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For Akua Njeri (Deborah Johnson)*

March 12, 2010

by Titilope Sonuga

These booking photos of Akua Njeri – then Deborah Johnson – were taken the day of the assassination of her husband, Chairman Fred Hampton, and 25 days before the birth of Chairman Fred Hampton Jr.
2337 West Monroe
December 4th, 1969
on the cusp of a new year
You
19 years old
lay sleeping
carrying
a new day
in your belly

8 and a half months
of dreams
for a boy
with a fierce spirit

like his father

prayed for him
the power of speech

like his father

in a world
where a Black man
walks with
a target on his forehead
you prayed for him

peace

“Knock, knock”
“Who’s there?”
“Tommy”
“Tommy who?”

bang! bang!

What were you dreaming
of when the first shot was fired
45 rounds
for the 45 times
you must’ve said

“he’ll be just like you”

45 rounds
for the 45 times
he must’ve put
his head to
swollen belly
whispered

“revolution”

to his unborn son

So you lay
on top of him
as he slept silently
human shield
for this
21 year old man
with fire on his tongue
this man
who knew the value
of freedom
because you knew
that the world
needed more men
like him

Felt the baby
kick and turn into the space
for fatherless children
then the final shot to the head
our dreams bleed red
on new carpet

“Is he alive”

Yes
because you carried
his legacy inside of you

“he is good and dead now”

good
but never dead

“You can jail a revolutionary, but you can’t jail the revolution”

December 29th, 1969
A new sun rises
Fred Hampton, Jr.

“knock, knock!”
“who’s there?”
“Revolution”

*Akua Njeri (fna Deborah Johnson) is a former member of the Illinois Chapter Black Panther Party. She is a survivor of the Dec. 4, 1969, assassination of Chairman Fred Hampton and Defense Captain Mark Clark. She is the widow of Chairman Fred and the mother of Chairman Fred Jr.

Njeri is the chairperson of the December 4th Committee, which fights to defend and maintain the legacy of the Black Panther Party and what really happened on that fateful morning. December 4th co-coordinates with POCC (Prisoners of Conscience Committee) the annual Aug. 30 birthday celebration and commemoration of Chairman Fred Hampton and the life, work and commemorative events around the annual December 4th International Revolutionary Day (IRD), the anniversary of the “Massacre on Monroe” – the assassination of Chairman Fred and Defense Captain Mark Clark.

Njeri is the co-author of the proposal to name one Chicago block – 2300 W. Monroe –”Chairman Fred Hampton Way,” a campaign that exposed the dividing line between the interests of the state against the demands of the people.

Njeri coordinates free clothing and fresh vegetable giveaways with POCC and other survival programs. She continues to fight against police terrorism and for the freedom of political prisoners in the U.S. She also is on the Advisory Committee for POCC. For information and speaking engagements, contact December 4th Committee, P.O. Box 368255, Chicago, IL 60636, (773) 256-9451 or akuanjeri@aol.com.

Listen to Titilope Sonuga (pronounced Tee-tee-law-kpeh Show-nu-ga) read this poem. Visit her website at www.titilope.ca.

3 thoughts on “For Akua Njeri (Deborah Johnson)*

  1. atiba

    I found this poem to be very inspiring, it is a good thing to know that Akua Njeri continues to keep the legacy of Fred & Captain Clark alive as well as the memory of the Black Panther Party. Ashe!

    Reply
  2. Carla Greenwood

    The poem was moving. It sent a chill down my spine just reading it. You dam-right the sun has rised! Fred Hampton Jr. is the son of the Messiah, Duty Chairman Fred Hampton Sr. Here in Chicago, it’s not forgotten and never will be forgotten of how our beloved leader was taken away from us. Yes, the dream lives-on. Songs will be sunged and someday the fight will be won!!
    Love-you sister .. keep-up the good work!
    CHICAGO .. Comrade Greenwood

    Reply
  3. Ashe

    In honor of African Women’s History Month, the Sekou Odinga Defense Committee is honoring Sista Akua Njeri, mother of Fred Hampton, Jr. on Sunday, March 28, 3:00 pm at the Sistas Place, 456 Nostrand Avenue (corner of Jefferson Avenue) in Brooklyn.

    We honor Sista Akua Njeri for her continuous work in our struggle, past and present.

    Please let folks know about the program as we continue our work for the Sekou Odinga Legal Defense Committee.

    Please contact Lateefa Carter at (718) 744-7720 if you have any questions.

    Thank you and hope to see you all on March 28 at 3:00 p.m.

    Reply

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