Politics

Mumia Abu-Jamal nominated on NAACP’s ‘Unsung Hero’ page

Photo of Patrick Howley
Patrick Howley
Political Reporter

Convicted murderer Mumia Abu-Jamal has received three nominations on a web page for the “Unsung Hero” project from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).

The project, launched during Black History Month, allows users to highlight influential civil rights leaders in exchange for an email address and postal code.

The NAACP displays about 100 nominations, including the pro-Mumia nominations, on the website for its 2013 “Unsung Heroes” project, which asks the public for nominations, under the title, “Your Heroes.” Abu-Jamal, a former member of the Black Panther Party, was convicted for the December 1981 murder of Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulkner, stemming from a shootout that resulted after Abu-Jamal approached Faulkner, who had pulled over Abu-Jamal’s younger brother at a traffic stop.

Abu-Jamal’s three nominations are featured one after another on the NAACP list of nominees, which also includes President Barack Obama, Al Sharpton and David Bigsby, president of the community organizing organization the Gamaliel Foundation, which employed Obama in the 1980s.

The NAACP did not return repeated requests for comment as to why it allowed Abu-Jamal’s nomination to appear on the page.

Although ”Unsung Heroes” are nominated by visitors to the site, the nominations do appear to be moderated. In order to test the site’s moderation, The Daily Caller on Monday entered nominations for Tucker Carlson and Neil Munro, but neither of these picks have appeared on the site.

In addition to his membership in the Black Panther Party, Abu-Jamal was loosely associated with the Philadelphia based separatist organization MOVE. While supporters describe him as a journalist, Abu-Jamal was driving a taxi at the time he murdered Faulkner. He was initially sentenced to death, but his sentence was commuted to life in prison in 2012.

Abu-Jamal has become an iconic figure in the left-wing media, and his writings and political statements from prison have been disseminated widely. The “Free Mumia” movement has attracted both supporters who believe in Abu-Jamal’s innocence and sympathizers who commend and endorse his killing of a police officer.

Abu-Jamal is the subject of a new documentary, Long Distance Revolutionary: A Journey with Mumia Abu-Jamal, directed by Stephen Vittoria.

“Mumia Abu Jamal is one of the leading revolutionary intellectuals of our time. It is essential to ‘free Mumia Abu Jamal’ physically from bondage,” wrote veteran labor leader Bill Fletcher in a recent review of the film.

Abu-Jamal’s 59th birthday will be celebrated with a “Release Mumia Now” rally April 24 at Philadelphia City Hall, organized by three pro-Mumia coalitions in partnership with former Johnson administration attorney general Ramsey Clark’s International Action Center.

Pro-Mumia activists in New York hoping to participate in the rally can board buses departing at 11 a.m. from the headquarters of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) local 1199 in New York City.

Follow Patrick on Twitter