by Shaka Sankofa
Shaka Sankofa was lynched by the state of Texas June 22, 2000. These were his last words:
I would like to say that I did not kill Bobby Lambert. That I’m an innocent Black man who is being murdered. This is a lynching happening in America tonight.
There’s overwhelming and compelling evidence of my innocence that has never been heard in any court of America. What is happening here is an outrage for any civilized country, to anybody anywhere, to look at what’s happening here. It is wrong. I thank all of the people who have rallied to my cause. They’ve been standing in support of me and have finished with me.
I say to Mr. Lambert’s family, I did not kill Bobby Lambert. You are pursuing the execution of an innocent man.
I want to express my sincere thanks to all of you. We must continue to move forward and do everything we can to outlaw legal lynching in America. We must continue to stay strong all around the world, and people must come together to stop the systematic killing of poor and innocent Black people. We must continue to stand together in unity and to demand a moratorium on all executions.
We must not let this murder/lynching be forgotten tonight. We must take it to the nation. We must keep our faith. We must go forward. We recognize that many leaders have died: Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr. and others who stood up for what was right. They stood up for what was just. We must, you must, carry on that tradition. We may lose this battle, but we will win the war. This death, this lynching will be avenged.
So, you all stay strong, continue to move forward. Know that I love all of you. I love the people, I love all of you for your strength, for your courage, for your dignity, the way you have come here tonight and the way you have protested and kept this nation together. Keep moving forward. Slavery couldn’t stop us. The lynchings couldn’t stop us in the South. This lynching will not stop us tonight. We will go forward. Our destiny in this country is freedom and liberation. We will gain our freedom and liberation by any means necessary. By any means necessary, we keep marching forward.
Bianca [Jagger], make sure that the state does not get my body. Make sure that we get my name as Shaka Sankofa. My name is not Gary Graham. Make sure that it is properly presented on my grave: Shaka Sankofa.
We must move forward. Minister Robert Muhammed. Ashanti Chimurenga, I love you for standing with me, my sister. You are a strong warrior queen. You will continue to be strong in everything that you do. Reverend Al Sharpton, I love you, my brother. Bianca Jagger. I love all of you. Reverend Jesse Jackson, know that this murder, this lynching will not be forgotten. I love you, too, my brother. This is genocide in America.
You can kill a revolutionary, but you cannot stop the revolution. The revolution will go on. You are the people that must carry that revolution on in order to liberate our children from genocide.
To my sons, to my daughters, I love all of you. You have been wonderful. Keep your heads up. Keep moving forward. We will gain our freedom and liberation in this country, and we will do it by any means necessary. We will keep marching. March on, Black people. Keep your heads high. March on.
We’re going to end the death penalty in this country. This is nothing more than state-sanctioned murder, state-sanctioned lynching, right here in America, and right here tonight.
They know I’m innocent. They’ve got the facts to prove it. But they cannot acknowledge my innocence, because to do so would be to publicly admit their guilt. This is something these racist people will never do.
You must stay strong. You must continue to hold your heads up and to be there. I love all of you who are standing with me in solidarity. We will prevail. We will keep marching. Keep marching, Black people, Black power. They are killing me tonight. They are murdering me tonight.