Details are surfacing in the death of legendary black activist Elmer “Geronimo” Pratt, who died yesterday (June 2nd) in Africa.
Pratt was pronounced dead of a heart attack in Tanzania, Africa, at the age of 63.
Geronimo Pratt’s writings and philosophies influenced a number of artists, including his godson, legendary rapper Tupac Shakur.
In a 2003 interview with AllHipHop.com, Geronimo Pratt discussed his relationship with Hip-Hop, and the power of the genre, which he claimed had already been infiltrated by the government, years before the acknowledgment of the “Hip-Hop Police” units around the country.
“I do believe [that], as I stated when I first got on Hip-Hop, Hip-Hop is indigenous and its powerful and it scares the hell out of these people, right? So, they have to get control and employ CointelPro-like tactics,” Geronimo Pratt told AllHipHop.com. “They work easily. I saw it with Pac. Before he was murdered I mentioned that to him. I believe to this day that they were involved in his death and they were involved in other deaths.”
Geronimo Pratt served in the United States military and fought in Vietnam, before he became a black activist in 1968, when he became a member The Black Panthers.
“There was a policy that some of us, when we got of age, would be sent to come back and help protect the Black community from racist attacks from the Ku Klux Klan,” Geronimo Pratt told AllHipHop.com. “It had nothing – and listen to me carefully – nothing to do with being patriotic to America. It had everything to do with getting training and returning to protect the community from the Ku Klux Klan. Little did I know, I was going to end up in Vietnam, blown up, all this stuff, but that’s just the way things happen.”
Pratt was eventually incarcerated for allegedly murdering a school teacher on a tennis court in 1968, despite the victims husband identifying another man as the killer.
In 1972, Geronimo Pratt was convicted of the murder and spent 27 years in prison, before the verdict was overturned 1997.
In May of 2000, Pratt was awarded a $4.5 million settlement for wrongful imprisonment.
“R.I.P. Geronimo ‘Jaga’ Pratt,” Chuck D. tweeted. “Damn, 2 days after Gil Scott-Heron. Rough week.”