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THE TOP TEN STREET SOLDIERS OF THE CIVIL RIGHT MOVEMENT
'THE RUNNERS AND GUNNERS'
1. Bill Ayers, Bernardine dohrn - Weather underground. the organization's express political goal was to create a revolutionary party to overthrow what it saw as U.S. imperialism. The WUO was classified by the FBI as "domestic terrorist group". With revolutionary positions characterized by black power and opposition to the Vietnam War. the WUO took part in actions such as the jailbreak of Timothy Leary in 1970. The "Days of Rage", the WUO's first public demonstration, was an October 1969 riot in Chicago timed to coincide with the trial of the Chicago Seven. In 1970, the group issued a "Declaration of a State of War" against the United States government under the name "Weather Underground Organization". In the 1970s, the WUO conducted a bombing campaign targeting government buildings along with several banks. Some attacks were preceded by evacuation warnings, along with threats identifying the particular matter that the attack was intended to protest. Three members of the group were killed in an accidental Greenwich Village townhouse explosion, but no one were killed in any of the terrorist attacks. The WUO communiqué issued in connection with the bombing of the United States Capitol on March 1, 1971 indicated that the bombing was conducted "in protest of the U.S. invasion of Laos". The WUO asserted that its May 19, 1972 bombing of the Pentagon was carried out "in retaliation for the U.S. bombing raid in Hanoi". The WUO announced that its January 29, 1975 bombing of the United States Department of State building was an action taken "in response to the escalation in Vietnam".The WUO began to disintegrate after the United States reached a peace accord in Vietnam in 1973. By 1977, the organization was defunct.
2. Jeff Fort - Fort is currently serving a 168 year prison sentence after being convicted of conspiracy and weapons charges in 1987 for plotting to commit attacks inside the U.S. in exchange for weapons and $2.5 million from Libya
3. John Africa. - Founder of MOVE, a Philadelphia-based, self-proclaimed predominantly black organization active from the early 1970s and still active. He was killed during an armed standoff in 1985 with the Philadelphia Police Department. He adopted the name "John Africa" because he believed Africa to be the place where life originated. After MOVE and John Africa moved to a new location on Osage Ave. in West Philadelphia, law enforcement officials obtained permission from the Mayor's office to evict members of MOVE due to neighborhood complaints of obscenity. On May 13, 1985, they attempted to evict MOVE. The eviction developed into an armed standoff with MOVE.
During the raid, the Philadelphia Police Department head of bomb disposal, on board a Pennsylvania State Police helicopter, dropped a satchel containing a gel-based explosive on a fortified bunker occupied by members of MOVE. The resulting explosion started a fire that resulted in the destruction of 65 homes in the neighborhood. The order was given by city officials to "let the fire burn" and consequently members were not able to escape the home. There is a debate as to why this is the case; members of MOVE claim they were met by open fire outside the house. Participating officers claim this is incorrect.
The explosion, fire, and shootout killed most MOVE members, including Africa, five other adults and five children. Only Ramona and Birdie Africa survived, but both were severely burned. Birdie was released but Ramona was convicted and sentenced to serve a maximum sentence of 7 years in prison. She served the full time.
4. Stokely Carmichael. - SNICC, while attending Howard University. He eventually developed the Black Power movement, first while leading the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee(SNCC), later serving as the "Honorary Prime Minister" of the Black Panther Party (BPP), and lastly as a leader of the All-African People's Revolutionary Party (A-APRP). Carmichael was one of the original SNCC freedom riders of 1961 under Diane Nash's leadership. He became a major voting rights activist in Mississippi and Alabama after being mentored by Ella Baker and Bob Moses. armichael chose to develop independent black political organizations, such as the Lowndes County Freedom Organization and, for a time, the national Black Panther Party. Inspired by Malcolm X's example, he articulated a philosophy of "black power", and popularized it both by provocative speeches and more sober writings. Carmichael became one of the most popular and controversial Black leaders of the late 1960s. J. Edgar Hoover, director of the FBI, secretly identified Carmichael as the man most likely to succeed Malcolm X as America's "black messiah". The FBI targeted him for personal destruction through its COINTELPRO program, and Carmichael fled to Africa in 1968. He re-established himself in Ghana, and Guinea by 1969, where he adopted the new name of Kwame Ture.
5. Bobby Seal - American political activist. He and fellow activist Huey P. Newton co-founded the Black Panther Party. While at college, Bobby Seale joined the Afro-American Association (AAA), a group on campus devoted to advocating Black separatism. "I wanted to be an engineer when I went to college, but I got shifted right away since I became interested in American Black History and trying to solve some of the problems." Seale's objective was to teach the youth in the program Black American History and teach them a degree of responsibility towards the people living in their communities. Seal then co-founded, in October 1966 to create the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense, which adopted the late activist's slogan "freedom by any means necessary" as their own. Bobby Seale was one of the original "Chicago Eight" defendants charged with conspiracy and inciting a riot in the wake of the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago.
6. Huey P. Newton - In 1967, he was involved in a shootout which led to the death of a police officer and in 1974 was accused of shooting a woman, leading to her death. During this time, he continued to pursue graduate studies, eventually earning a Ph.D. in social philosophy. In 1989 he was murdered in Oakland, California by Tyrone Robinson, a member of the Black Guerrilla Family.
Newton attended Merritt College, where he earned an Associate of Arts degree in 1966.
At its inception on October 15, 1966, the Black Panther Party's core practice was its armed citizens' patrols to monitor the behavior of officers of the Oakland Police Department, a practice later known as "copwatching", and challenge police brutality in the city. In 1969, community social programs became a core activity of party members The Black Panther Party instituted a variety of community social programs, most extensively the Free Breakfast for Children Programs, to address issues like food injustice, and community health clinics for education and treatment of diseases including sickle cell anemia, tuberculosis, and HIV/AIDS.
Black Panther Party members were involved in many fatal firefights with police: Huey Newton allegedly killed officer John Frey in 1967, and Eldridge Cleaver led an ambush in 1968 of Oakland police officers, in which two officers were wounded and Panther Bobby Hutton was killed. The party suffered many internal conflicts, resulting in the murders of Alex Rackley and Betty Van Patter.
Newton continued his education, studying at San Francisco Law School, and the University of California at Santa Cruz, where he earned a bachelor's degree. He was a member of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. He later continued his studies and in 1980, he completed a PhD in social philosophy at Santa Cruz.
In 1967, the Mulford Act was passed by the California legislature and signed into law by governor Ronald Reagan, establishing strict gun laws that stripped legal ownership of firearms from Black Panther members and prevented all citizens, black and white, from carrying firearms in public.
In his autobiography, Revolutionary Suicide, he wrote,
During those long years in Oakland public schools, I did not have one teacher who taught me anything relevant to my own life or experience. Not one instructor ever awoke in me a desire to learn more or to question or to explore the worlds of literature, science, and history. All they did was try to rob me of the sense of my own uniqueness and worth, and in the process nearly killed my urge to inquire.
7. Angela Davis. - She emerged as a prominent counterculture activist in the 1960s working with the Communist Party USA, of which she was a member until 1991, and was involved in the Black Panther Partyduring the Civil Rights Movement. After Davis purchased firearms for personal security guards, those guards used them in the 1970's armed takeover of a Marin County, California, courtroom, in which four people were killed. She was prosecuted for three capital felonies, including conspiracy to murder, but was acquitted of the charges.
In Paris, she and other students lived with a French family. She was in Biarritz when she learned of the 1963 Birmingham church bombing, committed by members of the Ku Klux Klan, in which four black girls were killed. She grieved deeply as she was personally acquainted with the victims.
On August 7, 1970, heavily armed 17-year-old African-American high-school student Jonathan Jackson, whose brother was George Jackson, one of the three Soledad Brothers, gained control of a courtroom in Marin County, California. He armed the black defendants and took Judge Harold Haley, the prosecutor, and three female jurors as hostages. As Jackson transported the hostages and two black convicts away from the courtroom, the police began shooting at the vehicle. The judge and the three black men were killed in the melee; one of the jurors and the prosecutor were injured. Although the judge was shot in the head with a blast from a shotgun, he also suffered a chest wound from a bullet that may have been fired from outside the van. Evidence during the trial showed that either could have been fatal. Davis had purchased several of the firearms Jackson used in the attack, including the shotgun used to shoot Haley, which she bought at a San Francisco pawn shop two days before the incident. She was also found to have been corresponding with one of the inmates involved.
Soon after, Davis became a fugitive and fled California. According to her autobiography, during this time she hid in friends' homes and moved at night. On October 13, 1970, FBI agents found her at a Howard Johnson Motor Lodge in New York City. President Richard M. Nixon congratulated the FBI on its "capture of the dangerous terrorist Angela Davis." After her acquittal, Davis went on an international speaking tour in 1972 and the tour included Cuba, where she had previously been received by Fidel Castro in 1969 as a member of a Communist Party delegation.
8. Assata Shakur - A former member of the Black Liberation Army, who was convicted of the first-degree murder of State Trooper Werner Foerster during a shootout on the New Jersey Turnpike in 1973. Shakur was also the target of the FBI's COINTELPRO program, a counterintelligence program directed towards Black Liberation groups and activists.
After graduation, she began using the name Assata Shakur, and briefly joined the Black Panther Party. She then joined the Black Liberation Army, a loosely-knit offshoot of the Black Panthers which led an armed struggle against the US government through tactics such as robbing banks and killing police officers and drug dealers.
Between 1973 and 1977, she was charged with murder, attempted murder, armed robbery, bank robbery, and kidnapping in relation to the shootout and six other incidents. She was acquitted on three of the charges and three were dismissed. In 1977, she was convicted of the murder of Foerster (under New Jersey law the prosecution did not need to prove that Shakur fired the shots that killed either Foerster or Zayd Shakur) and of seven other felonies related to the shootout, in a trial her supporters argue was unfair. While serving a life sentence for murder, she escaped from prison in 1979, later surfacing in Cuba in 1984 where she was granted political asylum.
Shakur has lived in Cuba since 1984, despite US government efforts to have her returned. The FBI has added her to its list of most-wanted terrorists as Joanne Deborah Chesimard.
9. Richard Aoki - Was an American educator and college counselor, best known as a civil rights activist and early member of the Black Panther Party. He joined the early Black Panther Party and was eventually promoted to the position of Field Marshal. Although there were several Asian Americans in the Black Panther Party, Aoki was the only one to have a formal leadership position Following Aoki's death, the Federal Bureau of Investigation's records on him were obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, showing that, over a period of 15 years, he had been an informant for the government on the activities of the San Francisco area dissident movement.
He attended Merritt College for two years, where he became close friends with his longtime acquaintances Huey Newton and Bobby Seale, the founding members of the Black Panther Party; the organization was founded in October 1966, one month after Aoki transferred to the University of California, Berkeley. He graduated with a bachelor's degree in sociology in 1968 and a Master of Social Work degree in 1970.
It was originally reported that Aoki died at his home in Berkeley from complications from dialysis. Nearly a year later, it was publicly revealed that he had died of suicide from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. His life was chronicled in the 2009 documentary film, Aoki.
In early 1967, Aoki joined the Black Panther Party and gave them more guns, Seale wrote. Aoki also gave Panther recruits weapons training, he said in the 2007 interview. “I had a little collection, and Bobby and Huey knew about it, and so when the party was formed, I decided to turn it over to the group,” Aoki said in the interview. “And so when you see the guys out there marching and everything, I’m somewhat responsible for the military slant to the organization’s public image.” In early 1967, the Panthers displayed guns during their “community patrols” of Oakland police and also that May 2, when they visited the state Legislature to protest a bill. Although carrying weapons was legal at the time, there is little doubt their presence contributed to fatal confrontations between the Panthers and the police.
10. Elliott James "L.D." Barkley - The Attica Prison riot. Attica Prison rebellion or Attica Prison riot occurred at the Attica Correctional Facility in Attica, New York, United States, in 1971. Based upon prisoners' demands for better living conditions and political rights, the uprising was one of the most well-known and significant uprisings of the Prisoners' Rights Movement. On September 9, 1971, two weeks after the killing of George Jackson at San Quentin State Prison, 1,281 of the Attica prison's approximately 2,200 inmates rioted and took control of the prison, taking 42 staff hostage.
As a result of the riot, a number of changes were made in the New York prison system to satisfy some of the prisoners' demands, reduce tension in the system, and prevent such incidents in the future. As of 2019, Attica remains the most prominent prison riot to have occurred in the United States.
Throughout the negotiations, there was leadership and organization among the prisoners. Frank "Big Black" Smith was appointed as head of security, and he also kept the hostages and the observers safe. Additionally, an ardent orator, 21-year-old Elliott James "L.D." Barkley, was a strong force during the negotiations, speaking with great articulation to the inmates, the camera crews, and outsiders at home. Barkley, just days away from his scheduled release at the time of the uprising, was killed during the recapturing of the prison. Assemblyman Arthur Eve testified that Barkley was alive after the prisoners had surrendered and the state regained control; another inmate stated that the officers searched him out, yelling for Barkley, and shot him in the back.
We are men! We are not beasts and we do not intend to be beaten or driven as such. The entire prison populace, that means each and every one of us here, have set forth to change forever the ruthless brutalization and disregard for the lives of the prisoners here and throughout the United States. What has happened here is but the sound before the fury of those who are oppressed. We will not compromise on any terms except those terms that are agreeable to us. We’ve called upon all the conscientious citizens of America to assist us in putting an end to this situation that threatens the lives of not only us, but of each and every one of you, as well.
— Elliott James "L.D." Barkley, 1971