---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Mon, 22 Apr 2002 19:51:26 -0700
From: radtimes <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Where Are All the Panthers?
Where Are All the Panthers?
By Dan Flynn
FrontPageMagazine.com | April 22, 2002
Editor's note: This article is part of a weeklong series of reports from
the Black Panthers' 35th anniversary reunion held last weekend in
The Black Panthers held their 35th anniversary reunion at the University of
the District of Columbia this past weekend. As evidenced by the gathering's
nearly vacant workshops and sparsely populated main sessions, a lot of the
Panthers weren't able to make it.
Where were all the Panthers?
Eddie Conway of the Baltimore branch of the Black Panther Party couldn't
make the gathering. For the past 32 years, Conway has been serving a life
sentence for murdering a policeman and attempting to kill another cop.
Anthony Jones, a Philadelphia Black Panther, was absent from the reunion.
He got caught up in a bank-robbery more than a generation ago in which
someone was murdered. He's now serving a life-sentence as well.
Assata Shakur, perhaps unable to obtain a visa, remained in Cuba rather
than catch-up on old times with her comrades. Shakur murdered a New Jersey
patrolman in 1973. In 1986 she escaped from prison and fled into the arms
of Fidel Castro.
Although Wesley Cook was unable to attend, he had the courtesy to send
several emissaries, including his crackpot lawyer, Elliot Grossman. The
teenage minister of information for the Philadelphia branch of the Party
now goes by the name of Mumia Abu-Jamal and calls Pennsylvania State
Correctional Institution at Greene home. In 1981, Abu-Jamal murdered police
officer Daniel Faulkner. In the intervening years he has become a hero to
H. Rapp Brown didn't make the reunion either. Like Cook, he's since changed
his name. He now goes by Jamil Abdullah al-Amin. Like Abu-Jamal, al-Amin
delayed the seemingly obligatory act among Panthers of murdering a
policeman until well after the Party had ceased to exist.
David Rice and Ed Poindexter of the Omaha, Nebraska branch of Panthers
weren't in DC for the gathering either. They've been in prison for the last
32 years. In 1970, Rice and Poindexter instructed a juvenile associate to
plant a bomb in an abandoned house. On instructions the youth called the
police and reported a woman screaming inside the house. Larry Minard, one
of the officers who arrived at the scene, stumbled upon the bomb and was
Romain "Chip" Fitzgerald, a Southern California Black Panther, must have
sent his regrets too. Fitzgerald, whose death sentence was overturned when
the Supreme Court outlawed capital punishment, is incarcerated in
California. His supporters label him the longest serving political prisoner
in the United States. His detractors simply call him what he is: a murderer.
With these and many more Panthers either dead or wasting away in jail, who
actually showed up to the meeting?
A woman named Sister Sheeba presided over large portion of the proceedings,
declaring, "We have a little rat-faced boy in the White House who stole the
election." Foul-mouthed Pam Africa attended, but failed to show up to
conduct her workshop. She shouted to a cheering audience later in the
conference, "I am a revolutionary without a motherfuckin doubt." The New
Black Panther Party made their presence known, donning all-black military
costumes and shouting "All Power to the People" at opportune times.
Other than Bobby Seale and Kathleen Cleaver, few of the conference speakers
or attendees had anything to do with the Black Panthers. Most were
Generation X wannabes or graying radicals attempting to relive a nostalgia
that they never experienced.
The next time the Black Panthers hold a reunion, they might want to try
hosting it at a venue where actual Black Panthers might be able to
attend^Ślike a jail.
Dan Flynn is the executive director of Accuracy in Academia and author of
the forthcoming Why the Left Hates America (Prima Forum). This Saturday,
organizers of the Black Panther Reunion kicked him out of their conference.
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