Sekou Odinga, Soldier for Black Freedom Transitions

June 17, 1944—January 12, 2024

By Mumia Abu-Jamal

His name was Sekou Odinga, a lifelong soldier for Black liberation. When there arose a Black freedom movement he never hesitated to join in and add his life’s energy to the struggle. In the 2020 book, Black Power Afterlives, Sekou and his partner, dequi kioni-sadiki, wrote a moving self-history that gives us insights into these lives and freedom struggles. Sekou Odinga wrote,

“I was a member of the Black Panther Party for Self Defense, a Black Liberation Army soldier, and for 33 years, a U.S.-held political prisoner of war. Most of my adult life has been spent in the struggle for Black self-determination, Black revolutionary politics, and Black liberation. As such, my life speaks to the oft heard expression: Oppression breeds resistance and resistance breeds repression.

“My political consciousness began when I was a youthful offender, at Comstock Correctional Facility in upstate New York, with a good friend, and close comrade, Lumumba Shakur. Lumumba’s father, Hajj Salahdeen Shakur would send his son reading material on Malcolm X, his teachings, nationalist politics, the struggle for land and independence. And most pointedly, the human rights Black people must exercise to arm and defend themselves against violence, state, or personal. Lumumba would share these materials with me. And after serving a three-year sentence, I was back on the street and seeking the Malcolm that had inspired me in prison.” —The words of Sekou Odinga from the book, Black Power Afterlives published by Haymarket.

Odinga would join the Organization of Afro-American Unity, or the OAAU, led by Malcolm, but shortly thereafter, Malcolm would be assassinated. Odinga would leave the OAAU. In 1968 a delegation from Oakland, California, called the Black Panther Party would be sent to New York to seek recruits. Odinga and Lumumba Shakur joined immediately. The rest was history.

In November 2014, Odinga made parole and he and dequi fought for Black freedom for a decade. Sekou Odinga, 79, returns to the ancestors.

PrisonRadio, January 22, 2024