“Jericho Freedom Movements.”
For several centuries, black captives in America’s slave quarters used Bible stories to support their long struggle for freedom. In the long and dark night of bondage, people turned Bible stories into freedom songs which were later called Negro spirituals, such as this example: “Josh fought the battle of Jericho, Jericho, Jericho, Josh fought the battle of Jericho, and the walls came tumbling down.”
For African captives, largely illiterate, this song was a powerful prayer for black liberation that echoed down the corridors of history. In the mid-twentieth century as young black folks joined the black liberation, the name Jericho retained its aura of freedom.
For 20 years now, Jericho once led by the remarkable revolutionary Safiya Bukhari, has been fighting for the freedom of black revolutionaries, veterans or the Black Panther Party, the Black Liberation Army, and other revolutionary formations. Bukhari herself, a veteran leader in the Black Panther Party, a combatant in the Black Liberation Army and the vice president and the Republic of New Afrika, fought long and hard for freedom for political prisoners and prisoners of war. It was said that she did the work of 10 people. And for those who knew Safiya, surely this was an understatement.
Safiya, remembered and loved for her courage, hard work, and dedication to black freedom, is no more, but Jericho is still with us, and Jericho the movement is doing today what black captives have done for centuries: fight for freedom. The voices of chained African captives echo through ground, time in sweet tragic song, longing for freedom still. Josh fought the battle of Jericho, and the walls came tumbling down!
From imprisoned nation, this is Mumia Abu-Jamal.
These commentaries are recorded by Noelle Hanrahan of Prison Radio.