When you simply completed up watching Judas and the Black Messiah, Shaka King’s movie about Black Panther chairman Fred Hampton’s assassination by the FBI and the betrayal by the hands of infiltrator William O’Neal, you is likely to be questioning about Hampton’s fiancée Akua Njeri, previously generally known as Deborah Johnson. An important a part of Hampton’s story, Njeri was a mere 19 years previous and eight-and-a-half months pregnant with their son when the FBI raided their residence, tragically taking pictures and killing Hampton.
She has described her therapy by the hands of police throughout the traumatizing occasion, telling the Chicago Reader that “they grabbed [her] by the hair and slung [her] into the kitchen space” as Fred died from the gunshots. Although she was born Deborah Johnson, the activist quickly modified her identify to Akua Njeri, and continued her legacy as a political activist and author.
Why did Deborah Johnson change her identify to Akua Njeri?
Johnson modified her given identify to Akua Njeri, becoming a member of a number of Black Energy activists in shedding their “slave names” to beat racial oppression within the ’60s and ’70s. Legendary boxer Cassius Marcellus Clay famously modified his identify to Muhammad Ali in 1964, claiming that the identify change was essential to free him of psychological bondage associated to oppression, and that “Cassius Clay was the identify of the white slave grasp.” Though there are not any particular accounts as to why Johnson modified her identify to Akua Njeri, it’s clear that the shift adopted an analogous line of pondering. In keeping with the African American Mental Historical past Society, shedding the given identify of household slave masters might be seen as “a step towards freedom,” and lots of Black Energy activists noticed the identify change as a liberation in with the ability to outline their very own identification.
Njeri might even have been impressed by pre-Black Panther motion icon Malcolm X, a Black nationalist chief, who acknowledged the “anti-Black violence” in his final identify. He modified it to easily “X,” representing his rejection of his “slave identify” and one other step in the direction of energy and full self-determination. Many different activists determined to shed their surnames for African, African-inspired, or Arabic ones that they selected themselves in an effort to get nearer to self-definition and break free from previous trauma. Redefining themselves by way of a “New Afrikan” identification was empowering for a lot of, paving the way in which for individuals like Johnson to take a reputation that was totally their alternative, and unchain themselves from suppression.
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