from Sis Marpessa:
Mumia's locks are an issue now because the prison is trying to justify keeping him in the hole w/o him having any infractions, so they have come up with a rule for him to violate cuz they know he will never cut his locks ... a tried and true method of sick harassment suffered by many Bros./Sis. w/locks in these prisons, and this is not the first time they've done this to Mumia during his captivity. But even before his years of torment in the belly of the prison system, his locks were an issue among those of his own people!
The following was written by Mumia in 1981 to Philly WDAS General Manager Cody Anderson, after he was fired from that radio station allegedly because he no longer fit the "image" of the station.
AN OPEN LETTER TO WDAS GENERAL MANAGER, CODY ANDERSON
- Submitted by Mumia Abu-Jamal
Several years ago, in late 1978, while working to prepare a newscast on my weekend shift at WDAS news, I turned around to see two men: then-General Manager Bob Klein and you, then-assistant G.M., Cody Anderson, standing in the doorway of the newsroom. I recall clearly that both of you had warm words of praise for me, like ``I just want to say I really like the way you do news!'', and one added, ``You really sound good!''... the words were warm, and welcoming. I smiled, thanked the both of you, and prepared the next hour's newscast.
Several days ago, you, Cody, now General Manager, remarked during a phone conversation with me, ``I respect you, and your work, Mumia, but I believe you have a problem working within the established framework...'' Sound familiar, Cody? Soon thereafter you were quoted by a 'DAS news-staffer as saying, ``He's good, but he doesn't fit the image of the station . . . it's not the image we here at 'DAS want to project.'' Is that a true, honest quotation? IMAGE? ARE WE TALKING ABOUT A RADIO STATION, OR A T.V. STATION? AND WHO'S IMAGE CAN I PROJECT, BUT MY VERY OWN?
In the past 3 years, my hair has grown long, in a form some people call `dreadlocks'. Also in that time, I have worked in `white' radio, producing pieces good enough to garner a 1980 Major Armstrong Award (1st place NEWS) along with other staffers at WUHY's 91 Report. 91 Report whipped KYW for the prize, a coveted one in the broadcast industry. In that time, members of the local Association of Black Journalists elected me President of the group. Although I worked at a so-called `white' radio station, I produced shows dealing with the depth of the African experience in America, repeated prison interviews with members of the MOVE Organization (a group largely ignored by the so-called Black media in Philadelphia since their August 8th, 1978 imprisonment), concise, sensitive coverage of their murder trial, many pieces on the housing problems of both Philadelphia and Camden, New Jersey, City Council, the Republic of New Afrika, the Yoruba community in the city, the visit of Rastafarian Bob Marley, Nigerian ex-President Nnamdi Azikiwe, and countless others . . . Hugh Masakela, the Pointers, etc. WHAT IS THIS IMAGE NONSENSE?
Because a man's hair grows long, does that hamper his ability to write, report, broadcast, THINK? Why are so-called `dreadlocks' so objectionable, at a so-called `BLACK' Radio station, when it was a non-issue at a white one? Was it objectionable when, for almost 10 years, Georgie Woods wore a conk, a process? Was it objectionable when jocks at 'DAS began to sport the new fad, California Curls, another process? What about a jock who gets a hair transplant, goes under a surgical knife, to `regrow' hair? Any objection to the projection of those images? I didn't think so. When a Black man stops combing his OWN hair, which grows out of his OWN head, in the form of his fathers, and PROJECTS HIS OWN IMAGE, one as African as the African seed that produced him ANOTHER `BLACK' MAN OBJECTS! (YOU KNOW, THAT'S SOME CRAZY SHIT WHEN YOU THINK ABOUT IT, AIN'T IT?)
Long have Blacks in Philadelphia waited for a black-owned, and black-operated radio station ... is THAT IT? IS THIS THE FUTURE THAT BLACKS LONG-AWAITED, DREAMED OF AND PRAYED FOR? BLACKS ARE IN POSITIONS OF SO-CALLED `POWER', BUT IN WHAT CONDITIONS ARE THEIR MINDS, CODY? ARE THEY STILL `WHITER THAN SNOW'? IS THIS THE NEW DAY THAT BLACKS IN THE BROADCASTING BUSINESS LONGED FOR? WHAT A SAD, PITIABLE DAY. WHAT PETTINESS!! WHAT NIGGERISM!!!!
I have been offered several jobs in TV, both here in Philadelphia and across the nation, both paying nearly $35-thousand a year. Was that enough money for me to shave my head, and slip into a 3-piece suit? Not even! And my family continues it's struggle to survive to make ends meet, like most of our people. THERE IS WORK TO BE DONE, CODY, AND AS THIS IS MY HOME, THERE IS WORK TO BE DONE RIGHT HERE AT HOME. IT IS JUST SUCH NONSENSE AS IMAGE THAT KEEPS US SEPARATED AND WEAK ... WHILE WE FIGHT EACH OTHER, WHILE SILLY-ASS POLITICIANS FIGHT EACH OTHER, WHILE MUSLIMS FIGHT BAPTISTS, BUDDHISTS OPPOSE MUSLIMS, DEMOCRATS FIGHT REPUBLICANS, NIGGERS FIGHT NIGGERS, BABIES ARE BEING MURDERED AND BURIED IN SHALLOW GRAVES BY THE SCORE! IS MY IMAGE, MY ESSENCE, CODY? IS THAT SHIT REALLY IMPORTANT AS WE, AFRICANS EVERYWHERE STRUGGLE FOR SURVIVAL? Is it important to the people who listen to WDAS, at 29th & Dauphin, Germantown & Chelten, or 11th & Kater Sts., whether I comb my hair, or not, or whether I wear a neck-chocker, or not? Aren't they concerned about the world around them NEWS NEWINFORMATION ABOUT OUR LIVES? And who can do it better, Cody? When I worked at 'DAS, I also worked at WUHY which means I worked 7 days a week, 2 days on the weekend for WDAS, and 5 days a week for WUHY. For a measly $100 dollars a week I hustled, worked, time over over-time, newscasts, and anything else ... FOR WHAT? So News Director, Charles Harmon could come up to me, and tell me he needed ``someone more flexible''? HAVE you found it yet? Out of the countless many who have come, and gone thru that newsroom, has someone more FLEXIBLE been found? Has someone more committed, more able, been FOUND? IT WAS WRONG THEN, FORHARMON TO FIRE ME, A BULLSHIT, EMPTY REASON HE KNEW, YOU KNEW, AND I STILL KNOW, IT'S STILL WRONG! But, this time, the wrong will not be borne in silence.
I WILL NOT GRIN, AND BEAR IT, AND WAIT FOR A BETTER OFFER. I WILL NOT PRODUCE WORK MEANT FOR BLACK MINDS AND BLACK EARS, FOR A WHITE RADIO STATION. I WILL STRUGGLE, AND BATTLE, UNTIL THIS ONE WRONG, HAS BEEN RIGHTED. AS FOR MY IMAGE ... LIKE ALL LIFE FORMS, IT WILL CHANGE FOR NOTHING IN LIFE STAYS THE SAME. BUT, I WILL NOT GO UNDER THE BLADE FOR A PAYCHECK FROM YOU! I WILL BE JUDGED, ON MY WORK, MY RECORD AMONG MY PEOPLE, MY COMMITMENT TO THE RIGHTNESS OF THE STRUGGLE OF THE AFRICAN TO FIND DIGNITY WHEREVER HE WALKS, NOT ON THE SMALLNESS OF OTHERS, AND THEIR LACK OF SIGHT. IT IS IRONIC, IS IT NOT, THAT A BLACK MAN SHOULD BLOCK ANOTHER BLACK MAN, FROM PERFORMING WORKS IN THE INTEREST OF BLACK PEOPLE? IT IS A STATEMENT OF OUR TIMES, AND A STATEMENT OF A MENTALITY THAT MUST BE ERASED IF WE ARE EVER TO SURVIVE!
``...HE CAME UNTO HIS OWN, AND HIS OWN RECEIVED HIM NOT...''
Mumia Abu-JamalPresident/Association of Black Journalists
The frame-up of Mumia for the murder of Daniel Faulkner was NOT the first time that this system had attempted to frame him:
From the moment Mumia joined the Black Panther Party at the age of 14, he became one of the chief targets of Hoover's notorious "Counter-Intelligence Program" (COINTELPRO). Over 700 pages of FBI files were obtained after almost three years of fighting for them, which illustrate wide-ranging collusion between the FBI and the Philadelphia Police Department--particularly its Civil Disobedience Unit (CDU) and Intelligence Division "red squads"-- extending to at least four other security agencies, including the Naval Investigative Service Office, Military Intelligence, Office of Special Investigation and the Secret Service. The files prove that years before Mumia was framed in the death of a Philadelphia cop, the feds repeatedly tried to set him up on serious felony charges--including murder-- without any basis. This was S.O.P. (standard operating procedure) in the government's COINTELPRO war on black militants. The lies range from the absurd--the photo appended to the files is not of Mumia--to the outlandishly sinister.
When the governor of Bermuda was assassinated in 1973, the feds tried to link the killing to Jamal, who had never been anywhere near Bermuda. They also falsely sought to paint him as an "urban guerrilla" associated with the Black Liberation Army, marking him to be assassinated by the cops the way BLA leader Zayd Shakur was.
The files repeatedly noted that Mumia was an effective and articulate spokesman and writer for the Black Panther newspaper, who "made the BPP look good because his approach was very positive." Indeed, not one among the steady stream of reports to FBI headquarters on Jamal's Panther activities, which were compiled at the rate of virtually one a week, indicated that he was ever engaged in anything other than public speaking and writing.
Yet despite the FBI's acknowledgement that Jamal "has not displayed a propensity for violence" and was not once found with a gun throughout this period of intense surveillance, the files regularly labeled him "Armed and Dangerous"--a license for the cops and G-men to shoot first and ask questions later.
"They believe what you write, what you say. And it's got to stop. And one day, and I hope it's in my career, that you're going to have to be held responsible and accountable for what you do." -- Frank Rizzo, then Mayor of Philadelphia, a statement which is included as part of Mumia's COINTELPRO files.