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Buried in the Federal Bureau of Investigation file of deceased Black Panther leader Wopashitwe Mondo Even we Langa (formerly David Rice) are secrets still hidden. Mondo was deputy of information for the National Committee to Combat Fascism in Omaha, Nebraska, in 1970 when he was accused of murdering a policeman with a bomb. The NCCF was a Black Panther affiliate organization targeted by the FBI under an illegal and clandestine counterintelligence operation dubbed COINTELPRO.
He was born David Rice and, in his youth, he joined an offshoot of the Black Panther Party, a decision that would change his life’s trajectory. For, when he and another young man, Edward Poindexter, joined the National Committee to Combat Fascism (NCCF), they walked into the crosshairs of the state. Political prisoner Wopashitwe Mondo Eyen we Langa died March 11 at the maximum-security Nebraska State Penitentiary.
When people hear the story of Ed and Mondo, some say the prison time is a waste of their lives. They have wasted nothing. Despite their circumstances, and they are bleak to be sure, they each live productive lives, “lives that matter.” During the last 45 years, both men have continued to teach and influence, to set a positive example and guide their peers. They serve as a reminder to us all to make each day count for something more than ourselves.
New information revealed at Omaha’s annual Black August Weekend, held at the Malcolm X Memorial Foundation, may engender a glint of hope for Nebraska political prisoners, Mondo we Langa and Ed Poindexter. The two await the answer to an age-old question: How long is life? We Langa and Poindexter, also known as the “Omaha Two,” have been imprisoned 43 years.
The Malcolm X Memorial Foundation is hosting a two day human rights festival the first weekend in August in conjunction with Black August recognition of the FBI’s illegal and secret war against the Black Panther Party and other groups. The free, public event will be Aug. 2 and 3 at the Malcolm X Memorial Foundation Center in Omaha, where the Black Muslim leader was born.
Sept. 9 marks 40 years since the uprising at Attica State Prison in upstate New York and the deadly and sadistic retaking of the prison – and mass torture of hundreds of prisoners all the rest of the day and night and beyond – by state police and prison guards on the morning of Sept. 13, 1971. Attica and its aftermath exposed the powder kegs ready to explode inside the U.S. prisons.
The Omaha Two are Edward Poindexter and Mondo we Langa (formerly David Rice). Both men are imprisoned at the Nebraska State Penitentiary, where they are serving life sentences for the Aug. 17, 1970, bombing murder of an Omaha police officer, in which they deny any involvement.