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Facts, key events in life of Al-Amin

Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 18 Mar 2001


Name: Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin, born as Hubert Gerold Brown

Nickname: H. Rap Brown

Parents: Eddie C. Brown, an oil company worker, and Thelma (Warren) Brown

Age: 56

Born: Baton Rouge, La., Oct. 4, 1943

Education: Attended Southern University, 1960-64

Occupation: Leader of the Community Mosque of Atlanta; owner, the Community Store

Personal: Married to Karima, a lawyer; two children, Ali, Kairi

Background: Black activist and social commentator of the 1960s who became widely known as chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee

Famous quote: "Violence is as American as cherry pie"


  • Autobiography, Die Nigger Die (Dial Press, 1969) recounts how he developed a keen sense of the lowly status of blacks while growing up in Louisiana.

  • Rallied the support of angry African-Americans against the white establishment in the late 1960s by openly supporting acts of violence.

  • Became an organizer for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee in Alabama in 1966.

  • Named minister of justice for the Black Panther Party in 1968.

  • Accused in 1967 of instigating arson and riots in Cambridge, Md. "I hope they pick Brown up soon, put him away and throw away the key," said then-Gov. Spiro Agnew.

  • Disappeared before he could go to trial on the Cambridge charges and made the FBI's most-wanted list, but resurfaced near the scene of a holdup and shootout in New York City in 1971. Served five years in prison on robbery charges.

  • Converted to Islam while in prison and began using the name Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin.

  • Paroled from prison in 1976, he moved to Atlanta, opened a small grocery and community store and became the leader of the Atlanta Community Mosque. Neighbors said the former activist worked hard to keep drugs and prostitution out of the area.

  • Accused in 1995 of aggravated assault after a man claimed he was shot by Al-Amin. The man later recanted and said he was pressured by authorities to identify Al-Amin as the shooter.

  • "I don't miss the '60s," he told an interviewer from The Washington Post in 1978.

Sources: Staff and published reports; Contemporary Black Biography, Who's Who Among African Americans, all by Gale Research Inc.

© 2001 Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Reprinted for Fair Use Only.

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