His name is Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin, a Muslim Imam, and a prisoner of the U.S. government. But perhaps he is better known (or remembered) as a fiery young icon of the 1960s-era Black Power movement, H. ‘Rap’ Brown. He was called ‘Rap’ because of his quick, snappy style of speech, when he gave voice to the most oppressed Black communities in America.
His outspoken defense of self-defense earned him the eternal enmity of the government (local and federal), and his war against drug dealers in New York resulted in a stretch in New York’s prisons.
In 1976 he was released, a new man, a convert to Islam, and renamed Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin. He became a founder of the local mosque, and a leader of the community. In this new role, he continued to fight against drugs in the community.
In 2000, in what many believe was a set-up, he was charged with shooting two cops in Atlanta, convicted and sent to prison. This, despite conflicting evidence provided by one of those very cops! One of those shot reported flash information that the shooter was a man 5ft, 10in., with gray eyes. Jamil stands 6ft. 5in. and has brown eyes.
The surviving cop claims to have shot his shooter, and a blood trail seems to support this report.
There’s one problem with that scenario: when Imam Jamil was apprehended, days later, he had no gunshot wounds.
But, ultimately, as stories changed, two convictions were returned.
Today, Imam Jamil, at 71 years is seriously ill, the result of a gum infection which has spread throughout his body, causing weakness, swollen feet and ankles.
Poor medical treatment is the norm in American prisons – and Imam Jamil’s experience is no exception.
For seven years he hasn’t seen the sun.
In his youth, in the ‘60s, he was at the very forefront of the Black Freedom Movement, serving as a leading figure in the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and the Black Panther Party. He was a stalwart opponent of white supremacy and racism.
As an Imam he worked to make Atlanta a better city, free from the crippling scourge of drugs.
He deserves better than this.