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Herman and Iyaluua Ferguson to be honored at POW dinner

Nayaba Arinde | 1/16/2014, 3:51 p.m.
(L to R) Iyaluua and Herman Ferguson (W.A.T.E.R. 17 photo)

One would be hard-pressed to find a more grassroots, Black Nationalist, U.S.-based freedom-fighting couple than Herman and Iyaluua Ferguson. From Queens, N.Y., to the proposed Republic of New Africa, this activist couple, also known as the “Dynamic Duo,” will be honored at this Saturday’s Malcolm X Commemoration Committee-hosted 18th annual dinner tribute to the families of our political prisoners and prisoners of war.

This event, which will be once again co-sponsored by the 1199SEIU, on Saturday, Jan. 18 at the Martin Luther King Jr. Labor Center, 310 W. 43rd St., between Eighth and Ninth avenues, from 3 p.m.-7 p.m. Dinner will be served at 4 p.m.

“We who know and love the Fergusons have long recognized them as a Dynamic Duo who exemplify what long-distance commitment, revolutionary love, courage and resistance looks like,” said Dequi Kioni-Sadiki and Mani Gilyard, Malcolm X Commemoration Committee co-chairs.

Herman Ferguson is 93 years old, having just recently celebrated his earthday, yet is known to still be an uncompromising revolutionary Black Nationalist. He is a former exile and political prisoner targeted like so many other activists by COINTELPRO for fighting for “Black/New Afrikan” freedom fighters and the Black Liberation Movement. Meanwhile, career educator Iyaluua Ferguson is a much esteemed and much, much respected revolutionary, wife and comrade who left her teaching job in New York to join Herman in exile in Guyana.

After 19 years in the Caribbean nation, pressed by family and New York activists like Abubadika Sonny Carson and Elombe Brath to come back home, the Fergusons did just that. Herman Ferguson was immediately arrested and imprisoned by the New York State Department of Corrections at a series of upstate facilities such as Attica and Sing Sing for seven years. It was famed Judge Bruce Wright who demanded his parole.

Immediately after his release, Herman Ferguson got back into the “struggle,” co-convening the Jericho Movement for Amnesty & Recognition of U.S.-held political prisoners and prisoners of war, “fighting for the freedom of our unjustly imprisoned Black/New Afrikan freedom fighters.”

He wasn’t done. His approaching a century in age notwithstanding, Herman Ferguson co-founded the Malcolm X Commemoration Committee, and at the insistence of Iyaluua Ferguson, the two penned his brilliant autobiography, “An Unlikely Warrior, Herman Ferguson: Evolution of a Black Nationalist Revolutionary.” Iyaluua Ferguson is a fierce advocate for Black activists held for decades because of their Black Liberation Army and Black Panther membership, using their actions and positions to fight for Black self-determination.

Having had her husband away from his family for 19 years, Iyaluua Ferguson knows firsthand what it is to live in “sheer terror of having a loved one captured behind the wall as a PP/POW [political prisoner/prisoner of war], which led to the first dinner tribute,” said Dequi Kioni-Sadiki, wife of political prisoner Sekou Odinga. “It is these reasons and more why we pay tribute to this Dynamic Duo. Their contributions and many sacrifices to the Black Freedom struggle are the examples many across the Afrikan Diaspora aspire to.”

The dinner hosts the families of Black activists who have been imprisoned for decades and refused parole dozens of times because of their revolutionary Black freedom fighter beliefs and actions in the 1960s and 1970s. Always in attendance are the families of Jalil Muntaqim, Janet Holloway Africa, Sundiata Acoli, Sekou Odinga, Robert Seth Hayes, Abdul Majid, Dr. Mutulu Shakur (Tupac’s stepfather) and Marshall Eddie Conway.