For Bob Wells ¡Presente!

By Mumia Abu-Jamal

For Bob Wells, a life lived long was a life lived well, for he wore many hats, organizer, anti-racist activist, supporter and worker with the John Brown Anti-Klan Committee in Chicago, teacher, investigative reporter, magazine editor, seaman, hotel and restaurant cook, and banquet chef. He was a key activist in anti-prison and abolitionist work with the Labor Action Committee1 in San Francisco. And finally, a self-defense instructor.

But if you really wanted to know Bob Wells, all you had to do was read him. Inspired by the classic work of Mark Twain, Bob Wells wrote of Huckleberry Finn and fugitive slave, Jim, who both met up with John Brown and his fellow abolitionist fighters before the coming of the U.S. Civil War. If you haven’t already done so, I urge you all to read the book entitled, Passing Through to the Territory, by Robert Wells. His book is a wonderful piece of work, a novel of historical fiction, of what might have been. On every page is Bob’s fine and rich, anti-racist imagination.

Three years ago, unfortunately, Bob had a stroke. And today, he is no longer with us. He is with his ancestors. But we remember him through his work, his wisdom, and his fight for labor and the oppressed.

Prison Radio, January 12, 2024

1 Labor Action Committee to Free Mumia Abu-Jamal