Who Killed McDuffie?
a definitive question

his brain was bashed
cranium crashed
skull fractured/broken
all the way around
but they said those who beat him
didn't kill him
so who killed mcduffie?
maybe it was the same ones who didn't kill
clifford glover/randy heath/jay parker
claude reese/randy evans/luis baez
arturo reyes/bonita carter/eula love
elizabeth magnum/arthur miller
and countless others
when their fingers slipped or
they musta tripped
maybe it was the same ones
who didn't kill
jose torres/zayd shakur/fred and carl hampton
jonathon and george jackson/joe dell
twyman myers/spurgeon winters
and a few hundred others
perhaps it was those who didn't kill
and quite a few thousand more
do you suppose it may have been those
who didn't kill
the indians and mexicans
who didn't steal african peoples
halfway across the planet
who didn't loot our customs/cultures
religions/languages/labor and land
who didn't steal a continent
and claim that they discovered it
who didn't bomb the japanese/
vietnamese and boriqua too
do you think it might have been those
who didn't kill at
detroit/newark/el barrios
at jackson state, at southern u
at the algiers motel
who didn't shoot mark essex for
16 hours after he was dead
ask them and they'll tell you
what they didn't do
but they can't tell you
who killed mcduffie

maybe it was one of those
seizures unexplainable
where he beat himself to death
it wouldn't be unusual
our history is full of cases where we
attack nightsticks with our heads
choke billyclubs with our throats
till we die/
jump in front of bullets with our backs/
throw our selves into rivers
with our hands and feet bound/
hang ourselves on trees/in prison cells
by magic
so it shouldn't be a mystery
that nobody killed mcduffie
he just died the way
so many of us do
of a disease nobody makes a claim to
the police say they didn't do it
the mayors say they didn't do it
the judges say they didn't do it
the government says it didn't do it
nixon says he didn't do it
the fbi/cia/military establishment
say they didn't do it
xerox/exxon/itt say they didn't do it
the klan and nazis say they didn't do it
(say they were busy in greensboro and wrightsville)
i know i didn't do it
that don't leave nobody but you
and if you say you didn't do it
we're right back where we started
looking for nobody who killed mcduffie

you remember nobody don't you
like with de facto segregation
where they said the schools were segregated
but nobody did it on purpose
like when they said there's been
job discrimination for years
but nobody did it intentionally
that's the nobody we're looking for
the one with the motive
to kill mcduffie
and you see, we MUST find
this nobody who slew mcduffie
because the next person
nobody will beat/stomp/hang or shoot to death
won't be mcduffie
it'll be you or someone close to you
so for your own safety
you should know the pedigree of
who killed mcduffie
you should know the reason of
who killed mcduffie
you should remember all those forgotten
who died of the disease
makes a claim to
so we won't be here asking
who killed you.

--©(80/lvn)--[Hakim Al-Jamil(OldSoul)]

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In 1979, Arthur McDuffie, a Black man, was riding his motorcycle in Miami when police chased him,
knocked him off his bike, and beat him to death, crushing his head with billyclubs and flashlights.
During the trial that followed, all the police were found not guilty.
The Black community launched a massive rebellion that rocked Miami
and sent shock waves throughout the country.
Hakim Al-Jamil, then a prisoner at Leavenworth Federal Prison, wrote this poem about the incident.
McDuffie: The Case Behind Miami's Riots (1980 Article)

Published with my permission in:
Notes From a New Afrikan P.O.W. Journal, Book 6
Walkin' Steel, Fall 1991, a newsletter devoted to the abolition of control unit prisons
published by the Committee to End the Marion Lockdown, (CEML)
and in:
'Hauling Up The Morning Izando La Manana'

writings and art by political prisoners and prisoners of war
introduction by Assata Shakur, prefaratory note by William Kunstler
edited by Tim Blunk, Raymond Luc Levasseur and the editors of Javobin Books

International Award Winner October 2004

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