Releases / Statements


August 28, 2010


A new and dangerous movie about Mumia puts us now at another very urgent juncture in the struggle to keep Mumia alive and to win a new and fair trial for him. As this letter explains, we believe we can place Mumia’s case before the public in a fresh and effective way, with an alternative cinematic production. But we need your help.

As we write, Mumia Abu-Jamal and his attorneys are using their last legal resorts to save him from the fate that he now faces: life in solitary confinement or even execution. His execution, recall, had been overturned in 2001 (without his ever leaving death row), but now it is on the table once again. Mumia’s case has always been highly politicized, but today as his legal battle comes to its final stage, the court of public opinion matters more than ever. Those intent on ending Mumia’s life, like the highly organized and vocal Philadelphia Fraternal Order of Police, understand this, and have intensified their activity. Those of us who want to save Mumia’s life need to intensify ours as well.

In September, the dangerous new film, which parrots the prosecution and police claim–that Abu-Jamal shot and killed Philadelphia Police Officer Daniel Faulkner in a cold-blooded act of premeditated murder–will premiere in Philadelphia, before it tours nationally. Directed by filmmaker Tigre Hill and provocatively titled The Barrel of a Gun, the film is a slick work of propaganda posing as documentary, thin on facts and thick with emotional manipulation. Luckily a fine documentary film, Mumia 101, which could challenge Hill’s film with information, historical insights, and new and potentially exculpatory evidence, is almost completed. We have seen the rough cut and it’s clear that director Kouross Esmaeli (Big Noise Films) and producer Johanna Fernandez (Baruch College/History and Educators for Mumia) have made every effort to give both sides time to talk and let facts not emotionalism point to the police, prosecutorial, and judicial misconduct that led to Mumia’s 1982 conviction.

Mumia 101 must be completed by September when The Barrel of a Gun premieres. In order for that to happen, the filmmakers (who have undertaken the work as a labor of love) will have to hire a film editor full-time for two months of final editing. We have written them a check, and I am writing to ask you to write one too, for whatever you can manage. They need $100,000 to finish the film. Whatever amount you can give – small or large – will be so greatly appreciated, and contribute to an important effort on Mumia’s behalf.

We cannot stress enough how fresh and effective we believe this new documentary for Mumia to be. It stakes out the moral high ground of public advocacy in a way that the slick and shrill new anti-Mumia flick does not do. Mumia 101 allows police and prosecutors to voice their convictions. But at the same time, the documentary is clear in exposing the forces that demonize him and seek his murder. The film gives historical context to the efforts of officials’ vendetta against Mumia, their silencing of witnesses, and hiding of evidence. The public and critics will not be able easily to dismiss this film as just another pro-Mumia movie; and it will stand alongside the Tigre Hill’s propaganda piece as a clear and engaging alternative for political action and advocacy on Mumia’s behalf.

The filmmakers are preparing an interactive website to complement the documentary, to review the known facts of the case and serve as its major information clearinghouse. They are available to answer any questions you may have at: and And here are links to articles that review some of the basics of the case along with the new evidence. .

Please make out your checks for your tax-deductible contribution to the National Lawyers Guild Foundation, and write “Mumia 101/EMAJ” in the memo line.

Please Mail Checks to:


P.O. Box 2012

New York, NY 10159

Thanks so much, in advance, for your help.
The Coordinators of Educators for Mumia Abu-Jamal:

Tameka L. Cage

Johanna Fernandez

Mark Lewis Taylor



15 Years Educating and Organizing for Abu-Jamal and Social Justice




CONTACTS:  Professor Johanna Fernandez, Baruch College (CUNY),, 917 930-0804;

Professor Mark Taylor, Princeton Theological Seminary,, 609 638-0806








“Mumia at the Crossroads in the Age of Obama” –

A Theme to Galvanize Conference Goers


Princeton and New York City. Released, March 30, 2010. Hundreds of students, teachers and others will gather at the Diana Center of the Barnard College campus of Columbia University, to highlight the case of Mumia Abu-Jamal, and to coordinate organizing efforts in their national campaign for Abu-Jamal.

The event begins with workshops between 1:00 and 5:00 p.m. and concludes with inspiring plenary lectures, beginning at 7:00 p.m. by Cornel West of Princeton University, Vijay Prashad of Trinity College and a well-known culture critic, and also Jamal Joseph, professor of film in the Arts school at Columbia. Abu-Jamal himself plans to call in to address the audience. Pam Africa of International Concerned Family & Friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal will bring greetings to educators from the national and international movement for Mumia.

Abu-Jamal has been on Pennsylvania’s death row since he was judged guilty in a Philadelphia political culture still dominated by the era of Mayor Frank Rizzo of the 1970s and 1980s. In 1982, the city’s District Attorney, Ed Rendell (now, Governor of Pennsylvania) secured a conviction and death sentence in a jury trial, which lasted only three weeks, claiming that Mumia had murdered Philadelphia police officer, Daniel Faulkner, on December 9, 1981.

The U.S. Supreme Court denied Mumia a hearing for a new trial last year, and in January of 2010 issued a very dangerous ruling that overturned an earlier decision by federal judge William Yohn that vacated the death penalty. Abu-Jamal is now perhaps closer to execution than he has ever been. Even if execution is prevented, he faces the sinister prospect of life in prison for a crime he did not commit, and of which no fair trial has yet to convict him.

Abu-Jamal, an African-American writer and journalist, author of six books and hundreds of columns and articles, has been kept alive through nearly 30 years of appeals due to the vigor of his lawyers, and a public mobilized nationally and internationally in his support. The distinguished human rights organizations, Amnesty International, concluded an independent study of the case, arguing “that justice would best be served by a new trial.”

Abu-Jamal, is also supported in his demands by heads of state from France to South Africa, by Nobel Laureates Nelson Mandela, Toni Morrison, Desmund Tutu, by the European Parliament, by city governments from Detroit to San Francisco to Paris, France, scholars, religious leaders, artists, scientists, the Congressional Black Caucus and other members of U.S. Congress, the NAACP, labor unions, and by countless thousands who cherish democratic and human rights the world over.

“It is not just his notoriety or his publishing accomplishments that makes Abu-Jamal such an extraordinary figure,” says scholar/writer, Tameka Cage of Pittsburgh, who is one of the three coordinators of Educators for Mumia Abu-Jamal (EMAJ), which organized the Columbia conference. “It is also his extraordinary humanity, his ability to tap into the universal concerns of so many, and in fact to foreground others’ concerns and not just his own.”

The conference is co-sponsored by a wide array of other groups from Columbia University: Lucha, Black Students Organization, Muslim Students Association and International House. [others?]

Another EMAJ coordinator, Johanna Fernandez of Baruch College, stressed the linkage between Abu-Jamal’s case and the struggles of so many others. “We would like to re-ignite a real conversation about the racialized character of mass and wrongful incarceration in America.  We believe that Mumia’s case stands as a primer for understanding race and the criminal justice system as it relates to broader questions about many dimensions of political power in the US.”

The other EMAJ coordinator, Mark Lewis Taylor of Princeton Theological Seminary, emphasized, “The US media tends either to neglect Mumia altogether or to caricature his supporters as only crazed members of some “looney left.” Taylor counters, “The hundreds of educators who have signed ads in the New York Times and elsewhere, with our organization, put the lie to that caricature. With this conference we not only foreground the urgency of Mumia’s case for him, but show how Mumia matters for us all and must become the concern of a broad, informed and diverse public. We think that with the electorate re-energized as it has been in the so-called ‘age of Obama,’ it’s time for a fresh look at Mumia’s case.”

Vijay Prashad, a historian and prolific author, also one of the keynote speakers for the evening, issued a statement in advance heightening the multiple and polycultural energies that the Mumia movement catalyzes. “Those of us who come from other nations found our America in the heart of the global fights for justice. My reference points include the Shays Rebellion, which took place in my home town of Northampton, and later of people like Sojourner Truth, who spent many of her productive years in my neighboring village of Florence. Daniel Shays, Sojourner Truth and so many others fought for the widest definition of freedom, of liberty, of justice. Not for private gain, but for social community. Mumia is a symbol of what has gone wrong in the republic: incarceration instead of education, punitive justice instead of social justice, war instead of peace. A reversal is on hand. Walk with us.

Cornel West, the renown Princeton University professor and major keynoters at the April 3rd event emphasizes that “Mumia’s case, overshadowed still by a judge whose mockery and flippancy turned Mumia’s trial into a Jim Crow court, also forces us to come to terms with how the failure of our two training grounds for citizenship – education and law – signify the disintegration of American democracy.”

The event is open to the public. The workshops beginning at 1:00 p.m. will treat the following issues: (I) “Mumia 101 – An Introduction to the Case,” (II) “Teaching Mumia in the Classroom,” (III) “The National Civil Rights Campaign,” (IV)“Campus Organizing for Mumia,” (V) “Mumia’s Battle in the Courts,” and (VI) “Media-Building a Viral Campaign for Mumia.” Workshops I, II, and III run from 1:00 to 2:30 p.m. Workshops IV, V, and VI, from 3:00 pm to 4:30 pm.

The plenary addresses begin at 7:00 p.m. sharp.

Feb. 2010 Tour for Mumia in San Francisco

Prison Radio House Parties & Events for February

Join: Ramona Africa, Pam Africa, Chairman Fred Hampton Jr., Prison Radio Director Noelle Hanrahan, and many other amazing activists! Space is limited so we would appreciate it if you would RSVP by calling 415.648.4505. Or, you may send us an e-mail to: And, please spread the words to others who may be interested. Thank you!


Thursday, February, 18th at 9:00 AM SF Eight hearing in SF

850 Bryant Street, Courtroom 3rd Fl. San Francisco, CA


Friday, February 19th at 8:00 PM Twin Space

2111 Mission Street

. 3rd Fl Studio #3, San Francisco (at 17th)

For info call 774-240-1741  $10 donation no turned away***

Saturday, February, 20th at 2:00 PM The home of Karen Rudolph

1075 Solana Drive, Mountain View 94040

(Near Los Altos and San Jose )***

Saturday, February, 20th at 7:00 PM The Law offices of Tanya Brannan, Esq.

719 Orchard Street, Santa Rosa, CA 95404


Sunday, February 21st at 10:30 AM The home of Jennifer Beach & Ted Nace

1254 Utah Street, San Francisco, CA 94110

(At the end of

24th Street

in the outer Mission near General Hospital )***

Sunday, February 21st at 6:30 PM The Humanist Hall

390 27th Street, Oakland, CA 94612

( click on Map)


Monday, February 22nd at 9:00 AM JRs hearing, Court Room 11

Ren C. Davidson Alameda County Courthouse

1225 Fallon Street, Oakland, CA, 94612   (12th and Fallon)***

Monday, February, 22nd at 6:30 PM  Black Dot Caf

Update on JRs court date that morning

1195 Pine Street, West Oakland


Ramona Africa: Survivor of the 1985 Police Bomb that was dropped on the MOVE House in Philly, former political prisoner and Minister of Information of the MOVE Organization.

Pam Africa: Spokeswoman for the international concerned family and friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal, and Minister of Confrontation of the MOVE organization.

POCC Chairman Fred Hampton Jr.: Founder of the Prisoners of Conscience Committee, former political Prisoner and son of the assassinated Black Panther Leader.

*If you are unable to attend and would like to make a contribution: Please make your check out to:  Redwood Justice Fund/Prison Radio and mail to:

PO Box 411074, SF,CA 94141

. Or, you can pay on line. Just go to our web site: and click on the words donate with PayPal in the left hand column. RJF is a California 501c3 ( California tax id no. 680334309) not for profit foundation. Thank you for your solidarity! *Please do let us know if any of your contact information has changed.*



Facing Execution in the USA


Princeton University, Murray Dodge Hall, First Floor

Saturday, January 23, 2010

(Organizers express their appreciation to the Office of Religious Life at Princeton University for generously providing our meeting space in Murray Dodge Hall)



10:00 – 10:10                          Greetings and Welcome


10:10 –  10:40                         The State of the Struggle and Legal Case of Mumia Abu-Jamal (Johanna Fernandez, Baruch College, SUNY)

10:40 – 11:15                          Discussion and summary.

11:30 –  12:00                         “Educators for Mumia: What is their Distinctive Role?”

(Mark L. Taylor, Princeton Theological Seminary)

12:00 – 12:30                          Discussion and summary.

12:30  – 1:30                           LUNCH in downtown Princeton (5 min. walk to restaurants)



1: 30 –  2:00                             “Organizing for Mumia in the Present Political Moment”

(Tameka L. Cage, Scholar/Writer)

2:00 – 2:30                              Discussion and summary.

3:00 – 4:00                               “The Present Political Moment & Educators’ Work Now”

(Focused Discussion led by coordinators -Plus, possible

conference call with Mumia Abu-Jamal)

4:00 – 4:15                              Break


Sample Letter of Invitation to Princeton Consultation


I am writing to invite you to consider becoming part of a team of university educators involved in preventing the execution of death row inmate, Mumia Abu Jamal — the brilliant, humane, and prolific writer and advocate for social justice who has become known as the Voice of the Voiceless. The Agenda for this January 23rd, Saturday, event, on the Princeton University campus, is attached.

Last year, the Supreme Court denied Abu-Jamal a hearing for a new trial, and now his defense attorneys fear that the Supreme Court will soon uphold a petition, filed by Philadelphia’s District Attorney, that will once again, make Abu-Jamal vulnerable to execution. Just this month, on January 11th, the Supreme Court ruled on an issue much in contention between advocates and opponents to the death penalty, and the ruling could put Mumia in immediate vulnerability, with a death penalty warrant signed by Pennsylvania Governor, Ed Rendell. We are expecting the Supreme Court to rule directly on Mumia’s case this month.

At this critical juncture in Mumia’s life, I would like to urge you to consider joining me and Professors Tameka Cage (Pittsburgh) and Johanna Fernandez (Baruch College – SUNY)) for a consultation to be held on the campus of Princeton University on Saturday, January 23, 2010.

The consultation will focus on assessing the role of educators within the larger national and international movement for Mumia; mobilizing for the more effective visibility of this case in American public life; and identifying the legal issues in this case that can help us better understand the crisis of mass and wrongful incarceration in the United States.

Mumia Abu-Jamal has been on Pennsylvania’s death row for 27 years for the shooting death of Philadelphia policeman Daniel Faulkner in 1981. Distinguished jurists and human rights activists the world over, including Amnesty International, have called repeatedly for a new and fair trial for him.

Abu-Jamal is the author of six books, hundreds of columns and essays, and an ardent advocate of people’s efforts for emancipation in the  U.S. and around the world. All of his books and many of his essays can be accessed through the web site of Educators for Mumia Abu-Jamal (EMAJ) at At the event, we hope to schedule a short conference call from Mumia himself.

The case of Mumia Abu-Jamal continues to fuel moral indignation around the world because of the utterly fraudulent nature of his conviction. At home, Mumia’s case stands as a primer for understanding race and the criminal justice system: its many violations, including judicial misconduct, discrimination in jury selection, and police corruption and tampering with evidence account for the exponential and disproportionate incarceration of African Americans and Latinos in the United States over the last 30 years, making the issue of incarceration one of the gravest civil rights problems of our time.

Educators are an important part of the movement on Mumia’s behalf. We need to regroup, reorganize and build a resilient team of educators who can bring Mumia’s case and struggle to colleges, universities and other educational institutions.

We hope you will join us:

Saturday, January 23rd
10:00AM to 5:00PM
Princeton University
Murray Dodge Hall
The Office of Religious Life, First Floor





We are calling all interested educators – faculty and students – to attend an important EMAJ-sponsored “EDUCATORS’ CONSULTATION” on January 23rd, on the campus of Princeton University. The purpose of this Consultation is to forge and make stronger the constituency of faculty and students who as a group will no doubt be called upon for very important work in 2010. Just this week – on Tuesday, Janaury 19 –  the U.S. Supreme Court (USSC) has granted the prosecutors’ petition to vacate the suspension of the death sentence. So Mumia is in acute danger. The case has been referred back to the US Third Circuit Court of Appeals, to review Mumia’s case in light of another case that the USSC just ruled on last week, Smith v. Spisak. The two cases are different, and Mumia’s attorneys will argue that they are, and seek relief for Mumia.

For a summary of the relationship between the two cases, see the summary in an October 2009 online commentary in The Legal Intelligencer, at this web site. For the latest U.S. Supreme Court Ruling which puts Mumia in jeopardy, read the complete case at the U.S. Supreme Court web site. We will post the Jan. 19, 2010 ruling of the USSC, as soon as it becomes available.

Our Consultation could hardly be more timely. A public that understands the outrage being committed against Mumia needs to express itself intelligently, effectively and forcefully. The movement for Mumia is international, and in the U.S. it is made up of many spheres – labor, education, youth, indigenous, urban and rural, environmentalists, and police and criminal justice offcials, too, who know better. Educators have long played a crucial role in the Mumia movement and for social justice struggles more broadly. So lets turn out and build our constituency.

For a poster/flyer on the Consultation, go here to POSTER/FLYER . For a letter of invitation to the consultation, which you can send around to colleagues, friends and students, see this sample letter. And for a statement of the tentative agenda, you can read it here.


Find here A campus map of the Princeton University campus, showing the building for the event, Murray-Dodge Hall (the building is circled in red). Public parking is available in the evening and on the weekends in Lot 10, located on both sides of William St. as well as at metered parking spaces on Nassau St. For additional help with directions to Princeton, see MAPQUEST HERE. For written directions, click on FINDING YOUR WAY TO PRINCETON- DIRECTIONS.


By Air
From Newark Liberty International Airport
The Olympic Airporter shuttle service takes you to the Nassau Inn in Princeton; call for schedule and reservations: 800.822.9797 (within the United States) or 732.938.6666 (outside the United States), or visit

The AirTrain takes you from all airport terminals to the Newark Liberty International Airport Train Station. Take New Jersey Transit southbound (Northeast Corridor Line) trains to Princeton Junction. From Princeton Junction take the “Dinky” shuttle train to Princeton. (See By Train.)

From Philadelphia International Airport
Take the R1 High Speed Rail Line (entrance on pedestrian bridges and commercial roadway), limousine service (The Olympic Airporter; call for reservations: 800.822.9797 within the United States or 732.938.6666 outside the United States, or visit ), or local taxi service to 30th Street Station in Philadelphia, where you can purchase a SEPTA/New Jersey Transit ticket to take a SEPTA train to Trenton and a New Jersey Transit train to Princeton Junction. From Princeton Junction take the “Dinky” shuttle train to Princeton. (See by Train.)

By Bus
From Port Authority Bus Terminal in New York City (41st Street and 8th Avenue)
Purchase a Suburban Transit bus ticket to Princeton at windows 16 through 19 on the first floor. Board the bus on the third floor (fourth level) at gates 420 through 422. The bus leaves every half hour between 6:00 a.m. and 11:00 p.m. on weekdays and between 9:00 a.m. and 11:00 p.m. on weekends, and every half hour on the hour until 1:00 a.m. The trip is one and one-half hours. Ask the driver to let you off at Nassau Street and Witherspoon Street. That corner is marked by a red dot and arrow on the Princeton University campus map, also at the EMAJ web site. The University can be easily accessed from that corner. The use campus map to guide your walk to Murray Dodge Hall.

By Train
From New York City (and north) and Philadelphia (and south)

New Jersey Transit services Princeton from the north (New York City, Newark), with connecting service from the south (Trenton, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington DC). Amtrak trains stop in Trenton, and some at Princeton Junction. Take the train to Princeton Junction and transfer to the “Dinky” shuttle train into Princeton. The Dinky shuttle station is marked in read on the Princeton University campus map, also at the EMAJ web site. You can easily walk onto the Princeton University campus from the shuttle. Approximate walking time is five minutes.

By Car
From the North/New York City

Take the New Jersey Turnpike South to Exit 9 (New Brunswick). After the tollbooths, bear right onto the ramp for Route 18 North. Shortly after getting onto Route 18 North the road will fork; stay to the left of the fork, in the right lane. Bear right onto the exit for Route 1 South/Trenton. Follow Route 1 South to Washington Road (Princeton). Turn right onto Washington Road and continue straight into Princeton, about 1 mile. Continue across Faculty Road, the first light you come to, and at that point you are entering the University campus area. For parking your best bet is to continue on several more blocks until you come to William Street. Turn right on William Street and proceed to Lot 10, about a half a block down. Visitors parking is allowable in Lot 10, which is on both sides of William Street.

OR, when you are on Washington Road, you can continue beyond William Street, one  more block further, to Nassau Street, turn right or left and look for metered parking along the streets of downtown Princeton. The use the Princeton University map to position yourself and for guiding your walk to Murray Dodge Hall from wherever you park.

From the West
Take I-78 East into New Jersey. Exit onto I-287 South toward Somerville. Follow signs for Routes 202/206 South. Travel south on 202 for a short distance and then follow signs for Route 206 South. You will go around a traffic circle. Continue south on Route 206 for about eighteen miles to Nassau Street (Route 27) in the center of Princeton. Turn left onto Nassau Street. At this point you should start looking for metered parking on the street. The Princeton University campus will be on your right. Use the campus map at the EMAJ web site to guide your walk to Murray-Dodge Hall. If you cannot find metered parking on Nassau Street, continue along Nassau, until you come to Washington Road, and turn right. Proceed just one block, and turn left onto William Street. Go about a half a block and you will come to a “Lot 10” on both sides of William Street (to your right and left). Turn into Lot 10 and park. It is available to visitors on weekends.

From the South
From southern New Jersey take I-295 North (becomes I-95 South) to the “Princeton Pike North” exit and continue on Princeton Pike for approximately five miles. Follow the Princeton Pike right into Princeton. Princeton Pike – follow it all the way –  will become in the Princeton community Mercer Street, and then Nassau Street in downtown Princeton. When on Nassau Street begin to look for metered parking. If you cannot find metered parking on Nassau Street, continue along Nassau, until you come to Washington Road, and turn right. Proceed just one block, and turn left onto William Street. Go about a half a block and you will come to a “Lot 10” on both sides of William Street (to your right and left). Turn into Lot 10 and park. It is available to visitors on weekends.

From the East

Take I-95 West toward Trenton to the exit for I-295 North (becomes I-95 South) to the “Princeton Pike North” exit and continue on Princeton Pike for approximately five miles. Follow the Princeton Pike right into Princeton. Princeton Pike – follow it all the way – will become Mercer Street in the Princeton community, and then Nassau Street in downtown Princeton. When on Nassau Street begin to look for metered parking. If you cannot find metered parking on Nassau Street, continue along Nassau, until you come to Washington Road, and turn right. Proceed just one block, and turn left onto William Street. Go about a half a block and you will come to a “Lot 10” on both sides of William Street (to your right and left). Turn into Lot 10 and park. It is available to visitors on weekends. Wherever you park, refer to the campus map from the EMAJ web site to orient you for walking to Murray Dodge Hall.

From Philadelphia
Take I-95 North into New Jersey and exit at “Princeton Pike North” and continue on Princeton Pike for approximately five miles. Follow the Princeton Pike right into Princeton. Princeton Pike will become Mercer Street and then, right in the downtown, become Nassau Street. When on Nassau Street begin to look for metered parking. If you cannot find metered parking on Nassau Street, continue along Nassau, until you come to Washington Road, and turn right. Proceed just one block, and turn left onto William Street. Go about a half a block and you will come to a “Lot 10” on both sides of William Street (to your right and left). Turn into Lot 10 and park. It is available to visitors on weekends.



Professor Dennis Brutus died quietly in his sleep on the 26th December, earlier this morning. He is survived by his wife May, his sisters

Helen and Dolly, eight children, nine grandchildren and four great- grandchildren in Hong Kong, England, the USA and Cape Town.

Dennis lived his life as so many would wish to, in service to the causes of justice, peace, freedom and the protection of the planet. He remained positive about the future, believing that popular movements will achieve their aims.

Dennis’ poetry, particularly of his prison experiences on Robben Island, has been taught in schools around the world. He was modest about his work, always trying to improve on his drafts.

His creativity crossed into other areas of his life, he used poetry to mobilize, to inspire others to action, also to bring joy. We wish to thank all the doctors, nurses and staff who provided excellent care for Dennis in his final months, and to also thank St Luke’s Hospice for their assistance. There will be a private cremation within a few days and arrangements for a thanks giving service will be made known in early January.



World-renowned political organizer and one of Africa’s most celebrated poets, Dennis Brutus, died early on December 26 in Cape Town, in his sleep, aged 85.

Even in his last days, Brutus was fully engaged, advocating social protest against those responsible for climate change, and promoting reparations to black South Africans from corporations that benefited from apartheid. He was a leading plaintiff in the Alien Tort Claims Act case against major firms that is now making progress in the US court system.

Brutus was born in Harare in 1924, but his South African parents soon moved to Port Elizabeth where he attended Paterson and Schauderville High Schools. He entered Fort Hare University on a full scholarship in 1940, graduating with a distinction in English and a second major in Psychology. Further studies in law at the University of the Witwatersrand were cut short by imprisonment for anti-apartheid activism.

Brutus’ political activity initially included extensive journalistic reporting, organising with the Teachers’ League and Congress movement, and leading the new South African Sports Association as an alternative to white sports bodies. After his banning in 1961 under the Suppression of Communism Act, he fled to Mozambique but was captured and deported to Johannesburg. There, in 1963, Brutus was shot in the back while attempting to escape police custody. Memorably, it was in front of Anglo American Corporation headquarters that he nearly died while awaiting an ambulance reserved for blacks.

While recovering, he was held in the Johannesburg Fort Prison cell which more than a half-century earlier housed Mahatma Gandhi. Brutus was transferred to Robben Island where he was jailed in the cell next to Nelson Mandela, and in 1964-65 wrote the collections Sirens Knuckles Boots and Letters to Martha, two of the richest poetic expressions of political incarceration.

Subsequently forced into exile, Brutus resumed simultaneous careers as a poet and anti-apartheid campaigner in London, and while working for the International Defense and Aid Fund, was instrumental in achieving the apartheid regime’s expulsion from the 1968 Mexican Olympics and then in 1970 from the Olympic movement.

Upon moving to the US in 1977, Brutus served as a professor of literature and African studies at Northwestern (Chicago) and Pittsburgh, and defeated high-profile efforts by the Reagan Administration to deport him during the early 1980s. He wrote numerous poems, ninety of which will be published posthumously next year by Worcester State University, and he helped organize major African writers organizations with his colleagues Wole Soyinka and Chinua Achebe.

Following the political transition in South Africa, Brutus resumed activities with grassroots social movements in his home country. In the late 1990s he also became a pivotal figure in the global justice movement and a featured speaker each year at the World Social Forum, as well as at protests against the World Trade Organisation, G8, Bretton Woods Institutions and the New Partnership for Africa’s Development.

Brutus continued to serve in the anti-racism, reparations and economic justice movements as a leading strategist until his death, calling in August for the `Seattling’ of the recent Copenhagen summit because sufficient greenhouse gas emissions cuts and North- South `climate debt’ payments were not on the agenda.

His final academic appointment was as Honorary Professor at the University of KwaZulu-Natal Centre for Civil Society, and for that university’s press and Haymarket Press, he published the autobiographical Poetry and Protest in 2006.

Amongst numerous recent accolades were the US War Resisters League peace award in September, two Doctor of Literature degrees conferred at Rhodes and Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in April – following six other honorary doctorates – and the Lifetime Achievement Award of the South African government Department of Arts and Culture in 2008.

Brutus was also awarded membership in the South African Sports Hall of Fame in 2007, but rejected it on grounds that the institution had not confronted the country’s racist history. He also won the Paul Robeson and Langston Hughes awards.

The memory of Dennis Brutus will remain everywhere there is struggle against injustice. Uniquely courageous, consistent and principled, Brutus bridged the global and local, politics and culture, class and race, the old and the young, the red and green. He was an emblem of solidarity with all those peoples oppressed and environments wrecked by the power of capital and state elites – hence some in the African National Congress government labeled him `ultraleft’. But given his role as a world-class poet, Brutus showed that social justice advocates can have both bread and roses.

Brutus’s poetry collections are: –Sirens Knuckles and Boots (Mbari Productions, Ibaden, Nigeria and Northwestern University Press, Evanston Illinois, 1963).

Letters to Martha and Other Poems from a South African Prison (Heinemann, Oxford, 1968).

Poems from Algiers (African and Afro-American Studies and Research Institute, Austin, Texas, 1970).

A Simple Lust (Heinemann, Oxford, 1973).

China Poems (African and Afro-American Studies and Research Centre, Austin, Texas, 1975).

Strains (Troubador Press, Del Valle, Texas).

– Stubborn Hope (Three Continents Press, Washington, DC and Heinemann, Oxford, 1978).

Salutes and Censures (Fourth Dimension, Enugu, Nigeria, 1982).

Airs and Tributes (Whirlwind Press, Camden, New Jersey, 1989).

Still the Sirens (Pennywhistle Press, Santa Fe, New Mexico, 1993).

– Remembering Soweto, ed. Lamont B. Steptoe (Whirlwind Press, Camden, New Jersey, 2004).

Leafdrift, ed. Lamont B. Steptoe (Whirlwind Press, Camden, New Jersey, 2005).

– Poetry and Protest: A Dennis Brutus Reader, ed. Aisha Kareem and Lee Sustar (Haymarket Books, Chicago and University of KwaZulu-Natal Press, Pietermaritzburg, 2006).

He is survived by his wife May, his sisters Helen and Dolly, eight children, nine grandchildren and four great-grandchildren in Hong Kong, England, the USA and Cape Town.(By Patrick Bond)






Come and Join us for a very special event!!!
The Black Cotton Foundation
Date: Saturday, November 7, 2009
Time: 7:00pm – 9:00pm
Location: The Malcolm X & Dr. Betty Shabazz
Memorial and Education Center
Street: 3940 Broadway @ 165th Street, Washington Heights
City/Town: New York, NY

We invite you to join us for a very special evening at a very sacred place. The Black Cotton Foundation will be celebrating the 75th Birthday of Dr. Betty Shabazz as they present their 3rd annual Dr. Betty Bahiyah Shabazz Award. This award is given to a person or family who are a positive light in our community despite suffering as tragic loss or overcoming overwhelming obstacles on their own.
This year’s recipients are activist Pam Africa of the Move Movement and Chairperson of the Friends of Mumia Coalition and Civil Rights Movement (and) icon Myrlie Evers-Williams, widow of Medgar Evers, author, and former chairperson of the NAACP. There will also be a special award presented to Jasmina Anema, a 6 year old girl who is suffering from a rare form of leukemia; her courage inspired the entire community by thousands of people coming out to bone marrow drives to save her life.

So join us for an evening of singing, dancing, spoken word, stepping, inspiration, laughs, and tears as we celebrate the life of a great woman, Dr. Betty Shabazz.

Best of all, it’s free!!!


From: SF Bay View News Alert!!

NYPD attacks Juanita Young family

“Juanita is planning for a rally Sunday or Monday”

Date: Sun, 09 Aug 2009 05:30:25 -0400
From: the humbled poupon <>
Subject: 43rd precinct attacked and arrested Juanita Young’s family Saturday night

(Those of you who may not be familiar with Juanita, her son Malcolm Ferguson was killed by NYPD in 2000 and she has since been a vocal activist against and a continuous victim of police brutality. You can read more about her and what she’s been through on the following pages: )

A little after 11pm Saturday night, I was standing in front of Juanita’s building when this all went down (Juanita was having a cookout in the backyard, but sitting out front with her kids, grandbabies, neighbors and friends). The 43rd precinct had been driving around the block all night (and all week, apparently), stopping and searching just about every male that was on that block (while I was there, one young man was stopped as he was coming out of the corner store with Reese’s peanut butter cups in his hands). Over a dozen cops seemed to appear out of nowhere, broke the front door down, slammed JJ (Juanita’s oldest son) up behind the door, and beat him on the head while cuffing him. This was all happening with kids and babies around (photos posted at ; I was told later that the cops went upstairs into Juanita’s apartment, made everyone get down on the floor, and also arrested her daughters Saran and Naya, Saran’s baby’s father Tyrell, their cousin Jason, and family friends Jonathan and Mike. They were brought to the 43rd precinct.

Some time before 2:30am, Jonathan was let go, given a summons for disorderly conduct (that was for his trying to bring water to JJ). At about 3:30am, Saran, Naya, Tyrell, and Mike got back to the house, also let go with disorderly conduct charges. The cops claim that JJ and Jason have warrants, so they’re holding them.

According to those that just got back, JJ is really bad off (I saw him throwing up when they were putting him into the car), with lumps on his head and he can’t open his eyes because of the pepperspray. The cops are denying medical attention – please call the precinct and ask that they bring James Ferguson to the hospital: 718-542-0888

Juanita is planning for a rally Sunday or Monday – will post as soon as it’s decided. She said to give out her cell if anyone needs to talk to her 646-294-8344. Please forward/repost!

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