Incarceration Nation

JERICHO Freedom Movements

By Mumia Abu-Jamal 

For several centuries, Black captives in America’s slave prisons used Bible stories to support their long struggle for freedom.

In the long, dark night of bondage, people turned Bible tales into freedom songs, which were later called Negro Spirituals, such as this example:

Joshua fit the battle of Jericho, Jericho, Jericho:

Joshua fit the battle of Jericho—

And the walls come tumblin’ down.

For African captives, largely illiterate, this song was a powerful prayer for Black liberation that echoed down the corridors of history.

In the mid-20th century, as young Black folks joined the Black Liberation Movement, the name, Jericho, retained the aura of freedom.

For 20 years now, the organization called Jericho, once led by the remarkable revolutionary Safiya Bukhari, has been fighting for the freedom of Black revolutionaries, veterans of the Black Panther Party, the Black Liberation Army and other revolutionary formations.

Bukhari, herself a veteran leader in the Black Panther Party, a combatant in the Black Liberation Army and a Vice President in the Republic of New Afrika, fought long and hard for freedom for political prisoners and prisoners of war.

It was said that she did the work of ten people, but for those who knew Safiya, surely, this was an understatement. 

Safiya Bukhari remembered and loved for her courage, hard work and dedication to Black freedom, is no more; but Jericho, that which she gave her life energy to, is still with us.

And Jericho, the movement, is doing today what Black captives echo throughout time in sweet, tragic song, longing for freedom still:

Joshua fit the battle of Jericho—

And the walls came tumblin’ down!

 —Prison Radio, March 15, 2018

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Mumia Abu-Jamal AM-8335


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