----- Original Message -----
Sent: Thursday, July 05, 2001
Subject: Black Panther Warren Wells remembered
> Our San Francisco Kid passes on
> Black Panther Captain Warren Wells remembered as the people's defender
> by Ida McCray and Kiilu Nyasha
> Warren William Wells was born in San Francisco's Alice Griffith projects
> (Double Rock) on Nov. 13, 1947. His first struggle in a predominately
> community was to overcome the stigma attached to his green eyes and light
> skin. Nicknamed "Dub," Warren got his first taste of prison in 1963 when,
> the tender age of 16, he was sentenced as an adult to Soledad State
> It was there that he met brothers like George Jackson, Eldridge Cleaver,
> Alprentice Bunchy Carter, Hugo Yogi Pinell, Fleeta Drumgo, James McClain,
> and others.
> Like so many of our young Black men (and more recently our young sisters),
> Warren got caught up in the revolving-door prison syndrome. As Soledad
> Brother George L. Jackson noted, "Blackmen born in the U.S. and fortunate
> enough to live past the age of 18 are conditioned to accept the
> inevitability of prison. For most of us, it simply looms as the next phase
> in a sequence of humiliations. Being born a slave in a captive society and
> never experiencing any objective basis for expectation had the effect of
> preparing me for the progressively traumatic misfortunes that lead so many
> blackmen to the prison gate. I was prepared for prison."
> While out of prison in 1967, Eldridge brought Warren into the Black
> Party, whereupon he became the Sergeant at Arms, or Captain Wells. He was
> also dubbed "The San Francisco Kid."
> Dedicated and fearless, Warren was a powerful functionary of the Party on
> both sides of the Bay. In 1968, he was shot and wounded, along with
> Eldridge, during the fire fight between the Panthers and police that
> martyred Lil Bobby Hutton, murdered in cold blood by Oakland police.
> Warren loved his people, his fellow prisoners. But he hated injustice,
> racism, and this rotten system and knew exactly where to direct his rage.
> Needless to say, this level of rebellious consciousness made him a threat
> and a target.
> Back in prison, San Quentin, at the age of 22, Warren planted the seeds of
> struggle and all he had learned from the Party among his fellow prisoners,
> raising political awareness and organizing prisoner solidarity. One of
> best friends was James McClain, who was martyred in the Marin Courthouse
> Slave Rebellion of Aug. 7, 1970. It was McClain, William Christmas,
> Jackson and Warren who planned that guerrilla move to free the Soledad
> Brothers-George Jackson, Fleeta Drumgo, and John Clutchette. Their
> plan was to use the hostages taken to make it to a radio station and
> the murderous and brutal prison conditions behind the walls of California
> prisons at that time.
> Kumasi, one of the soldiers who spent time with Warren behind the walls,
> made the following statement on learning of Warren's death:
> "Warren Wells was a complicated and often misunderstood comrade whose
> history of defiance toward authority and revolutionary activity reaches
> to the early 60s. He was a key member of the prison movement, a Captain in
> the BPP, and was at the center of the storm that raged through the
> California prison system in the 1970s. There may have been cracks in his
> personality-we all have them-but he will not be counted among the broken
> men. And I'll miss him."
> Warren and Kumasi were leaders in the development of a document known as
> Folsom Manifesto, which listed prisoner grievances and demands for major
> changes in prison conditions, sentencing laws, labor rights, etc., and an
> end to the death penalty (which actually happened in 1972, although it was
> later rescinded). They smuggled it out of Folsom lockup to the general
> population resulting in the longest prison strike in California history.
> Aug. 24-25, 1970, Warren and Kumasi confronted the San Quentin
> administration after organizing some 400 Black, Chicano and White
> who stood together in solidarity behind the Manifesto.
> In 1971, Warren was accused of planning bank robberies and other guerrilla
> actions from his cell. When his lifetime comrade-sister Ida McCray
> hijacked a plane to Cuba, it was discovered that she had just visited
> the day before she was accused of air piracy.
> Said Ida, "I learned from Warren how important the Black Panther Party
> how love of people could be translated into a political context, how real
> men treat women, and how to fearlessly soar like an eagle, i.e., take it
> the max.
> "After 40 years, Warren knew what was important-that our responsibility
> first to our families, to take care of them and to take care of our
> especially our youth. I loved Warren; I loved his spirit. He never became
> complacent although he had been locked up most of his life."
> On June 29, Warren died in the custody of the California Department of
> Corrections after "minor" surgery at UCSF Hospital and 17 years, this last
> bid. He is survived by his only son, Warren Wells Jr., his mother,
> Marguerite Wells, two sisters, Patricia Ann Well-Caracter and Donetta
> Wells-Ingram, a host of nieces and nephews and friends and comrades he has
> known a lifetime.
> Funeral services will be held at the Bayview Mortuary at 5187 Third St.,
> Monday, July 9, 2001.
This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Sat Jul 07 2001 - 13:56:35 EDT