End the isolation of Jamil Al-Amin (formerly H. Rap Brown)


Open Letter to the Bureau of Prisons and State of Georgia by Concerned Academics

H. Rap Brown

We are academics who have spent our careers researching the history of the civil rights movement, issues of racial discrimination in the United States, civil rights law, and the representation of minorities in the public sphere. We strongly believe that deepening knowledge of our nation’s past is essential to informing progress in American politics and race relations today.

The acquisition of historical knowledge is strengthened considerably by having living participants in those histories recount their experiences. We are therefore dismayed to learn of the current restrictions placed upon one such prominent participant, Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin (formerly known as H. Rap Brown).

During the 1960s, Al-Amin was a national leader of the civil rights movement and was chair of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee, one of the era’s key organizations. As a civil rights leader, he met with President Johnson, spoke across the country, and appeared regularly in television interviews. He is currently an inmate at the federal prison at Tuscon, Arizona. He has been held in federal custody, on behalf of the Georgia Department of Corrections, since 2007.

Throughout the last decade, all requests for interviews by scholars and journalists have been denied by the Federal Bureau of Prisons. Their decision is, in part, based on the Georgia Department of Corrections’ view that Al-Amin is ineligible for interviews “due to the potential security risks.” Letters to and from Al-Amin are usually held by the government for months before they are released. In these ways, Al-Amin is prevented from any form of practical communication with scholars who wish to document this history.

Imam Jamil Al-Amin

We understand that Al-Amin has been convicted of an extremely serious charge. However, we do not believe there is any reasonable basis upon which to deny him direct access to scholars and journalists. His story ought to be documented for posterity. In-person interviews with him in prison are essential for this purpose because he is 74 years old and is serving a life sentence without parole.

We thus declare our opposition to the restrictions placed upon Al-Amin and call on the Georgia Department of Corrections and Federal Bureau of Prisons to allow scholarly and media interviews and communication with Al-Amin. We will make the reasons for our consternation known to our own elected representatives and the public at large.

How you can help Imam Jamil

Yahya Abdussabur, a leading supporter of Iman Jamil Al-Amin, in distributing this letter by email, writes: The letter is part of the continuing effort to gain freedom for our beloved Imam Jamil Al-Amin. As Allaah has enjoined on us, “Enjoin what is right and forbid what is evil” and as the Holy Prophet has said, “Want for your brother what you want for yourself.” Please sign this letter and encourage your jamaat, friends and associates to do the same.”

By the end of January, nearly 500 had signed, and your signature is requested as well. Go to http://www.kundnani.org/jamilalamin/, where you can read the open letter and the list of people who have signed so far. A simple form is provided for adding your signature.


  1. He is an innocent man who is being mistreated by his country and criminals who hide in uniform lying about being protectors of the people. I've known him for more than a half century and he is a brother. I encourage everyone who was a member of the Pershing Rifles at Southern University to support H.G.

    • May Allah make his difficulties easy for him and reward him in it. May he reap the reward of Jenda if he dies of an internal illness. A promise from Allah.

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  3. Let's get the history accurate!

    He was Chair of the Student National Coordinating Committee (formerly known as the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee, which he was the Chair of also. After the brutal beatings of Black people by police in Brimingham, Alabama in 1963, a struggle erupted inside the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee that eventually led to the renaming of SNCC to the Student National Coordinating Committee in 1967-68. Brother Al-Amin followed Stokely Carmichael (later known as Kwame Ture) as the Chair of the then Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee)

    He is innocent and has been shamefully lynched and convicted by the criminal & terrorist state of the United States of America.

    from brother Leon A. Waters who 50 years ago (1968) fought with many others in New Orleans for the freedom of brother H.Rap Brown (now known as Jamil Al-Amin) who was fighting against trumped up federal charges at that time.

    Leon A. Waters
    Hidden History Tours http://www.HiddenHistory.us
    "What they don't teach you in the Great American Schools"

  4. I understood he was at a federal medical center in Butner, NC. Has that changed? This article does not reference that. Can anyone confirm?
    Thanks, from one who knew him briefly in Atlanta, and who cares about him.

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