(Blogger’s Note: The following are the last words of Shaka Sankofa, formerly know as Gary Graham, as he was about to be executed in Texas on June 22, 2000 under the George W. Bush Administration. The text is from his printed statement. Shaka Sankofa was a Texas death-row inmate who was sentenced to death at the age of 18 for the murder of fifty-three-year-old Bobby Grant Lambert in Houston, Texas on May 13, 1981.)
“I would like to say that I did not kill Bobby Lambert, that I’m an innocent Black man that is being murdered. This is a lynching that is happening in America tonight. There’s overwhelming and compelling evidence of my defense that has never been heard in any court of America.
What is happening here is an outrage for any civilized country to anybody anywhere to look at what’s happening here is wrong.
I thank all of the people that have rallied to my cause. They’ve been standing in support of me, who have finished with me. I say to Mr. Lambert’s family, I did not kill Bobby Lambert. You are pursuing the execution of an innocent man.
I want to express my sincere thanks to all of y’all. We must continue to move forward and do everything we can do to
outlaw legal lynching in America. We must continue to stay strong all around the world, and people must come together to stop the systematic killing of poor and innocent Black people. We must continue to stand together in unity and to demand a moratorium on all executions. We must not let this murder/lynching be forgotten tonight, my brothers. We must take it to the nation. We must keep the faith. We must go forward.
We must recognize that many leaders have died. Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, and others who stood up for what was right. They stood up for what was just. We must, you must, brothers, that’s why I have called you today. You must carry-on that tradition. What is here is just a lynching that is taking place. But they’re going to keep on lynching us for the next 100 years, if you do not carry on that tradition, and that period of resistance.
We will prevail. We may lose this battle but we will win the war. This death, this lynching must be avenged. It will be avenged, it must be avenged. The people must avenge this murder. So, my brothers, all of y’all stay strong, continue to move forward. Know that I love you. I love the people. I love all of you for your blessing, strength, for your courage, for your dignity, the way you have come here tonight, and the way you have protested and kept this nation together.
Keep moving forward, my brothers. Slavery couldn’t stop us. The lynching couldn’t stop us in the south. This lynching will not stop us tonight. We will go forward. Our destiny in this country is freedom and liberation. We will gain our freedom and liberation by any means necessary. By any means necessary we keep marching forward.
I love you, Mr. Jesse Jackson. Bianca Jagger make sure the state does not get my body. Make sure that we get my name as Shaka Sankofa. My name is not Gary Graham. Make sure that it is properly presented on my grave. Shaka Sankofa. I died fighting for what I believe in. I died fighting for what was just and what was right. I did not kill Bobby Lambert, and the truth is going to come out. It will be brought out.
I want you to take this thing off into the International Court, Mr. Robert Muhammad, and all y’all. I want you, I want to get my family and take this down to the international court and file a lawsuit. Get all of the video tapes of all the beatings. They have beat me up in the back. They have beat me up at the unit over there. Get all the video tapes supporting that lawsuit, and make the public exposed to the genocide and this brutality world, and let the world see what is really happening here. You must get those video tapes. You must make it exposed, this injustice to the world.
You must continue to demand a moratorium on all executions. We must move forward, Minister Robert Muhammad. Ashanti Chimurenga, I love you for standing with me, my sister. You are a strong warrior queen. You will continue to be strong in everything that you do. Believe in yourself, you must hold your head up, in the spirit of Winnie Mandela, in the spirit of Nelson Mandela. Y’all must move forward. We will stop this lynching. Reverend Al Sharpton, I love you, my brother. Bianca Jagger, I love you all. Y’all make sure that we continue to stand together. Reverend Jesse Jackson, I know that this murder, this lynching will not be forgotten. I love you too, my brother.
This is genocide in America. This is what happens to Black men when they stand up and protest for what is right and just. We refuse to compromise, we refuse to surrender the dignity for what we know is right. But we will move on, we have been strong in the past. We will continue to be strong as a people.
You can kill a revolutionary, but you cannot stop the revolution. The revolution will go on. The people will carry the revolution on. You are the people that must carry that revolutionary on in order to liberate our children from this genocide and what is happening here in America tonight. What has happened for the last 100 or so years in America. This is the part of the genocide, this the part of the African Holocaust, that we as Black people have endured in America.
But we shall overcome, we will continue with this. We will continue, we will gain our freedom and liberation in this country. We will gain it and we will do it by any means necessary. Stay strong. They cannot kill us. We will move forward. To my sons, to my daughters, all of you. I love you all. You have been wonderful. Keep your heads up. Keep moving forward. Keep united. Maintain the love and unity in the community, and know that victory is assured. Victory for the people will be assured.
We will gain our freedom and liberation in this country. We will gain it and we will do it by any means necessary. We will keep marching. March on, Black people. Keep your heads high. March on, all y’all leaders, march on. Take your message to the people. Preach the moratorium for all executions. We’re gonna stop, we are going to end the death penalty in this country. We are going to end it all across this world. Push forward people and know that what y’all are doing is right.
This is nothing more than pure and simple murder. This is what is happening tonight in America. Nothing more than state-sanctioned murders, state sanctioned lynching, right here in America, right here tonight. This is what is happening, my brothers, nothing less. They know I’m innocent. They’ve got the facts to prove it. They know I’m innocent. But they cannot acknowledge my innocence, because to do so would be to publicly admit their guilt. This is something these racist people will never do. We must remember, brothers, this is what we’re faced with. You must take this endeavor forward. You must stay strong. You must continue to hold your heads up, and to be there. And I love you too, my brother. All of you who are standing with me in solidarity.
We will prevail. We will keep marching. Keep marching, Black people. Black power. Keep marching, Black people. Black Power. Keep marching, Black people. Black Power. Keep marching, Black people. They are killing me tonight. They are killing me tonight. They are murdering me tonight.’
Read The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan’s statement on the execution of Shaka Sankofa: http://brotherjesseblog.com/minister-louis-farrakhan-speaks-on-the-execution-of-shaka-sankofa/