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H. Rap Brown

H. Rap Brown

H. Rap Brown in 1967

5th Chairman, Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee
In office
May 1967 â€“ June 1968
Preceded by Stokely Carmichael
Succeeded by organization collapsed

Born October 4, 1943 (1943-10-04) (age 67)
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Spouse(s) Karina Al-Amin
Religion Sunni Islam

Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin (øฌù…ùŠù„ øนøจøฏ øงù„ù„ù‡ øงù„øงù…ùŠù†; born October 4, 1943, as Hubert Gerold Brown), also known as H. Rap Brown, came to prominence in the 1960s as chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and later the Justice Minister of the Black Panther Party. He is perhaps most famous for his proclamation during that period that "violence is as American as cherry pie", as well as once stating that "If America don't come around, we're gonna burn it down". He is also known for his autobiography Die Nigger Die!. He is currently serving a life sentence for homicide.

Contents

[edit] Activism

Brown was born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He became known as H. Rap Brown during the early 1960s. His activism in the civil rights movement included involvement with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), of which he was named chairman in 1967. That same year, he was arrested in Cambridge, Maryland, and charged with inciting to riot as a result of a speech he gave there. He left the SNCC and joined the Black Panthers in 1968.

He appeared on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted List after avoiding trial on charges of inciting riot and of carrying a gun across state lines. His attorneys in the gun violation case were civil rights advocate Murphy Bell of Baton Rouge, and the self described "radical lawyer" William Kunstler. Brown was scheduled to be tried in Cambridge, but the trial was moved to Bel Air, Maryland on a change of Venue.

On March 9, 1970 two black radicals, Ralph Featherstone and William ("Che") Payne died on U.S. Route 1 south of Bel Air, Maryland when a bomb being carried between Payne's legs on the front floorboard of their car exploded completely destroying the car and dismembering both occupants. Allegedly the bomb was intended to be used at the courthouse where Brown was to be tried. The next night the Cambridge, Maryland courthouse was bombed.[1]

Brown disappeared for 18 months, and then he was arrested after a reported shootout with officers. The shootout occurred after what was said to be an attempted robbery of a bar in 1971 in New York.

He spent five years (1971-1976) in Attica Prison after a robbery conviction. While in prison, Brown converted to Islam and changed his name to Jamil Abdullah al-Amin. After his release, he opened a grocery store in Atlanta, Georgia and became a Muslim spiritual leader and community activist preaching against drugs and gambling in Atlanta's West End neighborhood.

It has since been alleged Brown’s life changed again when he allegedly became both, affiliated with a Sunni militant network known as 'Dar ul-Islam'[2] and the leader of Ummah ("a group of mostly African-American converts to Islam, which seeks to establish a separate Sharia-law-governed state within the United States"). These allegations are supposedly supported with affidavits and recordings supplied by several FBI informants within a separate ongoing investigation - that makes reference to but is otherwise unrelated to Brown – and have yet to be entered into the public record via a proper court process.[3] In the meantime, the Muslim Alliance in North America (MANA) issued a statement disagreeing with the characterization of Ummah and its members using words like "shocking and inconsistent".[4]

[edit] 2000 arrest and conviction

On March 16, 2000, in Fulton County, Georgia, Sheriff's deputies Ricky Kinchen and Aldranon English went to al-Amin's home to serve an arrest warrant for his failing to appear in court after a citation for speeding, as well as for impersonating a police officer (al-Amin showed the officer his honorary badge, which was given to him by the city for cleaning up the West End). After stopping in front of al-Amin's home and determining that nobody was there, they drove away and were passed by a black Mercedes that was heading towards the home. Kinchen (the more senior deputy) watched the suspect vehicle, and turned the car around and drove up to it, stopping nose to nose. English approached the Mercedes and told the occupant to show his hands. The occupant opened fire with a .223 rifle. English ran, but was hit four times. Kinchen was shot with the rifle and a 9 mm handgun. The following day, Kinchen died of his wounds at Grady Memorial Hospital. English survived his wounds, and identified al-Amin as the shooter from six photos he was shown while recovering in the hospital. Both of the police officers whom Brown was convicted of shooting were African American.

Shortly after the shootout, al-Amin fled to White Hall, Alabama, where he was tracked down by U.S. marshals and arrested by law enforcement officers after a four-day manhunt. Al-Amin was wearing body armor at the time of his arrest, and near his arrest location, officers located a 9mm handgun and .223 rifle. Ballistics testing showed that both weapons were the same guns used to shoot Kinchen and English. Later, his black Mercedes, riddled with bullet holes, was located.[5]

On March 9, 2002, nearly two years after the shooting took place, al-Amin was convicted of 13 criminal charges, including the murder of deputy Kinchen. Four days later, he was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.[6] He was sent to Georgia State Prison, the state's maximum security facility near Reidsville, Georgia.

At his trial, prosecutors pointed out al-Amin never provided any alibi for his whereabouts at the time of the shootout, nor any explanation as to why he fled the state afterwards. He also did not explain the bullet holes in his car, nor how the weapons used in the shootout were located near him during his arrest. In May 2004, the Supreme Court of Georgia unanimously ruled to uphold al-Amin's conviction.[7]

In August 2007, he was transferred from state custody to Federal custody as Georgia officials decided that al-Amin is too high-profile an inmate for the Georgia prison system to handle. He was moved to a Federal transfer facility in Oklahoma pending assignment to a Federal penitentiary. On October 21, 2007, al-Amin was transferred to the ADX Florence supermax prison in Florence, Colorado.[8]

[edit] Bibliography

  • Die Nigger Die!: A Political Autobiography, Lawrence Hill Books, 1969
  • Revolution by the Book, 1993

[edit] See also

[edit] Notes

[edit] External links




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