Imari Obadele, 79, a teacher, writer and the Father of the Modern Day Reparations Movement, died recently in Atlanta of a stroke.
Mr. Obadele (pronounced oh-ba-DEL-ee) was president of the Republic of New Afrika, a country that existed as an idea. His provocative proposal was to have Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi and South Carolina — the heart of the old Confederacy — removed from the union and given over to black Americans.
The demand drew the national news media’s attention. The New York Times called it “bizarre.”
The proposal emerged in 1968, the year the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated.
Obadele, who opposed integration into white society, demanded U.S. land as payback for the centuries of abuse blacks had suffered. He also asked for billions of dollars and became a leader of the reparations movement.
His organization saw itself as fighting a war of national liberation. It had a uniformed militia and engaged in gun battles with the police in Detroit and Jackson, Miss.; a police officer died in each.
In the Jackson face-off in 1971, murder charges against Obadele were eventually dropped, although eight members of his group were convicted. A year later, Obadele was convicted of conspiring to assault an FBI officer and served more than five years of a 12-year sentence.
Obadele is a Yoruba word meaning “the king arrives at home.” Indeed a King has arrived home! Ashe Brother Obadele.