Saturday, June 4, 2011
"GERONIMO" PRATT R.I.P.
"Gronimo" Pratt was a Black Panther from L.A. (see this obit) who was wrongfully convicted of a murder he didn't commit and spent twenty-seven (27!) years in prison for it before the charges were finally overturned.
This, unfortunately, wasn't, and isn't, an isolated case. But one of the things that distinguishes Pratt is his lack of bitterness and anger. He was in solitary confinement for most of eight of those twenty-seven years, as I understand it, and found a way to use music and meditation to survive.
His story so moved my older son, Miles, that he wrote a beautiful song from Pratt's perspective. I hope he puts it up on Youtube, ether his own solo version or his band's (Bell Engine). The song is as plaintive and porgnant as Pratt's story.
[PS: Though I worked with or had contact with some of The Black Panthers in their early years—and argued with them over tactics and rhetoric—I didn't know Pratt.]