R.I.P. Geronimo

Roger Porter

June 6, 2011


I just found out that last Thursday former black panther Elmer “Geronimo” Pratt died at the age of 63 in a village in Tanzania. Although Pratt was a charismatic leader and an extremely determined man, he is best known for being falsely convicted of murder in 1968. Geronimo Pratt served 27 years in prison for a crime that he did not do. He wasn’t released until 1997.

Nelson Mandela also served 27 years in prison on trumped up charges. And when both of these men were released they showed no bitterness. They only aimed to move their lives in a righteous direction. I really can’t understand the mental and spiritual strength that it would take to get through a 27 year sentence, let alone for a crime that you did not commit. I consider myself to be very passionate about my political beliefs, however, I don’t know if the passion burns bright enough to survive 27 years in an institution that was created to destroy me.

Once again I find myself taken aback by the fervor of that era. I’ve barely been on this Earth for 27 years and these men served that time in prison because they were committed to bringing about change. They demanded that their people be treated like human-beings and that was considered to be a subversive act. Well then let their collective power continue to inspire us all. May Nelson Mandela continue to age in grace and may Brother Geronimo rest in immortality.

We will never forget your sacrifice.

Elmer “Geronimo” Pratt

September 13, 1947- June 2, 2011

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