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Black Panther in Africa.
January 28, 2012 4:46 PM   Subscribe

Former Black Panther patches together purpose in Africa exile. 'Most of O'Neal's big dreams have faded over the years, or come to feel silly. Like beating the 42-year-old federal gun charges that caused him to flee the United States. Like the global socialist revolution that he was supposed to help lead. Like returning home to the streets of his Midwestern childhood. Like winning citizenship in his adopted African country, and the prize that's eluded him on two continents: the feeling of belonging somewhere.'

'A few years back, an ambition seized him. The village had scores of destitute children, orphans from dirt-floor shacks and subsistence farms. He collected donations and built a concrete-block bunkhouse down near his tomato and pepper garden.

He spread word that he had room for a few kids. More than 100 appeared at his door, many shoeless. He had to send the majority away. The most desperate, a couple dozen, he informally adopted.

Now, they roam his grounds in lively packs, playing four square on the basketball court. They sleep in rows under malaria nets. Volunteers and a few staff members watch over the children and give them English and computer classes.'
posted by VikingSword (11 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite

 
Good article, well balanced, objective.. thanks!

I know a number of 60's/70's radicals/liberals/protesters/hippies/rabble rousers/agitators who have stepped away from the public side of the "movements" they were involved in, but are pressing forward in small ways.

Sometimes it seems that, in the day of twitter induced revolution and media induced change, that it takes massive numbers of people to make a difference. But, in reality, the enormity of what is done by quiet individuals is probably more significant than we imagine.

Good for O'Neal, I hope he fully understands the good he's done.
posted by HuronBob at 5:10 PM on January 28, 2012 [5 favorites]


Crazy that he's been there for forty years, only eight years less than Tanzania has actually existed, but they won't grant him citizenship.
posted by XMLicious at 5:35 PM on January 28, 2012


Crazy that he's been there for forty years, only eight years less than Tanzania has actually existed, but they won't grant him citizenship.

I have to imagine they're afraid of drawing the ire of the US government. Can't say I blame them.
posted by drjimmy11 at 6:52 PM on January 28, 2012


But, in reality, the enormity of what is done by quiet individuals is probably more significant than we imagine.

I cannot decide between choosing Margaret Mead's observation or a snippet from EM Forster
posted by infini at 11:04 PM on January 28, 2012


Shortly afterward, a federal judge sentenced him to a four-year prison term on a conviction of transporting a shotgun across state lines.

Why isn't the NRA lobbying to have this guy brought back as a hero?
posted by telstar at 11:47 PM on January 28, 2012


Why isn't the NRA lobbying to have this guy brought back as a hero?

You have to ask?
posted by mhoye at 12:05 AM on January 29, 2012 [3 favorites]


Great article.

Here's the site for the UAACC (United African Alliance Community Centre) that he runs.
posted by A Thousand Baited Hooks at 1:46 AM on January 29, 2012


Great story. Life is complicated.
posted by bongo_x at 11:47 AM on January 29, 2012


Here's a related story, of another convicted 60s revolutionary, whom the FBI caught up with, eventually.
posted by chavenet at 1:26 PM on January 29, 2012


PBS did a film on him a few years back, A Panther in Africa. It's on Netflix Instant view.
posted by loriginedumonde at 2:02 PM on January 30, 2012


Interesting article.
posted by Harald74 at 3:43 AM on February 1, 2012


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