‘Lynching Then, Lynching Now’ Tour

By Carole Seligman

Below is the very well-received message from Mumia Abu-Jamal to the “Lynching Then, Lynching Now, The Roots of Racism and the Death Penalty in America,” national tour about the historic link between the death penalty and lynching in the United States.

The message was first played at the Bay Area tour stop, March 24, at Laney College in Oakland, California, where speakers with personal links to the death penalty spoke. Lawrence Hayes, a former death row prisoner himself, in New York, and founding member of the Campaign to End the Death Penalty, spoke powerfully about his own case.

Kevin Cooper, an innocent man on San Quentin’s death row called in to CEDP leader, Crystal Bybee’s, telephone with his message of encouragement to those in attendance. His answers to questions posed by audience members were relayed by phone and microphone to the audience. Jack Bryson, the father of two young men who were with Oscar Grant the night he was murdered in cold blood by the Bay Area Rapid Transit police, spoke about how his consciousness was jolted awake by that brutal murder, and how his life has become more meaningful through his connection with Kevin Cooper, and the prisoners and activists in the death penalty abolition movement.

Jabari Shaw, of the Laney College Black Student Union, spoke of his personal experience incarcerated in San Quentin and how prisoners are treated there, and how the prison industrial complex serves the rich and the capitalist system.

Barbara Becnel, Founder of the Stanley Tookie Williams [executed in 2005] Legacy Network, spoke of her recent trip to the Senegal port through which slaves from all over Africa were shipped out to the Americas. She compared the “door of no return” there with the door to the death chamber of San Quentin. She had witnessed the torture and slow death of Stanley Tookie Williams.

The purpose of the tour is to educate and recruit new activists to the movement to end the death penalty and The Campaign to End the Death Penalty organization. From all appearances, that will certainly be one result of the Bay Area tour.

For more information about the tour go to: