The New Afrikan Peoples Organization and the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement salute the life of our brother and comrade Geronimo ji Jaga. The life of Geronimo, or “G” as he was affectionately known, represents a freedom fighter that sacrificed and loved Afrikan people and humanity.
Geronimo was given the name Elmer Gerard Pratt at birth on September 13, 1947, in Morgan City, Louisiana. He was born into a loving family that would nurture him and provide support throughout his life. He grew up in a community where he and other youth had to fight white supremacists from the “other side of the tracks.”
Geronimo said he was encouraged to go into the US military by his community Elders, who had roots in Marcus Garvey’s Universal Negro Improvement Association and the Deacons for Defense. His objective was to learn military skills to be utilized for the defense of our community and our people. “G” was a decorated soldier in the wrong army, earning two Bronze Stars, a Silver Star and two Purple Hearts. He distinguished himself as a Sergeant and Ranger in the 82nd Airborne of the US Army.
His Elders would redeploy him, after returning from two Vietnam combat tours, to the greater Los Angeles area. There he would work with Alprentice “Bunchy” Carter, the principal organizer of the Southern California Chapter of the Black Panther Party (BPP). Carter and Geronimo both became students at the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA). They participated in the Black student movement and the formation of the Black Studies department at UCLA. Geronimo rose to leadership of the Southern California Chapter and National BPP after Carter and John Huggins were murdered in a Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) COINTELPRO inspired internecine conflict between the US Organization and Panthers on the UCLA campus, in September 1969. He quickly became a primary target to be eliminated by the FBI and Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) due to his organizing ability, military skills, and the popularity of his comrades. Continue reading