Legendary black activist Elmer ‘Geronimo’ Pratt was pronounced dead of a heart attack on Thursday June 2nd in Tanzania, Africa, at the age of 63. Pratt, who was a former high ranking member of the infamous ‘Black Panther Party’, was targeted by the F.B.I. under their COINTELPRO operation, which was used to target black revolutionaries.
He was tried and convicted of the kidnap and murder of Caroline Olsen at a Santa Monica tennis court back in 1968, even though the husband of the victim, who survived the robbery, pointed out another man as the attacker. Pratt served twenty-seven years in prison for this crime, eight years of which he spent in solitary confinement. He was freed in 1997 and in May of 2000 he received a settlement of $4.5 million for wrongful imprisonment.
In a 2003 interview with AllHipHop.com he 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, 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, 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 was influential in Tupac’s life, teaching him of a lot of his political insights and ways. Pratt also served in the United States military and fought in Vietnam before becoming a member of the Black Panther Party in 1968. He was also a strong human rights activist and a true revolutionary of our time.