[sixties-l] Black Panther Warren Wells remembered

From: radman (resist@best.com)
Date: Fri Jul 06 2001 - 16:08:40 EDT

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    ----- Original Message -----
    From: <chris98@pacbell.net>
    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.

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