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Lifelong freedom fighter and field secretary and founding member of the Southern California Chapter of the Black Panther Party Ronald Elder Freeman made his transition on Oct. 8, 2014, after a long and valiant battle with cancer. Ironically, Elder Freeman’s brother, Roland Freeman – the two were born only a year apart and were, they say, as close as twins – died exactly a week after Elder as he was preparing to bring Elder’s ashes back to California.
The name Amiri Baraka has been known to me since my teens, when I was a member of the Black Panther Party. Baraka posed an intriguing figure, for he radiated both love and rage, funneled through his poems, which pulsated with revolutionary fire. He was born in 1934 in Newark, N.J., as Everett LeRoy Jones and become a rising star of the Beat era in the East Village of New York.