April 2024

Ed Poindexter

Former Black Panther and class-­war prisoner Ed Poindexter died in the Nebraska State Penitentiary at age 79 on 7 December 2023. Ed was a leader of the Omaha National Committee to Combat Fascism (NCCF), an organization affiliated with the Black Panther Party. Imprisoned on bogus charges, Ed spent more than 53 years behind bars for a crime that he transparently did not commit.

While in prison, Ed earned both bachelor's and master's degrees, wrote movie scripts and was recognized as a caring mentor of his fellow prisoners. He remained an unbroken fighter against racial oppression until the end, despite years of racist malign neglect. In his final years, he suffered from severe visual impairment and was confined to a wheelchair.

Ed and his former co-­defendant, Wopashitwe Mondo Eyen we Langa (David Rice), who died in prison in 2016, were victims of the FBI's dead­ly COINTELPRO operation, under which 28 Black Panther Party members were killed and hundreds more imprisoned on frame-­up charges. The NCCF rejected the "turn the other cheek" pacifism of Martin Luther King Jr., advocating armed self-­defense in the face of racist cop terror.

The 2018 book by Michael Richardson, Framed: J. Edgar Hoover, COINTELPRO & the Omaha Two Story, exposes the racist conspiracy by the FBI and Omaha, Nebraska, police to frame up Ed and Mondo as part of their vendetta. Without a shred of evidence and based on the perjured testimony at their trial, Ed and Mondo were railroaded to prison and sentenced to life for a 1970 explosion that killed an Omaha cop. Nebraska courts repeatedly denied Ed a new trial despite the fact that crucial evidence long suppressed by the FBI, including J. Edgar Hoover himself, proved that Ed and Mondo were innocent men.

Beginning in 1986, Ed was one of the first recipients of the Partisan Defense Committee's class-­war prisoner stipend program. Class-­war prisoners are representatives of the most courageous and advanced section of the oppressed. Their freedom is in the interest of the entire working class. Workers and all opponents of racial injustice must never forget Ed Poindexter.

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(reprinted from Workers Vanguard No. 1181, 16 April 2024)

Workers Vanguard is the newspaper of the Spartacist League with which the Partisan Defense Committee is affiliated.