Date: Wed, 21 Jan 1998 17:11:59 -0500
Sender: The African Global Experience <AGE-L@UGA.CC.UGA.EDU>
From: Marpessa Kupendua <nattyreb@IX.NETCOM.COM>
Subject: !*MWM/MOVE Blast Philly Menace Lynne Abraham

Flexing their muscles: March organizers blast Lynne, plan black-power rally

By Myung Oak Kim, Staff Writer, Philly Daily News, 21 January 1998

Leaders of the Million Woman March yesterday joined the campaign against District Attorney Lynne Abraham with a demonstration outside her office and calls for resurrecting a black power conference.

March co-founders Asia Coney and Phile Chionesu blasted Abraham's last-minute opposition to the nomination of Common Pleas Court Judge Frederica Massiah-Jackson to the federal bench.

About 30 people gathered outside Abraham's office, on Arch Street near Broad, handing out copies of the letter Abraham wrote two weeks ago to Sen. Arlen Specter in opposition to the judge's nomination.

Coney called Abraham's action “totally reprehensible.”

“We found it profound that she would actually challenge the appointment…but even more importantly for the DA to oppose the appointment when she's been so silent about many other critical issues to the African-American community, like the 39th Police District, like the Annette Williams case.”

“We are not going to stand by and allow her to choose who is going to lead the community,” Coney said. MOVE activist Ramona Africa called Abraham a menace. Africa said she and her supporters would heckle Abraham until the DA flees Philadelphia. Abraham declined comment.

The march organizers threw their support behind the local NAACP and other black leaders who protested the DA's action by walking out of Abraham's swearing-in ceremony a week ago.

Abraham did not attend a luncheon Monday in honor of Martin Luther King Day because of the threat of another walk-out by NAACP president J. Whyatt Mondesire.

In her letter to Specter, Abraham denounced Massiah-Jackson for having “a deeply-ingrained and pervasive bias” against law enforcement that she showed through courtroom conduct and rulings that were easy on criminals.

Massiah-Jackson has refused to comment about the flap.

Chionesu said she wants to use this campaign to renew the black power movement that would put others in public office.

“Obviously a mistake was made” when Abraham was re-elected two months ago, Chionesu said. “Now we're going to to right that wrong.”

She announced a meeting for 7 p.m. Saturday at 4601 Market St., 4th floor, to pursue further actions against Abraham and begin plans to mark the 30th anniversary of the Black Power Conference, followed by a black power convention in 1999.

The third National Conference on Black Power took place in the summer of 1968 at the Church of the Advocate in North Philadelphia. More than 3,500 delegates attended from across the country—including well-known black militants. They voted to support the establishment of a separate black nation, army and political party.

That conference, hosted by local black clergy and community leaders, including Cecil B. Moore, created a stir.

A week before the conference, City Council passed a law making it a crime to carry a knife, sword or any large cutting instrument in public — reportedly to avoid a recurrence of the melee that took place at the Black Power Conference in Newark, N.J., the year before, when militants swarmed the place, wielding machetes and causing reporters to jump out of windows.

White reporters were banned from the conference, while black reporters were given free rein.

In the midst of the convention, then-police commissioner Frank Rizzo suspended three white detectives for allegedly shouting racial slurs at delegates.