that “today we… have to say ‘thou shalt not’ to an economy of exclusion and inequality.” President Obama has remarked that the result of technological, social and political change “is an economy that’s become profoundly unequal and families that are more insecure.” These two men are the two most powerful men in the world; the Pope and the president saying the same thing and neither does anything about it.

Between 1870 and 2000, distribution of incomes of world households became hugely unequal. What does not seem to matter where you were born wealth remains with a relatively few people. If global inequality has indeed fallen, that would be the first time in two centuries. Any small reduction in inequality is the consequence of two off-setting forces: relatively fast growth of average incomes in some very large poor countries, notably China and India, and rising inequality within almost all countries, notably including China.

The level of concentration of income in America has not been constant throughout its history. The rich get richer, and the poor get poorer! Going back to the early 20th Century, when income statistics started to become available, there has been a “great economic arc” from high inequality “to relative equality and back again,” in the words of Nobel laureate economist Paul Krugman. In a New York Times editorial, Krugman suggests that those numbers do indeed show that today the top 10 percent now has half of all U.S. income.

In 1915, an era in which the Rockefellers and Carnegie dominated American industry, the richest 1% of Americans earned roughly 18% of all income. By 2007, the top 1 percent account for 24% of all income. In between, their share fell below 10% for only three decades. Concerning the nation’s wealth, rather than income as of 2011; the top 1 percent control 40 percent of all wealth.

At the same time, the federal minimum wage for American workers is $7.50 per hour. Unemployment has remained around 8% for a decade. The government cuts assistance for help to the needy in both unemployment and food stamp programs. The recent presidential candidate actually said, 47% of Americans he could forget and they did not count.

Let me leave you with this: there was a horrible system sanctioned by the government called slavery. In comparing the way the system is working for most Americans is very much like slavery with the difference being the new masters practices what I called the Judas Principle – no conscience and they have sold their souls for… SILVER! Therefore, the age old practice of divide and conquer works as we see on group pitted against another. When the real issue, the common issue, we all face is “Income and Equality.” And that’s my thought provoking perspective…

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Prison System: The New Apartheid

jail

In recent years, we have witnessed torture inflicted upon people supposedly to protect America. Black people are supposed to be American’s but the state, kills about one black person each week. I’m not talking about the wars abroad supposedly to bring freedom, rather right here on American soil where racism was born. In nearly every city in America black people are victims of abuse at the hands of the police, vigilantes, and murdered that seems to most often go unnoticed by the justice system.

For example, there was the assassination of a young black child in Florida, Travon Martin, which was similar to little Emmett Till over a half century ago. Also, let’s not forget Oscar Grant and Jordon Davis, Michael Brown and Eric Gardner, and so many more that have fallen victim having their rights violated to the point of death.

The Klan is on the rise, and most conservative lawmakers are trying to turn back the hands of time. During this month in the year of our Lord 2015, black people still face the evils of those who are sick, like a Bull Connor, with the seemingly incurable disease of racism. The mass incarceration rate of people of color and minorities are at an unprecedented rate; only compared to the captured soul’s once held in the evil system of slavery.

The Constitution and Western jurisprudence, going back to the Magna Carta and before, do not require a person accused of a crime to prove his or her innocence. The burden of proof is on the prosecutors to convince a jury of one’s “peers” to unanimously agree on guilt “beyond a reasonable doubt.” Not if you are black!

The odds were stacked against minorities and African Americans in particular, from the beginning. This is evident today because black men are sentenced to jail in astounding numbers with extremely long sentences compared to people of the other hue for the same crimes.

I was struck by something Hip-hop duo Dead Prez once said, “Behind me on the wall it says this place is a place of hallowed justice, it should say this is a place of hollow justice, there’s no justice. We’re right in front of the injustice department because for over 40 years we’ve seen Mumia Abu Jamal get no justice, we’ve seen Eddy Conway, we’ve seen Mutulu Shakur, we’ve seen Herman Bell, we’ve seen Jalil Muntaqim, and countless other colonial subjects shot down by the police departments inside this country, no justice.”

Some might say this is “Modern Lynching” or as Michelle Alexander calls it “The New Jim Crow”. It could also be called “American Apartheid”! Today, the prison industry is traded on the Stock Exchange. Did you know that the place where the Stock Exchange exists was once a place where slaves were sold? When laws are made to support the interests of an industry that is designed for profit and to benefit its stockholders; there is not much difference in the once profitable slave industry.

Right now, the United States represents five-percent of the world’s population but incarcerate twenty-five percent of the world’s prisoners. And guess which group of people is disproportionately represented in the American criminal injustice system – Just Us. Black people represent a large number of what I call the modern slaves, but the system calls them Felons. Yeah, some kind of “Liberty”!

Lift every voice and demand justice, thereby remove the stigma of “Just Us”. And that’s my Thought Provoking Perspective…


To The People Of African Heritage

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The so-called Negro was created by the so-called American patriots has had only one desire since being removed from Africa, and that was to obtain equality and to experience what they call “liberty.” African Americans simply asked America to honor the promise of freedom that they claim comes with liberty.

I’ll quote Dr. King, who said, “We were been given a blank check”, and we would like to cash it – paid in full. Let’s be very clear, people of African descent are the only immigrates to come to this country against their will only to be forced into a life of bondage that was true then and is now immoral. It was not only an American shame but for all that benefited must wear the burden of the “sins of their fathers”.

Let me be clear, “A Negro” was created by the wretched souls that arrived on this land that would become America to lay claim to land that wasn’t even theirs. When I say, created I mean there was no such culture or nationality anywhere on earth before Europeans took the captives from Africa and brought them to America. The result was creating a nation of people placed in a strange land to live without a nationality. This was done specifically through the constitution and legislative laws sanctioned by the government.

From the very beginning, the Africans resisted their captivity and bondage, which was to include the ungodly trip across the Atlantic that history calls the Mid-Passage. Once the captives arrived on land, be it in America or the Caribbean, there was rebellion. There were many movements to obtain the promise of freedom like the Abolitionist Movement and Civil Rights Movements in varying forms and yes, there were many great leaders born to affect change but were killed by the wretched system during slavery and segregation. Or maybe I should say to maintain the system of “White Supremacy”! I won’t say many of these courageous “freedom fighters” all failed, but I will say they did not succeed because equal treatment, particularly under the law and freedom is still absent today.

Many African Americans continue to suffer from the untreated wounds of America’s forefathers and their asymptomatic behaviors. These behaviors were never unlearned and have been passed down from generation to generation. Over my relatively short lifetime, black people have been referred to as Colored, Negro, Afro-American, Black, and an African American, which were all polite terms assigned to make known that people of African descent were not American citizens.

This legacy of dependency, apathy, and entrenchment of the American social order from the beginning provides clear evidence of those with a diabolical intent to bankrupt the souls of a people based on an ideology of supremacy. These stolen souls that exist today are people who bear the burden of a system that perpetrated, in the name of God, the greatest crime known to man.

Even today, the slave catchers, police murder unarmed black men, women, and children with no regard for life the same as they have always done. The result is they black the victim and imply he or she was at fault for the own death. Also, when black people speak up or take a stand the system will destroy the group through death or reputation. For example, they claim the Black Lives Matter Movement was built on a lie and have waged war on police. This is no different than the did with the Black Panther, Martin or Malcolm!

The concept of African Americans being slaves, physically or mentally, is as old as the nation itself, designed to deprive a people of its culture and knowledge through sustained policies of control. To overcome these indignities, we must realize that education is the single most important ingredient necessary to neutralize the forces that breed poverty and despair.

Regardless of how much this race has been and is held down, praying and singing “We Shall Overcome” is NOT the answer. It is our responsibility to find a way to get up; after all it’s been four-hundred years, which has shown us that the system of White Supremacy is designed to protect the system. The great Bob Marley reminded us to “Stand-up – Stand-up for your rights”. And that’s my Thought Provoking Perspective…

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A CRIME AGAINST HUMANITY: The Angola 3 Story

In the past few days, it has been reported that the last of the Angola 3 will be released from prison. Great news but the entire life of Albert Woodfox has been stolen and much of the last forty year has been spent in solitary confinement. There have been many atrocities at the hands of the American justices system imposed upon black people but this case is one of the worst and dare I say a crime against humanity!

I think we all know that terror is rooted in the foundation of the History of America. African Americans and others are well aware of groups like the KKK, and some may government agencies that are known only by alphabets that use these tactics against some Americans. Surely, it’s been used on people around the world in the name of freedom.

I am only suggesting that there are some crimes committed under the guise of law that are beyond the scope of justice. Case in point, the Angola Three, which I am sure you have never heard of. This is a hideous a case in Louisiana’s prison system that holds the record for the longest incarceration of a human being placed in solitary confinement.

It’s been over 40 years since the day Herman Wallace, and Albert Woodfox have been held in solitary confinement in Louisiana. The state says they were guilty of murdering a guard at Angola Prison, but Wallace, Woodfox and their network of supporters say they were framed for their political activism as members of the Black Panthers. Since April 17, 1972 or nearly 14,650 days Woodfox and Wallace have been held in solitary confinement living in a six by nine-foot prison cell only being allowed out for an hour a day. This is without question cruel and unusual punishment.

These two men founded the Angola chapter of the Black Panther Party in 1971. A third prisoner, Robert King, joined them a year later. The three campaigned for better-working conditions and racial solidarity between inmates, as well as an end to rape and sexual slavery. Today, two of the three men remain in this condition that Amnesty International continues to support their effort for fair and reasonable justice.

Amnesty USA says it will deliver a petition to Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal that bears the signatures of tens of thousands of people from 125 countries asking for his intervention. They are asking “the state of Louisiana and we want the world to know that we are still focusing on this case.

This is a total violation of human rights and civil rights,” King says. “And it is ongoing.” Robert King was released in 2001 when his conviction was overturned, and he pleaded guilty to a lesser offense. I am not saying that a crime was not committed but does this punishment fit the crime.

It has been said that injustice anywhere is an injustice everywhere. After forty-one years in solitary confinement, seventy-one year old Herman Wallace is free at last. Thankfully, as it has been reported, Albert Woodfox in finally free. And that’s my Thought Provoking Perspective…

Info about the case: http://angola3.org/thecase.aspx

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/32545640

WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports


Rape Of Juveniles In Prisons

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I posted this piece some time ago, and it is still a crisis when the school to prison pipe continue to funnel our you people into prisons at alarming rates. The video was provided by Leila Mcdowell that addresses the epidemic many face when incarcerated. The information speaks to an issue most of us don’t know or think about because it is not widely communicated via the mainstream media.

In the case of the information provided by Leila Mcdowell, a profoundly professional journalist, intellectual, activist, communications strategist, and Washington Correspondent posted a powerful story about the rape of juveniles in prison. Most know, yet far more close their eyes to the many dangers on every level concerning the prison industrial complex. However, Mcdowell’s presentation on this topic is worthy of our attention.

It is said, that a picture is worth a thousand words. If you have a child this video is worth a BILLION WORDS. And that’s my Thought Provoking Perspective…

WATCH THE VIDEO HERE!!!

Courtesy of Leila Mcdowell
Visit and “Like” her Face Book Page

The Insanity Of WAR

11I can recall not too long ago, there was a tiny little place in Southeast Asia called Vietnam. When I was there we called it the land of the little people. They were not much more than poor rice farmers, not a mighty army or even a strong political force to any degree. Yet, they were able to defeat the mightiest nation on the planet. America told the American people we need to go there to support then to save democracy, because we had to fight Communism! Well, history tells us how well that worked out.

Millions of people died and were maimed; trillions of dollars were spent in this effort constructed on false pretences. They said this little nation attacked an American ship in the Gulf of Tonkin, which never happened but it was used to get America involved. This war lasted for more than a decade and left with no accolades. In fact, it was not a victory! We saw a similar action in the fifties in a little place called Korea!

Let’s look at today’s industrial military projects. Bush and company took put American in two wars about a decade or so. They told American people it was necessary to defend the “homeland” against terrorism. The Bush wars were also sold based on false pretenses, some say a downright lie. Wars have traditionally been fought for religion reasons in the name of God and of course land has been a reason. It is hard to determine if either of these reasons were the cause of these current wars. Yes, religion is part of it – land, not so much but this war is about what’s in the ground. So I suppose, it is not too far from the script.

In Vietnam, when American left; the enemy took over the entire country in about a week. In Iraq, about 800 ISIS forces took nearly half the country in a week. Not only that but these same 800 men caused 30,000 Iraqis troops to surrender and run away. Does this sound similar?

What is lost, however, is that the Politicians have yet to learn two things: [1] you cannot impose freedom upon people who don’t want it or know what it is and [2] they have not learned to mind their own business and stay out of the affairs of others. Particularly, when American has more than its share of problems here at home!

During the Vietnam War there was a draft, where you were force to go off to your death. This time we have what’s called an all volunteer army, which mean they convince men and women to volunteer to go off to be maimed and die. In Vietnam, most of the soldiers were black and poor. In this war, they are still poor, by and large, however, they are mostly white. Vietnam was about money and so is this war.

Bottom line is this: war is about money and has nothing to do with freedom! If you ask, what is war good for; the answer is nothing – absolutely nothing! What I think we can conclude is that these people who involve America in such conflicts cannot walk a chew gum at the same time because history has shown their way has not worked because not one war has been won in a half a century. Now, they got rich.

It is also important to note that most often these men who start wars have never been to war, which makes it easy to start one. Also, their loved ones and children never fight or die. Maybe a fair draft system might cause the war hawks to think more carefully if the new their children might suffer as a result. This is just a short reflection into the realm of sanity, or at least common sense. And that’s my thought provoking perspective…


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