In Memoriam: Qwusu Yaki Yakubu


Qwusu Yaki Yakubu (aka James Sayles) was an extraordinary human being. He died on March 28, 2008, at age 60 after spending almost 40 years in prison. Yaki was a revolutionary, a nationalist and an internationalist in the spirit of Malcolm X. He was an activist and theoretician, and a writer and editor of several influential journals.

Yaki gave leadership to the struggle to free the Pontiac Brothers, a successful fight against the death penalty, and he helped lead the campaign to free C number prisoners (hundreds of prisoners unfairly held).

A memorial service was held on April 5, an outpouring of love, admiration and respect from ex-prisoners, family members and many others, including José López from the Puerto Rican Cultural Center who spoke of how Yaki understood that nationalism and internationalism must go hand in hand.

As one speaker said: “We love you, Yaki. We love you for being a husband, a father, a friend and a great human being with a smile that we saw far too rarely. And we love you for being a revolutionary.”

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