My name is Foday Ajamu Mansaray most popularly known by my comrades as simply “Ajamu”, which means “He fights for what he wants” in the Yoruba language of modern day Nigeria. Born and raised in a first generation Gullah-Geechee migrant household from Orangeburg, South Carolina my hometown is the small city of York, Pennsylvania in the south central region of this northeastern state. An 80's baby and 90's gangster that found myself homeless and hustling at the early age of 12 years old, I was arrested for my first felony in 1992 at thirteen for auto theft. Throughout my lumpen adolescence I was placed in a number of detention centers, at-risk youth shelters, disciplinary alternative schools, and group homes amounting to a total of 5 years of juvenile probation and 22 months in placement. Hence, my personal historic experience of protracted resistance and rebellion against the imperialist state apparatus “on the inside” commenced in my early teens and continued into my adulthood during which I have subsequently been served 32 months at the local York County Prison, 7 months at the State Correctional Institution (SCI) of Camp Hill, 58 months at SCI Rockview, and a total of 8 months in halfway houses on pre-release. With over 15 felony convictions and a total of 10 years and 7 months in the belly of the beast where I never respected the authority of the administration and spent the majority of my time reading, writing, and confabulating with the older and more mature brothers in search of knowledge, wisdom, and understanding of myself and the world that we live in this is where I transformed.
In 2001 while in the county jail I was fortunate to be reunited with a man that saved me from my teen homelessness and informally adopted me as his son, named Stephan D. Freeland, whom I affectionately called “Daddy”. His twin sons are my life long best friends since preschool and after sneaking me into their step mother’s home for baths, food, and rest while my mother, also homeless at the time, struggled with crack cocaine addiction and alcohol abuse. Eventually my presence was discovered in the residence and the parents after hearing my story welcomed me to stay until conditions changed for the better in my family. I lived with them for almost the entire 7th grade year before one of my elder sisters came for me after rumors of my street exploits reached her. Daddy was a former youth leader of a local militant group named the Black Unity Movement(BUM) that organized and mobilized armed community self-defense units to combat the local white supremacist youth gangs, police department, and government in the streets during the 1968 and 1969 race rebellions in my hometown.
Daddy was being faced with criminal charges during the late sixties along with two other former members of the BUM when we were housed together in the same cell block for a few months back in 2001 at the county prison. I had not seen Daddy since he was locked up on drug charges not long after he rescued me from homelessness and I was overwhelmed by the joy of being reunited with the man that for me was a living savior and leader by example. Like Afeni Shakur, Huey P. Newton, and many other former revolutionary cadre and youthful leaders of the Black Power era, Daddy also fell victim to the plague of drugs and spent many years in prison as a modern day convict-slave but he was not broken. In the context of facing these new charges while dealing with health complications that would ultimately claim his life he was still living a vigilant personal life of resistance and survival. Taking me as his “adopted” child and young comrade Daddy opened up to me and shared his life experience, worldview, and provided me with a list of must read literature and people to link up with once I get “up state”. This was my introduction and orientation into the underground prison network and front of the liberation struggle passed literally from father to adopted son. Ultimately, after being found guilty of his charges the man who is most responsible for saving my life as a troublesome youth and recruiting me into the revolution passed away without ever seeing the “outside world” again a few years later without ever surrendering to the enemy. Ase!
In state prison I joined and became a leading member of a now defunct clandestine unit of the New Black Liberation Army (NBLA) and began my political studies and basic operations training under the leadership of another brother. Coincidentally, he was my first cell mate and after spending some time “sizing” each other up we became close comrades until he was transferred to another concentration camp plantation a few years later. General was a seasoned veteran in the Pennsylvania state prison front of the revolution from West Philadelphia. Serving multiple life sentences since his conviction in 91' he had been locked down in numerous prisons and was closely associated with the leading political prisoners throughout the state, all whom greatly contributed to his overall development as a recognized and respected cadre, respectively.
General taught me the way to move within the state system and guided me in my studies while granting me full access to his extensive library of literature which I devoured in less than 12 months. He was my adviser, trainer, and model for righteous revolutionary conduct in the struggle. Notorious for his frontline displays of courage and vigilant battle with the prison authorities among the other convict-slaves General is hands down one of the most beautiful, wise, intelligent, militant, disciplined, humble, and ferocious men that I have not only met but even heard of.
In 2004 he shared with me some literature that he just received from the George Jackson University based in California. He gave me a short lecture about how we have to unify the prison struggle from the inside out and get people on the streets to back us if we are going to have a chance to first improve the conditions in the prisons by cultivating a new generation of former lumpen comrades we must get organized and work with the GJU. I was down and soon we “flew a kite” to comrade Donald Evans on the West Coast introducing ourselves and intentions to build the institution in our state. To our admitted surprise within a short period we received a warm reply expressing sincere gratitude and genuine unity in a package of official GJU introductory literature. Unfortunately, General was suddenly transferred as he has been many times not long after.
The Bandele (Born away from home) unit consisting of Amun, Madu, Kamau, Abiabe, and myself continued our political and African studies group in the yard and cell-block as I extracted the essence of the GJU curriculum and mission statement for practical usage in our educational program. We received correspondence from comrade Donald and the GJU one additional time before the connection went cold. I now know that it was due to the state repression of the vanguard out west.
Today, I am the founder and International Coordinator of the Black Star Action Network International and based in West Africa where I repatriated to 2 years ago. Headquartered in Conakry (capital of the Republic of Guinea) the BSANI Movement was initially conceived and developed during a 33 month (October 2008-July 2011) bid stemming from my leading role in the “I Ain't No Gangsta: 222 Catch 22 Campaign” in York, Pa to expose and defeat the counter-insurgent US Federal Anti-Gang Initiative that targeted the poor African and Latino residents in my hometown and various oppressed ghetto communities across the country for mass incrimination and incarceration, the BSANI Movement was officially launched at an historic event entitled, “Black Stuggle: Past, Present, and Future” in Tampa, Florida during African Martyr's weekend with veteran elder Harold Taylor who is an original member of the Black Panther Party for Self Defense(Southern California Chapter) and one of the San Francisco 8, the late El Hajj Malcolm Latif Shabazz who was the first male heir of El Hajj Malcolm Shabazz or Malcolm X, and Dr. Iyapo Ngina Moyende co-founder of the Black Star Action Network International and revolutionary activist, organizer, and Chinese medical practitioner as the keynote panelist.
I have unite and declare my loyal service to the George Jackson University because GJU played a significant role in my personal evolution as a reformed lumpen at the most critical juncture in my early development on the inside. I humbly accept the administrative role of International Land and Resource Relations Developer and Recruiter, and will give my absolute best to the work of this honorable educational institution. I am evidence of the impact that the GJU can have on a young brother or sister trapped in the belly of the beast striving to transform their lives with the assistance of outside educational support and direction. I politically and personally consider myself an exemplary alumni of this university and as such take it as my personal and political responsibility is the responsibility to “give back” from which I have gained so that others may have the benefits of the GJU as we march forward.
Cde. Foday Ajamu Mansaray
GJU International Land and Resource Relations Developer and Recruiter
Founder and International Coordinator of the Black Star Action Network International