Prison Radio
Mumia Abu-Jamal

Iyaluua Ferguson, 91 Years of Life, Love, and Struggle
The long-term activist and educator Iyaluua Ferguson, wife of former political prisoner Herman
Ferguson, is finally reached her rest.
Born Constance Josephine Swan on June 28, 1932, in Brooklyn, her father Chieftan Swan and
mother Mary Koch gave her a brother Charles and her sisters Julia and Gloria.
When she graduated Summa Cum Laude with an Education Degree from Hunter College in 1965,
she began a long and distinguished career as a teacher at P.S. 40. She found a partner in Herman
Ferguson as both opposed the racism they found in the public school system in New York.
In 1967, Herman Ferguson got arrested and she helped begin a defense committee for him and
other members of the Black Brotherhood Improvement Association.
In 1972, Herman went into exile in Guyana in South America, where she would join him. On June
29, 1972, the two were married, and she would take the name Iyaluua.
Iyaluua Ferguson would continue her passion for education by becoming Executive Editor of the
Guyana National Service Publishing Office, where she edited, wrote, and published educational
materials for Guyanese students and teachers.
When the couple returned to America, Iyaluua would fight again for Herman’s freedom. Herman
would work with the late Safia Bukhari and Jalil Muntaqim to found the Jericho Movement, a
group fighting for the freedom of Black political prisoners.
Iyaluua and Herman would begin the Annual Political Prisoners Tribute Dinner to bring together
the families of such prisoners to demonstrate that they were not alone and isolated.
Iyaluua and Herman retired in July 2000 to go home to North Carolina. Iyaluua is survived by ten
grandchildren and thirteen great grandchildren. After 91 winters, she returns to her ancestors.
With love not fear, this is Mumia Abu-Jamal.
These commentaries are recorded by Prison Radio.