Burning Spear News
Tribute to Omowale Kefing from Chairman Omali Yeshitela, Chairman of the African People’s Socialist Party
(Left to right) Chairman Omali Yeshitela and Omowale Kefing
To his family and friends he has always been known as Tyrone Archie, affectionately called Ty.
When I met him in Atlanta in 1975, though, he was called Omowale Kefing and for the next 44 years the world knew him by that name.
Over the years Kefing, as we affectionately called him, became one of my dearest comrades in the struggle, a trusted confidant, a true cadre of our Party and beloved organizer in the trenches of our lifelong fight to free our suffering African people here and around the world once and for all.
Omowale Kefing was a giant. His feats in defense of our people and for our liberation are legendary and unequaled in the pantheon of African freedom fighters.
Impressed with the work our Party had done to free African political prisoners, Kefing asked me as the chair of the African People’s Socialist Party, to come to Atlanta in 1975 to help build the defense for Dessie Woods, an African woman who was jailed that year for killing a white would-be Georgia rapist with his own gun.
As the Chair of the Committee to Free Dessie Woods, Kefing built support to free Dessie Woods around the world, including in Europe, Japan and the Caribbean. During these years Kefing traveled tirelessly throughout California, Oregon, Kentucky, Georgia, Alabama and many states in the deep south, going to some of the most dangerous places for an African organizer to work.
On July 4, 1977 Kefing coordinated major demonstrations from coast to coast demanding Dessie Woods’ freedom. He led the demonstration in Plains, GA, hometown of the then-president James Earl Carter, which never quite recovered after busloads of African and Puerto Rican people descended on this country cracker town from New York and Chicago. On the same day a huge demonstration was held on the streets of San Francisco, CA, bringing together hundreds of Africans and supporters to free Dessie Woods and smash colonial violence.
Dessie Woods was released through the powerful efforts of Comrade Kefing in 1981.
In 1976 Kefing organized our Party’s contingent to the Bi-Centennial without Colonies held in Philadelphia. That same year in St. Petersburg, FL, he played a role in organizing the African People’s Solidarity Committee, the white solidarity organization under our Party’s leadership.
In 1979 Kefing was the lead organizer in Louisville, KY building the African National Prison Organization, our Party’s response to the massive incarceration.
That year Kefing also stood up against hundreds of frothing at the mouth white people at a Party-led demonstration in Gainesville, FL in solidarity with the people of Iran and Iranians in this country who were facing lynch mobs after the Iranian people’s seizure of the U.S. embassy there.
In 1981 Kefing organized a major rally in Birmingham, AL in defense of political prisoner Mafundi Lake.
In 1982 Kefing played a key role in putting the Community Control of Housing, a land reform initiative, on the ballot in Oakland, CA. Known as Measure O, the initiative won 22,000 votes.
In his years in Oakland Kefing led countless campaigns against African homelessness and police violence. Kefing coordinated the Uhuru Park struggle in Oakland in 1983 where our Party served 3 meals a day for African people living in the park.
In 1985 he represented our Party in a meeting with the Mexicano liberation organization Unión del Barrio, developing a working relationship that is still strong today.
In 1986 Kefing led the first African Liberation Day in Philadelphia after the city dropped a bomb on the home of MOVE family, murdering 11 African women, men and children and burning down the entire African neighborhood.
It was Kefing who built the relationship of our Party with the struggle of our people in Occupied Azania (South Africa) where we now have organizers on the ground building our Party and the African Socialist International.
Comrade Kefing was able to fulfill a lifelong dream when he organized for our Party in Sierra Leone and in Kenya in Africa.
Kefing was the long-time editor and prolific writer for our newspaper The Burning Spear, a publication that he loved and worked hard to get into the hands of the African working class every month.
He was a working class intellectual, a brilliant writer, organizer and analyst with a sharp wit. Because he was unassuming he was loved by the masses and always underestimated by our enemies.
Of all the people upheld as icons of the struggle of our people none of them can claim the achievements, revolutionary stamina and stature of Omowale Kefing, who was selfless and willing to undergo the harshest conditions if it would forward our revolution.
Some think they know Ty. But this is Omowale Kefing, beloved by African people and other colonized and oppressed peoples across the globe, beloved leader of the African Revolution!