Call It What It Is: Lynching and the Enduring Legacy of U.S. State Sponsored Terrorism in the South

Cover of Equal Justice Initiative Report

by Robert Saleem Holbrook

One step ahead of the hounds, a few minutes ahead of the lynch mob is how many New Afrikans came north... The cites of amerika were full of New Afrikan refugees who entered them during the 30's and 40's, escaping the Klan and southem prison.

- James Yaki Sayles, From One Generation to the Next

From the Keystone State to the Golden State: The need for a national movement to liberate political prisoners

free all political prisoners

August 4, 2014

by Robert Saleem Holbrook

In Pennsylvania, former Black Panthers and Black Liberation Army members Russell Maroon Shoatz, Joseph JoJo Bowens, Clifford Lumumba Futch and Fred Muhammad Burton enter their 40th year in captivity. Up the road in USP Allenwood, Pennsylvania BLA member Sundiata Acoli is denied parole yet again by the state of New Jersey and given a 15-year parole hit, essentially a terminal hit, as Brother Sundiata is in his mid-70s.

When Vengeance Trumps Justice

On October 30, 2013 in the case of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. lan Cunningham, in one stroke the Pennsylvania Supreme Court's right wing justices created a class of political prisoners within the state's prison population by denying retroactive parole relief to prisoners who were juveniles when sentenced to mandatory sentences of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole (LWOP) – sentences that the United States Supreme Court abolished as unconstitutional in 2012. The ominous signs were on the horizon when the six sitting justices deadlocked 3 – 3 along party/ideological lines and Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett, a conservative, appointed a fellow conservative, Judge Stevens, to the Court to cast the deciding vote. Justice Stevens, as expected, delivered for his gang and in doing so Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court disregarded the precedent of three prior US Supreme Court decisions in Roper, Graham and Miller that established juveniles are different from adults when it comes to imposing society’s harshest punishments and should be afforded greater protections from the one size fits all mandatory sentences that have proliferated in the hysterical “Tough on Crime” era of mass imprisonment.

Statement by Robert Saleem Holbrook regarding PA Supreme Court Denial of Retroactive Relief of Miller v. Alabama

Commonwealth v. Cunningham - Pennsylvania Supreme Court denied relief to children sentenced to life without parole in a ruling issued on October 30, 2013.

Re: Statement by Robert Saleem Holbrook regarding PA Supreme Court Denial of Retroactive Relief of Miller v. Alabama

Standing our Ground for Trayvon

Almost 50 years ago, in 1996, in Oakland, California as a response to the deliberate murder of unarmed African Americans by a racist and corrupt police department, Huey P Newton and Bobby Seale founded the Black Panther Party For Self Defense. In a dramatic gesture, Newton and Seale posed with weapons cocked and ammunition draped around their shoulders looking like “Ghetto Outlaws” while announcing the creation of the Party to protect the Black community from police officers who murdered Black people with impunity and that henceforth when confronted by racist police officers they will “Stand their Ground” and defend themselves and their communities. Often overlooked in the sensationalism that surrounds the Panthers is that the firearms they carried were legally purchased by Newton and Seale and they were within their Second Amendment rights to openly display them and stand their ground.

The Jackson Plan: Lessons from Jackson, Mississippi

After the election of Obama to the presidency of the United States in 2008, Stanley Crouch, a Black columnist who serves as a ventriloquist for the arch conservative movement within Republican party circles announced that the election of Obama, a Blackman, to the presidency of the United States crushed the legacy of Malcolm X’s militant and revolutionary Black nationalism under the heel of good old fashioned Americanism.  However just as enemies and opponents of the Black Liberation Movement were signaling its death and assignment to irrelevancy within the Black   politic, like the mythical bird Phoenix, the Black Liberation Movement has risen from the ashes of its alleged obsolescence and raised its clenched fists Black Power! banner of defiance and victory in one of the main bastions of conservative White America.  In Jackson, Mississippi one of the most significant projects in the contemporary history of the Black Liberation Movement is transpiring as Chokwe Lumumba, a veteran of the Black Liberation and New African Independence Movements was elected mayor of Jackson on June 2, 2013.  Jackson is the capital of Mississippi and is a city that is over 85% Black.  If the election of Obama to the presidency of the United States constituted the alleged end of the Black Liberation Movement, the election of Chokwe Lumumba must then represent its resurrection.

Assata Shakur Is A Freedom Fighter, Not A Terrorist

The inclusion of Assata Shakur, a former member of the Black Liberation Army, on the FBI's 10 Most Wanted Terrorists list last month marking twenty nine years since her liberation from a New Jersey maximum security prison in 1979 by members of the Black Liberation Army, while aimed at Cuba's leadership should also be interpreted as a shot across the bow of any internal revolutionary movement or revolutionary activists in the United States that dares challenge Empires mad march across the planet.