H. Rap Brown

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Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin
H Rap Brown - USNWR.jpg
H. Rap Brown in 1967
Born (1943-10-04) October 4, 1943 (age 77)
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Residence Butner FMC, the Federal Medical Center in Butner, North Carolina
(sentenced by the state of Georgia [1])
Known for 5th Chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee
Term May 1967 – June 1968
Predecessor Stokely Carmichael
Successor organization collapsed
Spouse(s) Karima Al-Amin

Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin, (born October 4, 1943, as Hubert Gerold Brown), also known as H. Rap Brown, was chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee in the 1960s, and during a short-lived (six months) alliance between SNCC and the Black Panther Party, he served as their minister of justice. He is perhaps most famous for his proclamation during that period that "violence is as American as cherry pie," as well as once stating that "If America don't come around, we're gonna burn it down." He is also known for his autobiography Die Nigger Die!. He is currently serving a life sentence for murder following the 2000 shooting of two Fulton County Sheriff's deputies. One deputy, Ricky Kinchen, died in the shooting.


Brown was born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He became known as H. Rap Brown during the early 1960s. His activism in the civil rights movement included involvement with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), of which he was named chairman in 1967. That same year, he was arrested in Cambridge, Maryland, and charged with inciting to riot as a result of a speech he gave there.

He appeared on the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Ten Most Wanted List after avoiding trial on charges of inciting riot and of carrying a gun across state lines. His attorneys in the gun violation case were civil rights advocate Murphy Bell of Baton Rouge and the self described "radical lawyer" William Kunstler. Brown was scheduled to be tried in Cambridge, but the trial was moved to Bel Air, Maryland, on a change of venue.

On March 9, 1970, two SNCC officials, Ralph Featherstone and William ("Che") Payne, died on U.S. Route 1 south of Bel Air, Maryland, when a bomb on the front floorboard of their car exploded, completely destroying the car and dismembering both occupants. Theories of the origin of the bomb are disputed. Some say it was planted in an assassination attempt, others say it was intentionally carried by Payne to be used at the courthouse where Brown was to be tried. The next night the Cambridge courthouse was bombed.[2]

Brown disappeared for 18 months, and then he was arrested after a reported shootout with officers. The shootout occurred after what was said to be an attempted robbery of a bar in 1971 in New York.

He spent five years (1971–1976) in Attica Prison after a robbery conviction. While in prison, Brown converted to Islam and changed his name from Hubert Gerold Brown to Jamil Abdullah al-Amin. After his release, he opened a grocery store in Atlanta, Georgia, and became a Muslim spiritual leader and community activist preaching against drugs and gambling in Atlanta's West End neighborhood.

It has since been alleged that Brown's life changed again when he allegedly became affiliated with the "Dar ul-Islam Movement".[3]

2000 arrest and conviction

On March 16, 2000, in Fulton County, Georgia, Sheriff's deputies Ricky Kinchen and Aldranon English went to Al-Amin's home to execute an arrest warrant for his failure to appear in court after a citation for speeding and impersonating a police officer. It was believed that he was an honorary police officer in a town in Alabama, and showed his honorary badge to gain the sympathy of the officer citing him. After determining that the home was unoccupied, the deputies drove away and were shortly passed by a black Mercedes headed for the home. Kinchen (the more-senior deputy) noted the suspect vehicle, turned the patrol car around, and drove up to the Mercedes, stopping nose-to-nose. English approached the Mercedes and told the single occupant to show his hands. The occupant opened fire with a .223 rifle. English ran between the two cars while returning fire from his handgun, but was hit four times. Kinchen was shot with the rifle and a 9 mm handgun. The following day, Kinchen died of his wounds at Grady Memorial Hospital. English survived his wounds, and identified Al-Amin as the shooter from six photos he was shown while recovering in the hospital. Both of the Sheriff's deputies whom Brown was convicted of shooting were black, which undermined Brown's racial conspiracy theory defense at trial.[4]

Shortly after the shootout, Al-Amin fled to White Hall, Alabama, where he was tracked down by U.S. Marshals and arrested by law enforcement officers after a four-day manhunt. Al-Amin was wearing body armor at the time of his arrest, and near his arrest location, officers located a 9mm handgun and .223 rifle. Firearms Identification testing showed that both weapons were the same guns used to shoot Kinchen and English. Later his black Mercedes, riddled with bullet holes, was located.[5]

On March 9, 2002, nearly two years after the shooting took place, al-Amin was convicted of 13 criminal charges, including the murder of deputy Kinchen. Four days later, he was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.[6] He was sent to Georgia State Prison, the state's maximum security facility near Reidsville, Georgia.

At his trial, prosecutors pointed out Al-Amin had never provided any alibi for his whereabouts at the time of the shootout, nor any explanation as to why he fled the state afterwards. He also did not explain the bullet holes in his car, nor how the weapons used in the shootout were located near him during his arrest. In May 2004, the Supreme Court of Georgia unanimously ruled to uphold al-Amin's conviction.[7]

In August 2007, he was transferred from state custody to Federal custody, as Georgia officials decided that Al-Amin was too high-profile an inmate for the Georgia prison system to handle. He was subsequently moved to a Federal transfer facility in Oklahoma pending assignment to a Federal penitentiary. On October 21, 2007, Al-Amin was transferred to the ADX Florence supermax prison in Florence, Colorado.[8] Having been diagnosed with multiple myeloma, Al-Amin was transferred on July 18, 2014 to Butner FMC Federal Medical Center in North Carolina.[9]


  • Die Nigger Die!: A Political Autobiography, Westport, CT: Lawrence Hill Books, 1969; London: Allison & Busby, 1970. Online.
  • Revolution by the Book: The Rap Is Live, 1993.

See also


  1. "Locate a Federal Inmate: Mahmud Abouhalima". Federal Bureau of Prisons. Retrieved 2009-08-17.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Holden, Todd (March 23, 1970). "Bombing: A Way of Protest and Death". Time. Retrieved February 14, 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. Black America, Prisons, and Radical Islam (PDF). Center for Islamic Pluralism. September 2008. ISBN 978-0-9558779-1-9. Retrieved February 14, 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. Ariel Hart, "Court in Georgia Upholds Former Militant's Conviction", The New York Times, May 25, 2004
  5. "Ex-Black Panther convicted of murder". CNN. March 19, 2002. Retrieved January 18, 2008.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. "Deputy Sheriff Ricky Leon Kinchen". Officer Down Memorial Page. Archived from the original on 2007-09-30. Retrieved January 8, 2008.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. "Georgia Justices Uphold Al-Amin Murder Verdict"
  8. Bluestein, Greg (August 3, 2007). "1960s Militant Moved to Federal Custody". ABC News. Retrieved January 18, 2008.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>[dead link]
  9. Imam Jamil Al-Amin (H. Rap Brown) transferred to Butner Federal Medical Center, N.C.

External links