The National Conference of Black Lawyers Calling forRelease of All Political Prisoners in the United States Paying Tribute El Hajj Malik Shabazz (Malcolm X)

El Hajj Malik Shabazz, known best as Malcolm X, was born May 19, 1925 in Omaha, Nebraska. While imprisoned early in his life he embraced the Nation of Islam and committed himself to a life of uplifiting black people. Malcolm spoke eloquently and passionately about not only the right but the duty of black people to demand human rights by any means necessary.  He became a world renowned advocate for liberation of black people. His strident positions on the right and obligation to seek liberation from the racist policies and practices of the United States government resulted in an attempt to isolate him from the “mainstream” civil rights movement. Yet despite these ardent attempts to paint him as fomenting violence and hatred against whites, his followers grew in number, hearing his true message of demanding human rights for African peoples. Indeed, prior to his death, he and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., were in discussions concerning the way forward. Malcolm X taught that all oppressed peoples should demand their human rights whether the oppression was based on color, religion or other “isms” that serve to divide.

As Malcolm X broadened his perspective on the oppression of black people in the United States his commitment to Islam broadened, noting that in Islamic countries white and black Muslims prayed together side by side. His rise to leadership on issues of oppression made him a frequent target of the FBI’s Counterintelligence Program (COINTELPRO). During the course of his strident advocacy his home was bombed and his life threatened several times. He was assassinated on February 21, 1965 at age 39.

Mondo We Langa (aka David Rice) was born May 21, 1947 in Omaha, Nebraska. A fellow Nebraskan with Malcolm X, he also embraced the commitment to obtain the liberation of African peoples in the United States. He and fellow Black Panther member, Ed Poindexter (known as the Omaha 2), were convicted in 1971 for the murder of an Omaha police officer. The Omaha 2 were under constant surveillance by COINTELPRO and the Omaha police because of their activism around police brutality and the denial of human rights to black people. There is credible evidence that Mondo We Langa was deprived of a fair trial, including evidence that the FBI interfered with the conduct of the trial, colluding with the prosecutor to withhold evidence that would cast reasonable doubt on his guilt. During nearly 40 years of incarceration in Nebraska, Mondo We Lango, has an exemplary prison record. Yet he is continuously denied parole.

This continuing injustice and Malcolm X’s indomitable spirit calls for the release of all political prisoners.