One of the most enduring and dominant figures during the Black Freedom movements of the 1960s and 70s was H Rap Brown of SNCC (Student Non Violent Coordinating Committee) where he served as chairman and later as the Minister of Justice for the Black Panther Party.
His fiery oratorical skills often sparked fear in authorities and those in power who he spoke out against. His rhetoric led to him being arrested and accused of inciting a riot in Cambridge Maryland in 1967 even though police had shot at him, grazing and unarmed Brown in the head hours before any ‘riot’ jumped off. If anything what took place was a response to what happened to Brown..
Nevertheless, Brown’s harsh words netted him rebukes from the The president and Vice President of the US and made him a major target for then FBI director J Edgar Hoover‘s Cointel-Pro operation Later a law was passed in Congress known as the H Rap Brown law which made it a federal offense to cross state lines with the intent to start a riot.. It was a way to silence activist like Brown and others who were deemed militant.
For many in the Hip Hop generation, H Rap Brown became known via his book Die Nigger Die which his is autobiography penned in 1969 where he not only lays out his political vision, but also recounts the various word and rhyme games he played as a youngster growing up in Baton Rouge in the late 1950s. Known as the Dozens Brown’s sharp rhyme tongue led to him getting the nick name ‘Rap‘. Some of the rhymes found in that book would later go on to be immortalized in songs like Rappers Delight, in particular the one that read ‘I’m Hemp the Demp the Women’s Pimp..Over the years he’s been named checked and sampled by everyone from Public Enemy on down to Bay Area rapper Paris.
Today H Rap Brown is known as Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin and he sits in solitary confinement in a super max prison in Florence, Colorado accused of killing tow police officers. It’s a crime that he’s maintained his innocence and in fact has been confessed to by a notorious gang member who lived in the area. He also has a more recent book titled ‘Revolution By the Book; The Rap is Live‘
Below is an in-depth story that not only chronicles Brown’s life but also lays out the railroading that went down with his case..Thats followed by a couple of clips. One is an insightful interview given by H. Rap on the Gil Noble show. Thats followed by a speech he gave on education..
H Rap Brown on Gil Noble’s Like it Is
The Politics of Education
Jasiri X ‘Real Rap’..