H. Rap Brown

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Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin (جميل عبد الله الامين; born October 4, 1943, as Hubert Gerold Brown), also known as H. Rap Brown, came to prominence in the 1960s as chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and later the Justice Minister of the Black Panther Party. He is perhaps most famous for his proclamation during that period that "violence is as American as cherry pie", as well as once stating that "If America don't come around, we're gonna burn it down". He is also known for his autobiography Die Nigger Die!. He is currently serving a life sentence for homicide.



Brown was born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He became known as H. Rap Brown during the early 1960s. His activism in the civil rights movement included involvement with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), of which he was named chairman in 1967. That same year, he was arrested in Cambridge, Maryland, and charged with inciting to riot as a result of a speech he gave there. He left the SNCC and joined the Black Panthers in 1968.

He appeared on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted List after avoiding trial on charges of inciting riot and of carrying a gun across state lines. His attorneys in the gun violation case were civil rights advocate Murphy Bell of Baton Rouge, and the self described "radical lawyer" William Kunstler. Brown was scheduled to be tried in Cambridge, but the trial was moved to Bel Air, Maryland on a change of Venue.

On March 9, 1970 two black radicals, Ralph Featherstone and William ("Che") Payne died on U.S. Route 1 south of Bel Air, Maryland when a bomb being carried between Payne's legs on the front floorboard of their car exploded completely destroying the car and dismembering both occupants. Allegedly the bomb was intended to be used at the courthouse where Brown was to be tried. The next night the Cambridge, Maryland courthouse was bombed.[1]

Brown disappeared for 18 months, and then he was arrested after a reported shootout with officers. The shootout occurred after what was said to be an attempted robbery of a bar in 1971 in New York.

He spent five years (1971-1976) in Attica Prison after a robbery conviction. While in prison, Brown converted to Islam and changed his name to Jamil Abdullah al-Amin. After his release, he opened a grocery store in Atlanta, Georgia and became a Muslim spiritual leader and community activist preaching against drugs and gambling in Atlanta's West End neighborhood.

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