[Pnews] Black History: 'Lest we forget' by Safiya Bukhari

Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Wed Feb 26 10:23:10 EST 2020


  Black History: 'Lest we forget' by Safiya Bukhari

February 25, 2020

/In honor of Black History Month we republish here a commemorative 
article by revolutionary leader Safiya Bukhari, first published in 1981 
in //pamphlet/ 
Bukhari was a member of the Black Panther Party and the Black Liberation 
Army. She was a political prisoner from 1975 until 1983 minus two months 
when she escaped to seek medical treatment denied to her by prison 
authorities. /

/Among other roles she served as vice-president of the Republic of New 
Afrika, co-founder and co-chairperson of the New York Free Mumia 
Coalition and the National Jericho Movement for U.S. Political Prisoners 
and Prisoners of War. Dubbed a “Lioness for Liberation” by Mumia Abu 
Jamal and a “legendary figure” by Angela Davis, Bukhari’s 
autobiographical “The War Before: The True Life Story of Becoming a 
Black Panther, Keeping the Faith in Prison & Fighting for Those Left 
Behind” remains //essential reading/ 
<https://www.feministpress.org/books-n-z/the-war-before>/. /

*Black Seeds Introduction*

Constantly people of color are confronted with the reality that death is 
our ever-present companion. We’ve had to live with the the conditions 
that make us more prone to high blood-pressure, diabetes, high infant 
mortality, strokes, heart attacks, etc., for so long that we see these 
things as part of our heritage. It has become commonplace to hear that 
someone known to us or related to us was killed in an argument, 
gambling, or trying to take someone off. Even more commonplace is our 
spending our lives in the living death of prison.

We’re not shocked or surprised by this. In fact we’ve become complacent 
with this as the status quo. We’ve begun to plod along, waiting for our 
number to come up. On a very real level we are the walking dead: people 
without a future and with an extremely chaotic past. We have been 
aimlessly wandering through life, purposeless, directionless–slaves to 
other peoples whims, ideas, and desires.

Through history, voices rose out of and above the quagmire and declared 
themselves men and women. HUman beings with souls, who wanted to know 
how it felt to be free and live outside the shadow of death. Cinque, Nat 
Turner, Gabriel Prosser, Harriet Tubman, Denmark Vesey–men and women who 
lived and died to the tune of “Oh freedom, Oh freedom, Oh freedom in my 
heart. Before I’d be a slave I’ll be buried in my grave and go home to 
my Lord and be free.”

There is no equivocation when we recall those heroes. Why? Because it’s 
safe to remember them. They are far removed from our day and time, so we 
can glory in their battles and victories vicariously with no threat to us.

While we are busy recanting the glory of our long dead heroes, new 
heroes are going forth into battled to carry our struggle for dignity, 
freedom, independence, and humanity one step closer to reality in the 
spirit of Claude McKay’s “If We Must Die”:

    If we must die, let it not be like hogs

    Hunted and penned in an inglorious spot

    While round us bark the mad and hungry dogs,

    Making their mock at our accursed lot.

    If we must die, O let us nobly die,

    So that our precious blood may not be shed

    In vain; then even the monsters we defy

    Shall be constrained to honor us through dead!

    O kinsmen! We must meet the common foe!

    Though far outnumbered let us show us brave,

    And for their thousand blows deal one deathblow!

    What though before us lies the open grave?

    Like men we’ll face the murderous, cowardly pack,

    Pressed to the wall dying, but fighting back!

The past thirty years have seen some doors crack for Blacks and other 
people of color in America. These changes didn’t occur in a vacuum. They 
were political moves in an attempt to undermine the rising tide of Black 
unrest and our demands for civil and human rights. No concrete changes 
in the very real condition of Black people occured. We’re still at the 
bottom of the totem pole.

With the advent of the twentieth century the Black man in American began 
to take a decided shift away from quiet acquiescence to our plight. We 
had begun, in massive numbers, to say, “No More.” Our leaders–Marcus 
Garvey, Elijah Muhammad, Martin Luther King Jr., and Malcolm 
X–articulated the determination of our people to wait no longer for the 
realization of people of African descent as human beings in the eyes of 

The twentieth century became the time to take a stand. Four hundred 
years of racist oppression and economic exploitation were enough. Not 
one more century. Not one more generation without a collective, 
organized resistance. “Either.or” became the battle cry. America was put 
on notice: the choice is the ballot or the bullet!

Realizing that no concessions would be gained without a fight, brothers 
and sisters determined to lay down their very lives, if it became 
necessary, to achieve our freedom. The following is a chronicle of those 
unsung heroes who have given the only thing that was theirs to 
give–/their lives/!

A People’s War of Liberation is like the points of a starfish. When a 
soldier (guerilla) dies, another grows and takes his or her place in the 
struggle, or in the body of the army.

Here are some of those fallen:

*Arthur Morris. *Member of the Southern California chapter, Los Angeles 
Branch, of the Black Panther Party. Arthur was the first member of the 
Black Panther Party to die in the struggle for Black liberation. 

*Bobby James Hutton. *Affectionately known as Lil’ Bobby Hutton, born 
April 25, 1950. He was the first person to join the Black Panther Party. 
He joined when he was sixteen when the Party was founded in 1966. He 
served as finance coordinator. He was one of the Panthers arrested on 
May 2, 1967, at the Sacramento legislature protest where Bobby Seale 
read the Party’s position on self-defense for oppressed people 
(Executive Mandate No.1). Bobby was murdered two days after the 
assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., by dozens of Oakland police. He 
was unarmed, but with utmost courage, sacrificed his life so others 
might live. ASSASSINATED April 6, 1968.

*Steve Bartholomew, *twenty-one; *Robert Lawrence, *twenty-two; and 
*Tommy Lewis*, eighteen. They were riding in a car when they noticed 
they were being followed by a Los Angeles police squad car. They stopped 
at a gas station so that any incident could be witnessed. The squad car 
stopped also. As Steve was getting out of the car a volley of police 
gunfire killed him instantly. The Panthers returned fire and Robert was 
killed. Tommy died later at a Los Angeles Central Receiving Hospital 
from peritonitis (severe intestinal inflammation) caused by stomach 
wounds and loss of blood. ASSASSINATED August 25, 1968.

*Nathaniel Clark. *Member of the Los Angeles Branch of the Black Panther 
Party and a student at the University of California, Los Angeles. Killed 
as he slept. ASSASSINATED September 12, 1968.

*Welton Armstead. *Member of the Seattle, Washington Branch of the Black 
Panther Party and a student at the University of California, Los 
Angeles. Killed as he slept. ASSASSINATED October 15, 1968.

*Sidney Miller. *Twenty-two days after the Seattle police murdered 
Welton Armstead, a white Seattle businessman murdered Sidney Miller, 
twenty-one years old. He was shot point blank in the head as he was 
leaving a west Seattle grocery store. The owner said he “thought” Sidney 
was about to rob the store. ASSASSINATED November 7, 1968.

*Frank Diggs. *Los Angeles chapter, Black Panther Party, forty years 
old. Frank was shot to death and left in an alley on the outskirts of 
Los Angeles by unknown assailants. ASSASSINATED December 30, 1968.

*Alprentice “Bunchy” Carter. *Came from the streets of LA, where he was 
“the Mayor of the Ghetto.” He became the organizer and driving force for 
the Southern California chapter of the Black Panther Party, the first 
chapter of the Party outside of the Bay area. Before coming to the Party 
Bunchy had been a member of the Slausons, one of the largest gangs in 
LA. The sum total of his life experiences imbued Bunchy with a 
revolutionary fervor and commitment, which he expressed as follows:

    Black Mother, I must confess that I still breathe

    Though you are not yet free….

    For a slave of natural death who dies

    Can’t balance out two dead flies.

    I’d rather live without the shame

    A bullet lodges within my brain

    If I were not to reach my goal

    Let bleeding cancer torment my soul.

Bunchy was shot from behind and killed on the steps of UCLA while 
organizing and educating Black students around self-determination and 
student control of the Black student unions in preparation for community 
control. Though the fingers that pulled the trigger on Bunchy were 
members of Ron Karenga’s US organization, in the final analysis, 
Bunchy’s death is the responsibility of the racist American government. 
ASSASSINATED January 17, 1969.

*John Jerome Huggins. *Born in New Haven, Connecticut. John and his wife 
Ericka, became members of the Southern California chapter of the Black 
Panther Party soon after it’s doors opened. Together with Bunchy Carter, 
John, as deputy minister of information, provided the leadership needed 
as that chapter grew. The assassination of Bunchy and John, on the steps 
of UCLA, by members of the US organization was part of the COINTELPRO 
strategy to foment a war between the Black Panther Party and the US 
organization so they would kill each other off. Bunchy and John 
ASSASSINATED January 17, 1969.

*Alex Rackley. *Member of the New York chapter, Harlem Branch, of the 
Black Panther Party. Alex was killed by George Sams, a police agent who 
infiltrated the Party. He was shot through the head and heart in New 
Haven, Connecticut. The New Haven Police Department also had an informer 
on the scene at the Sams-engineered-and-ordered execution, but no effort 
was made to prevent it. ASSASSINATED May 21, 1969.

*John Savage. *In the aftermath of the assassinations of unchy and John, 
relationships between the Black Panther Party (BPP) and US grew 
increasingly tense. On Friday, May 23, 1969, John Savage and another 
Party member, Jeffrey Jennings, were walking toward the Party office in 
San Diego, California, when they met a US member named “Tambozi.” As 
they walked past, Tambozi grabbed John Savage by the shoulder, jammed a 
.38 automatic to the back of his neck and pulled the trigger. John, age 
twenty-four, died instantly. ASSASSINATED May 23,1969.

*Sylvester Bell. *Less than three months after the assassination of John 
Savage, US struck again. Sylvester Bell became the fourth member of the 
Black Panther Party murdered in cold blood by Karenga’s men. Sylvestres 
murder came at a time when the AL trial of US members for the 
assassination of Bunchy and John had just begun–an attempt to intimidate 
witnesses at the trial. Sylvester was thirty-four years old. 
ASSASSINATED August 15, 1969.

*Larry Roberson. *On the morning of July 14, 1969, Larry Roberson, 
twenty years old, and Grady “Slim” Moore, members of the Chicago Branch 
of the Black Panther Party, noticed police harassing a group of elderly 
Black men, forcing them to line up aga wall, and they went to 
investigate. An argument ensued and without hesitation the police pulled 
their guns and started shooting. Larry was critically wounded in his 
stomach, thigh, and leg. (Grady Moore escaped uninjured.)

Larry managed to wound two of his assailants. He was taken to Cook 
County Hospital and placed under police guard. He was harassed, 
threatened, and periodically beatend. He died in the hospital. Because 
Larry placed himself between the oppressor and his people without 
thought for his own life, Fred Hampton said, “Larry Roberson was too 
revolutionary proletarian intoxicated to be astronomically intimidated.” 
ASSASSINATED September 4, 1969.

*Walter “Toure” Pope. *As soon as he was released by the California 
Youth Authority from Tracy, California, Walter joined the Black Panther 
Party. Toure, twenty years old, was singled out for constant harassment 
y the Los Angeles Police department because of his effectiveness as 
distribution manager of the Black Panther Community News Service in 
Southern California. In three months he increased the circulation from 
fifteen hundred a week to over seven thousand a week. Walter was 
brutally gunned down in broad daylight as he left a store where he had 
just dropped off some newspapers. According to eyewitness reports, the 
police suddenly came upon him and opened fire. Toure never had a chance. 
ASSASSINATED October 18, 1969.

*Spurgeon Winters. *“Jake” was an honor student in school and a 
revolutionist. He worked on the Chicago chapters Breakfast Program and 
the free health clinic and was part of the education cadre. He was 
killed when one hundred policemen opened fire on him and Lance Bell, who 
was wounded. Three policemen were killed and seven wounded in the attack 
on the deserted building where the two took refuge. Jake was nineteen. 
ASSASSINATED November 13, 1969.

*Mark Clark. *Mark was a defense captain for the Peoria, Illinois, 
Branch of the BPP. He made frequent trips to Chicago to confer with the 
leadership of the Party’s chapter there in order to help him organize in 
downstate Peoria. Mark made one such trip in December of 1969 and stayed 
at Fred Hampton’s apartment. Chicago police raided Fred’s apartment on 
the morning of December 4, Mark was murdered by the raiders as they 
crashed through the apartment door. He was shot through the heart. 
Several other occupants were wounded by indiscriminate police gunfire. 
Mark Clark was twenty-two. ASSASSINATED December 4, 1969.

*Fred Hampton. *The name Fred Hampton has secured a permanent place in 
the annals of the people’s struggle, because, sadly enough, this was one 
of the hundreds of thousands of Black deaths American chose to 
publicize. A young outspoken critic of America’s treatment of Black and 
poor people, Fred’s dedication to the cause of freedom led him and 
others to organize in CHicago. The organizational and speaking abilities 
of Fred Hampton won for him national attention. Political persecution of 
Fred Hampton included numerous false arrests. He was convicted of a 
seventy dollar ice cream truck robbery in 1969, but community pressure 
forced his release. Such persecution culminated on December 4, 1969 at 
four o’clock in the morning, when a raiding party of Chicago police 
invaded Fred’s apartment and shot him several times as he slept. He was 
twenty-one years old. The Black community lost a beautiful warrior for 
human dignity, but Fred often said, “You can kill a revolutionary but 
you can’t kill the revolution.” ASSASSINATED December 4, 1969.

*Sterling Jones*. Fred Hampton and Mark Clark were only days in their 
graves when the Chicago Police Department struck again. On Christmas 
Day, Sterling Jones, seventeen, a member of the Illinois chapter, 
respond to a knock at his family’s apartment door. As Sterling opened 
the door, he was shot directly in the face by an unknown assailant. The 
bullet killed him and his assailant fled into the night. ASSASSINATED 
December 25, 1969.

*Jonathan Jackson*. On August 7, 1970, a young Black man entered the 
Marin County Courthouse in California. The events that followed came to 
be called the August 7 Movement. Jonathan had walked into the courthouse 
where San Quentin prison inmate James McClain was defending himself 
against charges of assaulting a prison guard. Also present were two 
inmates serving as witnesses on behalf of McClain. They were William 
Christmas and Ruchell Magee. Jonathan interrupted the court proceedings, 
stating, “We are revolutionary justice,” then gave weapons to McClain, 
Christmas, and Magee. They all left the courtroom. Several jurors, the 
prosecutor, and the judge were also taken. Within minutes the van that 
jOnathan and party had gotten into was riddled with bullets from the 
guns of San Quentin guards and other state gents, who disregarded the 
lives of not onl Jonathan Jackson and the three inmates, but also those 
of the jurors, judge, and prosecutor. When the shooting ended, Jonathan 
Jackson lay dead, as did William Christmas, James Mcclain and the Marin 
County judge. George Jackson summed up his brothers heroic actions in 
this way: “Man-child, Black man-child with a machine gun in hand, he was 
free for awhile. I guess that’s more than most of us can expect.”

*Carl Hampton*. Brother Carl was chairman (coordinator) of the People’s 
Party II, a revolutionary organization in Houston, Texas. Carl was the 
motivating force of the small organization, which followed the example 
and the policies of the BPP. At the time the Party was not oranizing in 
the South, so Carl, seeing the need for a party that would serve the 
people’s needs and desires, started the People’s Party, which sold the 
BPP newspaper. Culminating a series of incidents on July 28, 1970, 
Houston police surrounded the Dowling Street area where the People’s 
Party II office as located and attacked the entire community. Carl was 
killed at two a.m. in defense of the community.

*Fred Bennett*. Pieces of the body of Fred Bennett were found in April 
1971, in a mountainous region near Oakland, California. Fred had been 
the coordinator of the East Oakland branch of the BPP and had been a 
Party member for three years, having joined in early 1968. Fred’s body 
was mutilated when the police claimed they “found” jim. They held onto 
Fred’s body without announcement for more than two months. ASSASSINATED 
February 1971.

*Ralph Featherstone *and*Che Payne. *Killed by a car bomb outside a 
Maryland courthouse where Rap brown was scheduled for a hearing. 
ASSASSINATED March 9, 1970.

*Babatunde X Omarwali*. A member of the Illinois chapter of the BPP, 
Babatunde was a sining example of our many revolutionary brothers who 
have turned from being used as Black cannon fodder by the US military to 
become dedicated soldiers in service to the oppressed community as Black 
liberation fighters. Babatunde joined the Party in Chicago after serving 
two years in the US army, and he quickly became one of the Party’s best 
organizers. In the summer of 1970, he had just returned to Chicago from 
the Cairo-Carbondale area, after organizing a National Committee to 
Combat Fascism (NCCF) office there. On July 27, twenty-six-year-old 
Babatunde’s remains were “found” lying across railroad tracks in a 
deserted area of the city by Chicago police. They claimed that Babatunde 
had been attempting to destroy the tracks and that the bomb went off 
prematurely killing him. Although mutilated beyond recognition, the body 
of “Black Panther Babatunde X Omarwali” was positively identified by the 
Chicago police. They could do so because it was the police themselves 
who murdered him and laced his body on the railroad tracks. ASSASSINATED 
July 27, 1970.

*Robert Webb*. Deputy minister of defense of the BPP. Spent years 
organizing coast to coast, building the discipline and security of the 
Party and community in preparation for liberation. When it became 
apparent that there were corrupt forces operating within the BPP, Robert 
took a stand for principles first. That stand was to bring about his 
death on March 8, 1971.

*Sam Napier*. Circulation manager, BPP. Lived and breathed the Black 
Panther newspaper. He would constantly intone, “Circulated to educate to 
liberate.” Sam was another casualty of the internal split of the BPP. 
Fanon talked of the contradictions in /Wretched of the Earth /when he 
referred to colonial war and mental disorders. Oftentimes we lose sight 
of who our real enemies are and give ben to our emotional responses. In 
the deaths of Robert Webb and Sam Napier, the people’s liberation 
struggle lost two of it’s staunchest supporters. Psychologically, 
COINTELPRO scored a bull’s eye. Sam died April 17, 1971.

*George Jackson*. George Jackson spent the last eleven years of his life 
behind prison walls, seven of them in solitary confinement. During his 
imprisonment, George attained an extraordinary level of revolutionary 
political consciousness. He was appointed field marshal of the Black 
Panther Party. He was an eloquent writer. He authored two important 
books: Soledad Brother and Blood in My Eye. The latter was completed 
shortly before his assassination. On August 21, 1971, nameless guards of 
California’s San Quentin prison assassinated George Jackson. They said 
he was trying to escape, but the brothers inside said that George gave 
his lie to save the lives of others. The people of the oppressed 
communities of the world know that the San Quentin prison officials 
carried out a premeditated plan to silence a voice that was so full of 
revolutionary humanism they could no longer bear it.

*Harold Russell*. The first Black Liberation Army member to be slain. 
The BLA–the people’s liberation army–boldly declared themselves to be 
soldiers fighting against the oppressive regime of the US government. 
Harold was killed in a shootout on 122nd Street between Seventh and 
Eighth Avenues in Harlem, New York. Prior to becoming a member of the 
BLA, Harold had been a member of the Brooklyn Branch of the BPP. SLAIN 
IN COMBAT spring 1971.

*Sandra Pratt*. Wife of Geronimo. Known as Red to her comrades and 
friends. The death of Sandra was especially heartfelt because of its 
senselessness, beastality, and brutality. The sister was pregnant with 
new lifeblood for the people’s struggle. The reactionary forces that 
slew the sister mutilated her and placed her body in a mattress cover 
and dumped her in an intersection in Los Angeles. ASSASSINATED fall 1971.

*Frank Fields*. Known to his comrades as Heavy, a member of the Olugbala 
tribe of the BLA. Open war had been declared between the US government 
and the BLA. Frank was killed i one of the FBI’s search-and-destroy 
missions in Florida. SLAIN IN COMBAT December 31, 1971.

*Ronald Carter*. The response of the government to the BLA was to close 
ranks and consolidate their fores. For the first time they realized that 
every act of aggression they launched upon the Black community would be 
met with an act of revolutionary justice. He FBI launched a nationwide 
manhunt for BLA soldiers and ordered them killed on sight. Ronald was 
killed in one of these confrontations in St. Louis, Missouri. SLAIN IN 
COMBAT February 15, 1972.

*Joseph Waddell*. Joseph Waddell, or “Joe-Dell,” joined the BPP in 
September 1970 while in the city jail in High Point, North Carolina. 
Before going to jail, he had functioned as a community worker. Joe-Dell 
was transferred to Central prison in Raleigh, North Carolina, and 
because of his revolutionary posture, he was frequently beaten by prison 
guards. On June 13, 1972, twenty-one-year-old Joseph Waddell was 
pronounced dead by prison officials. They said the cause of death was a 
heart attack. Joe-Dell was physically healthy before his death and had 
never suffered from heart troubles before. Prison inmates close to 
Joe-Dell said he was the victim of the prison authorities, who had 
probably drugged or poisoned him to induce the attack. Joe-Dell’ 
internal organs were removed by prison authorities before they released 
his body to his family.

*Anthony White*. Known affectionately and in struggle as Kimu Olugbala. 
Kimu had been captured and seriously injured in the process, but his 
spirit had not been broken. While incarcerated at the infamous Tombs 
(the Manhattan House of Detention for Men) in New york he escaped to 
rejoin his comrades in struggle. On Monday, January 22, 1973, Kimu was 
killed in a shootout with New York police, choosing death over slavery. 
SLAIN IN COMBAT January 22, 1973.

*Woodie Greene*. Known in the struggle as Changa Olugbala. All we need 
to know about Brother Woodie is that he was a warrior in the people’s 
army. He was a young man who’d once been bound and gagged and caged in 
the white man’s zoos (jails), and had vowed never to return. He was 
slain in the same shootout that same the death of Kimu. SLAIN IN COMBATE 
January 22, 1973.

*Mark Essex*. Mark became involved in the struggle for Black liberation 
while still within the US military apparatus. He served as a dental 
technician in the navy. Upon his release his first stop was at the 
Harlem office of the BPP. he wanted to learn as much as possible to take 
home with him to Emporia. Kansas. Mark died valiantly holding off enemy 
forces in Louisiana. SLAIN IN COMBAT spring 1973.

*Zayd Malik Shakur*. Known as Dedane Olugbala, Zayd was the minister of 
information of the New York Black Panther Party. He spent months and 
years educating the people to what must be done to secure our freedom 
and liberation. On May 2, Zayd died the way he lived–in combat, 
resisting the forces of oppression. He was skilled in a shootout on the 
New Jersey Turnpike, in which Assata Shakur and Sundiata Acoli were 
captured. Zayd was a soldier in the people’s liberation army. SLAIN IN 
COMBAT May 2, 1973.

*Twymon Myers*. “The elusive Twymon Myers” is what he came to be known 
as–to the oppressors. To the people he was friend, comrade, and 
defender. Twymon was no superstar; he just did what had to be done and 
faded into the night. He cared about everyone, especially the children. 
He believed that the only way to achieve freedom was to be willing to 
fight and die for it. If it wasn’t worth fighting for, it wasn’t worth 
having and you didn’t really want it. On November 14, 1973, a combined 
force of New York police and FBI agents surrounded Twymon on a Bronx 
street and opened fire. Eight bullets riddled his body. As he lay dead a 
police officer stood over him and shot him again in the head. The police 
rallied in front of the Forty-fourth precinct in celebration. Twymon 
Myers was a warrior we can all be proud of. SLAIN IN COMBAT November 14, 

*Alfred Butler*. Known in struggle as Kombozi Amistad. Became a member 
of the BPP in his youth and functioned out of the New Rochelle, New 
York, office. Kombozi later transferred to the West Coast from whence he 
went underground to carry the struggle to the next level–the armed 
struggle–as a member of the BLA. It was in his capacity as a soldier in 
this formation that he was SLAIN IN COMBAT in Norfolk, Virginia, January 
25, 1975.

*Timothy Adams*. Known to his comrades in arms, friends, and family as 
Red. Red was critically wounded in a battle with the enemy after 
attempting to liberate fellow comrades from the infamous Tombs in 1973. 
For many years he was confined to a wheelchair as a result of these 
wounds, but his spirit was undaunted. Even though his death came years 
after the battle, it was directly related. His life, his struggle to 
overcome, and his death, were a source of inspiration to us all.

*Melvin Kearney*. Known in struggle as Rema Olugbala, he was a member of 
the BLA. Rema was killed in a courageous attempt to escape from the 
Brooklyn House of Detention, when the rope he was climbing down broke. 
He was twenty-two years old. Even against the overwhelming odds posed by 
prison officials, Rema never lost his combative spirit. DIED IN COMBAT 
May 25, 1976.

    *To Martyr Rema Olugbala, BLA*

    I make love at a fraction of an inch

    Outside my window bars

    I make love with freedom

    And she invites me to be with her

    And she’s right outside my window bars

    My love is great

    I cherish her

    And she’s right outside my window bars

    I dance with death

    But y mind is set..


    We’re going to get it on a fraction of an inch

    Outside my window bars

    I love you, freedom

    I dance with death.

*John Clark*. Andaliwa was a thirty-year-old Back revolutionary who gave 
his life in an attempt to escape to freedom. He died in a shootout 
between prisoners and guards inside Trenton state prison in New Jersey. 
In that shootout, three guards were injured. John carried on the 
struggle behind the walls. SLAIN IN COMBAT January 19, 1976.

*Mtayari Shabaka Sundiata (Samuel Smith)*. Became a citizen of record in 
the Republic of New Afrika in 1968. Mtayari worked among the youth in 
the Ocean Hill-Brownsville section of Brooklyn. In 1970 he was 
incarcerated as the result of a shootout with the police. Upon his 
release, he joined the ranks of the bA. It was in this capacity as a 
people’s warrior that he was SLAIN IN COMBAT October 23, 1981.

To those of us who have dedicated our lives to the liberation of Black 
people, who have dared to say, “We shall have our freedom or the Earth 
will be leveled by our attempts to gain it,” death is a common 
occurrence. It is something we had to accept, for we knew that in waging 
struggle to free ourselves from the chains of slavery our choices were 
small–either to be jailed, or assassinated–but we had nothing to lose 
and everything to gain.

We know that where there is struggle there’s sacrifice. The death of our 
comrades was a sacrifice, for our struggle some deaths are lighter than 
a feather and others are as weight as a mountain. Everyone one of these 
deaths is weighty as mountains, for these comrades not only practiced 
the principles of revolutionary warfare, they taught others to do the 
same. In their lives and in their deaths they said:

    I may–if you wish–lose my livelihood

    I may sell my shirt and bed,

    I may work as a stone cutter,

    A street sweeper, a porter.

    I may clean your stores

    Or rummage your garbage for food.

    I may lay down hungry

    O enemy of the sun,


    I shall not compromise

    Anf to the last pulse in my veins

    I shall resist.

    You may take the last strip of my land,

    Feed my youth to prison cells.

    You may plunder my heritage

    You may burn my books, my poems,

    Or feed my flesh to the dogs.

    You may spread a web of terror

    On the roofs of my village,

    O enemy of the sun,


    I shall not compromise

    And to the last pulse in my veins

    I shall resist.

    You may put out the light in my eyes.

    You may deprive me of my mother’s kisses.

    You may curse my father, my people.

    You may distort my history,

    Ou may deorive my children of a smile

    And of life’s necessities.

    You may fool my friends with a borrowed face.

    You may build walls of hatred around me.

    You may glue my eyes to humiliations,

    O enemy of the sun.


    I shall not compromise

    And to the last pulse in my veins

    I shall resist.

    O enemy of the sun

    The decorations are raised at the port

    The ejaculations fill the air,

    A glow in the hearts,

    And in the horizon

    A sail is seen

    Challenging the wind

    And the depths

    It is Field Marshal Dedan Kamathi (Mau Mau)

    Returning home

     From the sea of loss.

    It is the return of the sun,

    Of my exiled ones,

    And for her sake and his

    I swear

    I shall not compromise

    And to the last pulse in my veins

    I shall resist,

    Resist–and resist.

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