Imagine: You are alive but not completely free. You can walk the streets but not without undue harassment; you can ride public transportation, but always forced to sit or stand in the very back. Your children are forced to attend schools invested with rats and roaches, and limited resources such as no books or short on desks. You protest, scream, and shout but no one hears you.
Okay, shake that vision from your head because you have more rights, and for some you will never know any of those cruelties and injustices. But, wait! Before you forget those images altogether, you must pay your dues to those who actually did experience such travesties. This wasn’t merely an imagination for Black people in the 60s and 70s. Jim Crow was heavily implemented and mightily enforced. Brothers and Sisters everywhere got tired of being told to wait, have patience and faith in a system they knew to be corrupt. These young people did what many of us today will never have the courage to do: Took a stand for their people, come what may. They knew the risks of fighting for their civil liberties and justices– death, jail, or exile–but they stood anyhow!
To emphasis the beauty of their people, they coined organization titles such as Black Panther Party (BPP), Black Liberation Army (BLA), and Revolutionary Action Movement (RAM). They armed themselves for a full-out battle with the powers that be, primarily the United States Government and Hoover’s newly minted Cointel (counter intelligence) program. A most notable service act which the Panthers initiated was a breakfast program for Black Oakland schoolchildren. Coincidentally, within month’s Hoover had labeled them “the greatest internal threat to our country” (http://www.marxists.org/history/usa/workers/black-panthers/). As a result, a great many of these Brothers and Sisters were harassed and brought up on trump charges before juries who had specific instructions to bury them dead or alive. President Hoover proclaimed that to be a Black revolutionary was to be a dead revolutionary.
Those Brothers and Sisters experienced, challenged, and actively fought the aforementioned woes so you, yeah that’s right, this generation, would not entirely have to. All across the country these revolutionary soldiers were stalked, criminalized, penalized, and murdered without any retribution or real justice. Today, some of these Brothers and Sisters are still slowly rotting away in maximum security jail cells.
But what have we done for them today? We’ve forgotten their names, their struggles, and sacrifices. We’ve forgotten the struggle, outside of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X. We’ve forgotten the foot soldiers who were strapped with heavy artillery and bombs that made the government take notice of tired disenfranchised black populations.
We post-70s babies owe this brave generation so much more than we have given them. But most ashamedly, we have gone so far as to even forget their existence. But guess what?! They did and do exist, despite this government, and every presidential administration, including Obama’s, that try to tell you otherwise.
If we continue to ignore these Brothers and Sisters (political prisoners), how can we hold our heads up? Many of them are well into their 60s, 70s, even 80s, suffering inside maximum security federal penitentiaries, like SuperMax. Some have been, or are currently, forced to live in the “hole”, or solitary confinement for eight years or longer.
(see pt. 2 in following post)