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Unique View of An African from America

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We Remember April (Exile 2010)
Aspirations, Aaron Douglas, 1936

SNCC co leader Ralph Featherstone, left, and Hubert ‘Rap’ Brown (Imam Jamil Al-Amin) at 1960s press conference

Ralph Featherstone (1939-1970) had his ashes scattered in Nigeria on 7 April 1970. His assassination at age 30 along with that of William ‘Che’ Payne by a bomb in his car in Maryland USA effectively ended the well organized SNCC (Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (1960-1969), Student National Coordinating Committee (1969-mid 1970s).

 FBI Head J Edgar Hoover


 Factual data is not necessary: the only goal is effect.”

 Special Agent John J. Dunleavy of the FBI COINTELPRO (counterintelligence) in 1967

April is a month in the northern hemisphere that signifies new growth.

Spring is a time in which buds on trees flower, gloriously celebrating the end of winter. The sap in nature,  including in humans, rises, as courtship and flirting are a prelude to reproduction. Joyous and a reminder of life’s replenishing power, April is a potent time of year for many people.


There can never be an April for some of us that comes without memory of the frozen silence about a certain season. That era was  ’69-’70 when the limits of withstanding trauma were reached and exile and flight into the underground were the answer. There is a blotting out of the situation forty years since the youth and young adults who did not give up, who pressed on past the millions of dollars the White House showered onto the still smouldering cities. Hundreds of the formerly civil and defensive minded Africans in the USA committed to the Black Movement for Justice commandeered airplanes in the American skies to other nations. Political Exiles made it to France, Sweden and beyond. The offensive attacks on the system intensified and was establishing itself  and like the ANC and various African anti-colonialists, much of the ‘left’ in the West, formed an underground fighting formation. The prison movement roared back at oppressive forces but shining lights such as George Jackson were targeted for death. The FBI/CIA apparatus forced dozens of human rights activists and political advocates to escape from the USA. Glanton Dowdell, William Lee Brent and others less well known were accepted overseas as people who had stood up and untangled themselves from the eagle’s claws. The Panther 21 had been exonerated from numerous criminal charges by corrupt New York City and FBI officials, a pregnant Afeni Shakur, the key legal mind of the Panther 21 was about to give birth to son Tupac Shakur. At the same time, Robert and Mabel Williams and their two sons, the most famous of US Political Exiles since 1960, returned to America from China in 1969 after living in Canada, Cuba, Tanzania and China.

http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2006/02/07/arts/07negr1_184.jpg               2http://i.telegraph.co.uk/multimedia/archive/01713/panthers0_1_1713206c.jpg    1

Two Generations of US Political Exiles


l., former Black Panther Party for Self Defense leaders Kathleen and Eldridge Cleaver, center, whose children were born in Algeria and North Korea and 2., Robert and Mabel Williams, self defense advocates against racists who were framed by false FBI kidnapping charges in 1959.


April, 1970 saw the murder, dynamited in their car Mississippi Klu Klux Klan style, of Washington DC’s brilliant global travelled Ralph Featherstone and William ‘Che’ Payne of SNCC. Ralph Featherstone had been influential in forming at least 40 Freedom Schools in the US South, mainly Mississippi, teaching literacy, voting rights and the history of Africans in America.

Three days and two years after the assassination of Martin Luther King,  Ralph Featherstone, after the attempted framing of the Panther 21 in New York City, after his mentoring by Ella Baker, sharpened intellectually and in the street by Kwame Ture (Stokeley Carmichael), James Forman, Bob Moses, H. Rap Brown, Julian Bond, Fannie Lou Hamer and John Lewis, was mangled in a thunderous Bel Air, Maryland explosion. Ralph had been one of various soldiers not prepared to wait on Washington DC’s timetable, and as the former  SNCC program director had told his new bride, his ashes were to be  spread to the winds in Africa.


28 April 2010

From Exile,



See Related Articles:


Maryland, Launchpad For Liberation (Exile 2006)



Jalil & The SF8 (Exile 2008)



Film Critic (Exile 2009)



Gary’s Blues (Exile 2010)


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The incompetent bombers blew themselves up.

Simple lesson: monkeys shouldn't play with dynamite.

Thanks for your comments, anonymous. Do you have information to the contrary? Or are you expert at just calling people names?

Answer intelligently.

Then we'll see if you can be released into cyber society' beyond the comment block I have lifted, momentarily, for you!


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