Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Who Was "Geronimo Pratt"?


Elmer "Geronimo" Pratt (September 13, 1947 – June 2, 2011), also known as Geronimo Ji-Jaga and Geronimo Ji-Jaga Pratt, was a decorated military veteran and a high-ranking member of the Black Panther Party in the United States in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Born in Louisiana, he served two tours in Vietnam, receiving several decorations. He moved to Los Angeles, where he studied at UCLA under the GI Bill and joined the Black Panther Party.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation targeted Pratt in a COINTELPRO operation in the early 1970s, intended to "neutralize Pratt as an effective BPP functionary." Pratt was tried and convicted in 1972 for the 1968 murder of Caroline Olsen; he served 27 years in prison, eight of which were in solitary confinement. Pratt was freed in 1997 when his conviction was vacated due to the prosecution's having concealed evidence that could have affected the verdict. This decision was upheld on appeal.

He worked as a human rights activist until the time of his death. Pratt was also the godfather of the late rapper Tupac Shakur. He died of a heart attack in his adopted country, Tanzania, on June 3, 2011.

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