For many young people today, the name H. Rap Brown does not register within the dialogue of the civil and human rights struggle for blacks in this country. During the 1960s, his fiery rhetoric shook the foundation of the white male supremacist power structure. Brown was the chairman of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee and was the Minister of Justice during an alliance with the Black Panther Party in the 1960s.
He was well known for his quote that “violence is as American as cherry pie.” His activities during the black freedom struggle of the 1960s landed him on the FBI’s ten most wanted list over inciting a riot and gun possession. It was while imprisoned during the early 1970s that he changed his name to Jamil Abdullah al-Amin. After his release from prison, he became a well known activist and spiritual leader in Atlanta’s West End neighborhood.
On March 16, 2000, al-Amin was involved in a shooting where two police officers were shot while serving an arrest warrant. One of the officers died but the other officer identified al-Amin as the shooter. After a controversial trial and conviction, al-Amin was sentenced to life in prison.
The former activist has been recently diagnosed with multiple myeloma and is being held at ADX Florence supermax prison in Florence, Colorado. He was transferred to this facility at the request of the state of Georgia in 2007 because he was deemed too high profile a figure for the Georgia prison system. A Facebook campaign is now being waged to have the Federal Bureau of Prisons move al-Amin to a better facility.