Prison Radio
Mumia Abu-Jamal

“The Man Called Chuck Africa.”

Several days ago came crippling news. Revolutionary Chucky Africa, the youngest of the MOVE Nine, and the last man released, has died of cancer.

Chuck, born Charles Sims in West Philly, was the stalwart of the MOVE organization and a hard-punching warrior in prison. Back in the eighties, Chuck and Delbert joined the state’s boxing program, and back when there was less than a dozen prisons, such teams would visit other prisons for riveting boxing matches. The two men were so strong that they were considered a dynamic duo who delivered punishing body shots.

Nor did Chuck confine his fighting through the ring, as shown by an example of his explosive power when he was discussing a matter with a white shirt, or ranking officer, at Dallas in the nineties. Chuck took offense at a response he was given and punched him the man so hard he was out cold when he hit the ground.

His long spells in the hole, while offering him an excellent opportunity to talk to other prisoners, denied them access to fresh air and sunlight in any meaningful amounts. He studied history and politics and read voraciously. Indeed, he, not long ago, published an essay of his thoughts and observations drawn from decades in prison called, “From Darkness to Gray.” In it, Chuck is astute, thoughtful, and to the point. Chuck, writing when in his thirties, recorded the following thoughts:

“I began to go over my legal issues and strategy for the lawsuit in my mind. I really didn’t see how the guards who assaulted me would be able to keep their story straight. I felt confident I would win. The facts of the matter are irrefutable. I have several eyewitnesses, and in addition, I have filmed footage. I subpoenaed showing my injured state when I arrived at a federal prison directly from Camp Hill. However, I am prepared for rumble, because I have never met a cop or a prison guard that ever admitted to their misdeeds. That’s especially true when the issue is about brutality.” The thoughts, the words of lifelong revolutionary Chuck Africa.

Chucky lived to see his 65th summer after over 40 years in prison. Chucky Africa, freed in 2021, was a man of fire and ice who ended his letters to friends and family with the words: “Love and rage.”

From imprisoned nation, this is Mumia Abu-Jamal.

These commentaries are recorded by Prison Radio.