Story on the Statement By Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin [formerly H. Rap Brown]

Hunter Gray hunterbadbear at
Mon Dec 24 07:10:08 MST 2001

Note by Hunterbear:

The up-coming death penalty trial of Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin [H. Rap Brown]
is something on which to keep an eye.  He was the last chairman of SNCC
[Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee] during the active life of the
organization which was founded at Raleigh in 1960, blazed  for several years
a dramatically effective social justice trail across the South, and was
functionally gone by the end of the decade.  Rap Brown, as he was known
then, came into the Southern Movement rather late and, although I knew most
of the SNCCers during my continual period in the South -- 1961-1967 -- I did
not know him. [We may have met briefly before he assumed the chair of SNCC.]
He succeeded  the late Stokely Carmichael [Kwame Ture, 1941-1998]  in the
chair capacity -- Stokely having ousted John Lewis [now a Congressman --

The circumstances of the present case are obviously controversial.  But most
media who have covered it have done, at least implicitly, a hostile job --
frequently playing up Mr Al-Amin's brief affiliation with the Black Panthers
and playing down [or not even mentioning]  his SNCC affiliation. [In
addition to John Lewis, another prominent Georgian long active in the old
SNCC, is Julian Bond --  now national president of NAACP.]

Also, in a very broadly related context, here is the  link for the excellent
Civil Rights Movement Veterans website, large and authoritative, which
contains much on the Southern Movement and its people and its historic and
contemporary collateral dimensions

And here is the short piece from the Atlanta newspaper discussing Jamil
Abdullah Al-Amin's statement as his trial draws close.

Claiming innocence in letter to mosque, Al-Amin decries death penalty

Atlanta Journal-Constitution Staff Writer

In a seven page-letter from his cell in the Fulton County Jail, Jamil
Abdullah Al-Amin railed against the death penalty punishment he possibly
faces and said he did not kill Fulton deputy Ricky Kinchen or wound deputy
Aldranon English.

 John Spink / AJC
Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin said the death penalty is "no less brutal" than a
Roman circus.
"I am writing you from my cell in the Fulton County Jail where I reside
falsely imprisoned," Al-Amin states in a letter he sent to his congregation
at the Community Mosque of Atlanta on Dec. 14. "I am falsely accused of
shooting and injuring a Deputy Sheriff and denying another of his life. I am
forced to suffer in silence without the benefit of declaring my own
innocence ... "

Al-Amin is charged in the March 16, 2000, shooting of Kinchen and English.
Kinchen died in the shooting. The deputies were looking to arrest Al-Amin on
a Cobb County warrant when they were shot.

Jury selection for the death penalty trial begins Jan. 7.

Al-Amin's defense attorney Jack Martin said he knows of the letter but
cannot comment on it because of a gag order imposed by Fulton County
Superior Court Judge Stephanie Manis. Manis imposed the gag order at the
request of defense attorneys who said the prosecutor's office was improperly
leaking prejudicial information to the media.

The prosecution also cannot comment, said Erik Friedly, spokesman for the
Fulton County district attorney's office. Friedly said the gag order applies
to Al-Amin as well as the attorneys, but only a judge could determine if the
letter is a violation of the order.

Al-Amin is well knownfor years of civil rights activism in the 1960s with
the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee and a short stint as a member
of the Black Panther Party where he was known as H. Rap Brown. But in the
letter Al-Amin tried to separate from that past.

Al-Amin also talked about his views on the death penalty.

"State executions are little more than ritual murders that mock justice
...," he wrote. "It is as evil and cruel a punishment as the Roman circus
feeding men to lions. It is no less arbitrary and no less brutal."

The letter will be read at an upcoming weekly prayer meeting at the mosque
that Al-Amin heads, said Nadim Ali, a spokesman for the West End mosque. The
letter will be printed in an upcoming mosque newsletter, Ali said.

Ali said it is important that the mosque leader be able to speak to the
public in his own words.

"There was a media barrage on [Al-Amin] after the incident and then the
judge slapped a gag order on him," said Ali.

"He never got a chance to declare his innocence and we feel it may hinder
his ability to get a fair trial."


Hunter Gray [Hunterbear] (social justice)

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