For Akua Njeri (Deborah Johnson)*


    by Titilope Sonuga

    2337 West Monroe
    December 4th, 1969
    on the cusp of a new year
    19 years old
    lay sleeping
    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


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


    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”

    because you carried
    his legacy inside of you

    “he is good and dead now”

    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?”

    *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

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

    “For Akua Njeri” read by the poet, Titilope Sonuga


    1. 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!

    2. 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

    3. 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.

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