Thursday, July 08, 2010

Summer Greetings from Eddie Conway

Greetings to everyone,

I wish you all well and hope that this letter
finds you in good spirits. The past few months
have been full of good and exciting news as well
as some that was saddening. I honestly don't know where to begin.

Jack Johnson, the other BPP member who was held
on the same charges as me was released from
prison in May of this year. This was news that I
found both good and bad. I was pleased to see the
brother gain his freedom after forty years of
fighting this corrupt and racist criminal justice
system. However, I am still being held illegally
after four decades and nothing can make right the
destructive actions of the COINTELPRO operations.
This does however push me to work even harder for my release.

The saddest and hardest time of this whole prison
ordeal just recently hit me. My mother, Eleanor
Conway passed away in early June. Though she died
peacefully in her sleep, her transition has left
the family sad and in pain. This was due in part
to my inability to start the grieving process by
viewing mother as she made her final rest, or
attending her funeral. While I recognize that my
mother has made her transition to join the
ancestors, the loss is still too profound for
words because my mother was so dear to me. During
this time, I fasted and reflected upon her life,
and eventually found some degree of spiritual
comfort. I thank all of you who faxed letters,
sent email messages and made calls to the
secretary of public safety on my behalf.

In the midst of this period of grief, another
issue came up that caused confusion and concern
among family, friends and supporters. This is the
issue of my relationship to Sister Nzinga. For
clarity, we have been divorced for over seven
years. I am married only to gaining my freedom
and living with a little sunshine in my life.

The fundraising effort has received much support
we are now less than $10,000 short of our tar­
get. This money goes to pay the legal team that
is being headed up by Phil Dantes. For some, it
may seem discomforting to speak of freedom and
money together. I find it surreal, something
reminiscent of a time when the terms were clear
and people of African descent had to buy their
freedom or steal it, but this is the reality of
the present day criminal justice system. Freedom
ain't free. That said, thank you to all of you
who have purchased the book, The Greatest Threat
and helped to organize events. The next letter
will provide a legal update, and information
about what people can do to help with the legal effort.

My supporters are planning several events for the
summer and fall. The main happening is an August
20th program featuring the artist Emory Douglas
who has donated a print that we will be using to
raise funds. He will be on hand to sign prints
there is a flyer for this event enclosed in this
letter or attached to this email. September 23rd
, AFSC, AK Press and the Creative Alliance in
Baltimore will host a pre­release event for my
memoir Marshall Law: The Life and Times of a
Baltimore Black Panther. Local activists and
artists will be reading selections from the book.
We are also interested in planning programs in other cities.

On the prison front, the Friend of a Friend (FOF)
mentoring program here in this institution
continues to grow. The program successfully
graduated our first class of men who received
mentoring. Of this group, we have several who
will become mentors we have other activities
scheduled for the summer ranging from mediation
training to theater activities. FOF keeps many
men in the prison connected to the outside
community, and helps them to thrive despite
incarceration. Through this program, we have
created a community service/outreach project.
Collectively, mentors and mentees have adopted
the United African Alliance Community Center run
by Bro. Pete and Sister Charlotte O'Neal in
Tanzania. The members of FOF had the opportunity
to meet Sister Charlotte when she came to the
prison back in April. The men felt so moved by
the O'Neal's work that we pulled together a
fundraising effort for UAACC, and we plan to
continue our support of the work of our brother and sister.

At present, I am in good health, but I still have
high blood pressure, and often I am in a battle
with the medical department each month to get the
necessary medication. At the time, I am
contemplating legal action if the issue
continues. Finally, as the economic situation
continues to worsen for oppressed communities, we
must focus some of our efforts on building solid
networks. It is critical that we learn to set
aside differences that are petty and squash some
of our real disputes so that we can work together
across communities. Basic survival should be a
part of the dialogue anytime groups come together
because many of our people are scrounging for
bread and land. There is a need now for the same
social programs that the Black Panther Party
implemented 44 years ago. The need never went away.

In Struggle


M. Eddie Conway
Jessup Correctional Institution
P. 0. Boy 534
Jessup, MD 20794

The Greatest Threat: The Black Panther Party and
COINTELPRO by Marshall Edward Conway

The Greatest Threat puts the government’s war on
the Panthers into historical context. Marshall
“Eddie” Con- way, a veteran of the Black Panther
Party who has been held as a political prisoner
for four decades, has compiled the available
documentation and research on COINTELPRO, and
traced its dirty history, from the active
repression of the black revolutionary movement of
the 1960’s and 1970’s, to the conditions of Black
America today and the dozens of political
prisoners who remain in U.S. prisons on charges
stemming from their involvement in the Black liberation movement.

$20 donation Checks should be made out to:
Marshall E. Conway Defense Committee Fund and
mailed to IAMWE Publications, PO Box 4628 Baltimore 21212

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