Letter from Mumia

Long Live John Africa!


Kudos on your newsletter, The New Abolitionist (May 1998) II:3; it is an excellent presentation, especially with its "Voices From Inside" feature.

It is fitting that I read it on the eve of the 4th of July, forcing me to think of the revered Frederick Douglass' famous speech (I think made in Buffalo) in which he intoned, "What, to a slave, is your 4th of July?" To thousands of men and women on American death rows, the 4th of July is equally empty and meaningless - truly just another day.

I thank you for your kind words and invite you to write to Susan1218@aol.com; you have my permission to utilize any of my columns (access at mumia@aol.com) for publication in The New Abolitionist. Ok? I really cannot write separately, and honestly believe you will find a wealth of data to use in your newsletter from that timely resource, ok? As you may know, I've been lately immersed in a Master's study that quite literally sucks up my time and energy. I eat it, sleep it, and dream it! [Mumia is responding to my request that he write updates on his case for The New Abolitionist. Readers should definitely check out the above-mentioned resources.]

I found your choice of title [The New Abolitionist] quite interesting, especially in light of the (tiny) movement that challenges whiteness, and which utilizes the following as a title of their periodical: Race Traitor: A Journal of The New Abolitionism. Coincidence?

In any event, I think it would be useful for you to read works such as Deathworks, by Robert Johnson, and White by Law, by Ian F. Haney pez (NYU Press). These give some insights into the life of death row and how the law affirms the worth of whiteness, and conversely, the nonworth (and therefore, dispensability) of those deemed "nonwhites." Perhaps it will work to strengthen you/your group's inner notion of what "New Abolitionist" means (and, of course, it might weaken it?).

Your choice of a masthead quote by Douglass is instructive and challenging in that it is an invitation to us all to struggle for what is right against great odds. The struggle for freedom, for life, is ever thus. I second his words, for they strike at the very heart of your endeavor: "Those who profess to favor freedom, and deprecate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground. They want rain without thunder and lightning. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters. This struggle may be a moral one; or it may be a physical one; or it may be both moral and physical; but it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did, and it never will." (Douglass)

Let Douglass' words be your light; live them; learn them; teach them. If he inspires you, you will be truly "New Abolitionists": militant, determined, and unrelenting. You can also be victorious.

Ona move! Long live John Africa's revolution!

Mumia Abu-Jamal
#AM-8335, SCI Greene
1040 East R. Furman Highway
Waynesburg, PA 15370-8090

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