There was so much going on over the past week that I didn't get around to mention this other significant passing. Trust me, it sure wasn't because I forgot. Someone of this magnitude would not have gone unnoticed by me.
Dad and I were talking about this in Kansas City and an interesting topic came up surrounding that whole "unknown cause of death" thing. Dad asked me if I thought the government had something to do with his death. Normally, I would be good for a conspiracy theory or two. However, in this case I had a good reason for thinking otherwise.
Of course I have no doubt that there was a time that the government was out to get political Black activists such as Pratt. Especially the Black Panthers. Afterall, Hoover did create a branch of counter-intelligence specifically designed for bringing them down because he was so threatened by them. But the feds quickly learned the hard way that making a martyr out of our leaders was one of the worst things they could do. Why do you think they let Farrakhan stick around so long? Had they done to him what they did to MLK and Malcolm then he would be just as deified. Instead he's pretty much irrelevant these days.
Anyway, as for Pratt, you can chalk me up as one of the folks who firmly believes that he was wrongly accused of the crime for which he served 27 years in prison. The evidence to support his innocence was so overwhelming that it somewhat surprised me that it took that long before the conviction was finally overturned. I only say somewhat because this is our government we're talking about. Does anything they do really surprise us anymore?
Something else that was interesting was where he was residing when he passed. Tanzania is in Africa for those of you that don't know. There were many folks back in Pratt's prime of Black power activism that talked about going back to Africa to live. Few of them ever followed through with it. Maybe because they realized that the amenities here were far too nice to give up. Pratt wasn't one of them so I will always commend him for that.
Dude looked pretty good for someone who was in his 60s and had to spend half of his life in prison. It's too bad that he couldn't have stayed around the states and schooled some folks around here about what the Black Panthers were REALLY about. The internet is all fine and good but there's nothing like hearing history from one of the people who helped forge it.
Rest in peace, Geromino.