What’s the connection between Howard Morgan and the Wilmington Ten?

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(From the Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression)  

Howard Morgan was a 13-year policeman for the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad in 2005. He was a Chicago Policeman for 8 ½ years before that. He is African-American.  He was shot 28 times by four white rookie Chicago police officers in February 2005.  The cops who shot him were never charged, but Morgan was charged with their attempted murder and is serving 40 years in prison.  The Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression is one of many organizations that is campaigning for overturning this police crime and his release. 

Almost 35 years earlier, in 1971, nine young men and a woman were convicted in 1971 of arson and conspiracy in Wilmington, North Carolina in a racist frame-up of civil rights leaders.  They served nearly a decade in prison. The case became an international cause célèbre.  The Rev. Ben Chavis, who was the primary defendant in this case, joined Angela Davis as Co-Chairs of the National Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression.  After a decade of struggle led by the NAARPR and many other organizations all ten were exonerated and released from prison.

Much has changed in the 40 years since the founding of the NAARPR in Chicago in 1973.  The racist and political repression of the old Jim Crow South has metamorphosed into a new form of racist segregation often called “the new Jim Crow.”  This new Jim Crow takes the form of the mass incarceration of African American and Latino men and women.  Two and a half million men and women, overwhelmingly Black and Latino, are incarcerated in U. S. prisons and jails.  When they are released they are branded as “felons” and are unable to work or live anywhere outside the poorest ghetto neighborhoods. 

As the theme of this year’s CAARPR 40th Anniversary Human Rights Awards, “From the Wilmington Ten to Howard Morgan  – ‘A Luta Continua’” states, while open racism has been pushed back, conditions for most African Americans, Latinos, Native Americans, and Asians have gotten worse. 

The event will be on Saturday, June 15 at 5:30 pm at the Lutheran School of Theology, 1100 E. 55th St.  It’s most fitting that the keynote speaker at the Awards Program will be Prof. Gerald Horne, Moores Chair of History and African American Studies at the University of Houston.  He is the author of more than twenty books.  His the latest, “Black Revolutionary: William Patterson and the Globalization of the African American Struggles,” will be published this September, 2013, by the University of Illinois Press.

Patterson was the head of the International Labor Defense during the Great Depression, which organized mass demonstrations and offered legal representation to communists, trade unionists, and African-Americans in cases involving issues of political or racist repression. “We in the Chicago Alliance see ourselves as continuing the trail blazed by William L. Patterson so many years ago,” said Clarice Durham, Co-Chair person of the CAARPR.

The 2013 Honorees reflect the current struggles of the people.  Jeff Baker is President of the Committee for a Better Chicago and leader in the struggle to Stop Police Crimes and to enact an elected Civilian Police Accountability Council in Chicago.  The police are the cutting edge of the mass incarceration, and this is the most \significant step that could be taken to hold the police accountable and doing something about the genocidal violence that is making some of our communities look like war zones.

Lisa Brock, PhD, is the Academic Director of the Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership at Kalamazoo College in Kalamazoo, Michigan; and longtime activist for human rights.  She has championed the case of Assata Shakur, living in political exile in Cuba.  Shakur was recently branded “most wanted terrorist” by the FBI, in what is seen by many as an attempt to smear the entire African American freedom movement.

Karen Lewis is President of the Chicago Teachers Union and a strong advocate for fair and effective public schools, a key link in shutting down the “school to prison pipeline” that condemns so many of our youth to prison and a life on the fringes of society.

The People’s Law Office Staff are committed fighters for rights and justice for all—especially freedom for those who have been wrongfully convicted as a result of the police crime of extracting “confessions” from suspects through torture.

Information about the event:

What: Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression Annual Human Rights Awards.

When: Saturday, June 15, 2013 5:30 pm (dinner) / 7:00 (awards).

Where: Lutheran School of Theology, 1100 E. 55th St., Chicago IL

For tickets and information email contact@naarpr.org or call 312-939-2750

Tickets for the dinner, which will be at 5:30, are $65.  Tickets for the Awards Program alone are $10. For information contact Mike Siviwe Elliott or Greg Malandrucco at 312-939-2750 or email contact@naarpr.org.

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