Black Liberation Army Papers (1963-1998)
Summary Information
Title: Black Liberation Army Papers
Creator: Black Liberation Army
Inclusive dates: 1963-1998
Extent: 1.5 Linear feet (1 records box and 1 manuscript box)
Abstract:
The Black Liberation Army (BLA) was an underground Black Nationalist organization largely comprised of former Black Panther Party members. The majority of the materials in the Black Liberation Army archive fall under the Thomas "Blood" McCreary series, a member of the BLA. The archive consists of seven series: Thomas "Blood" McCreary, Correspondence, 1976-1978, Legal, Topical, Newspaper Clippings, 1969-1978, Events, Publications and Black Panther Party. The documents range in date from 1963-1998.
Call number: bla
Language: The material is in English.
Repository: University of Michigan Library (Special Collections Research Center), Joseph A. Labadie Collection

Access and Use
Access Restrictions:

The collection is open for research.

Copyright:

Copyright has not been transferred to the Regents of the University of Michigan. Permission to publish must be obtained from the copyright holder(s).

Preferred Citation:

Black Liberation Army Papers, University of Michigan Library (Special Collections Library)

Collection History
Processing Information:

Heather Norris, 2011


Biography

The Black Liberation Army (BLA) was a Black Nationalist-Marxist organization which largely consisted of former Black Panther Party (BPP) members. The organization operated from 1970-1981. The Black Liberation Army began to strengthen during the collapse of the Black Panther Party. BP Minister of Defense, Huey Newton, began to renounce political violence after his release from prison and expelled member Eldridge Cleaver and his followers, who did not agree with Newton's new views. While Cleaver did not lead the BLA, members were loyal to his ideas at the time. The BLA became known for violent acts including robberies and bombings. The belief of the BLA was that an armed front was necessary in order to fully liberate African Americans. The BLA began to deteriorate around the time of the 1981 Brinks robbery which involved several senior BLA members and resulted in the death of one guard and two police officers.

The principles of the BLA were:

• "That we are anti-capitalist, anti-imperialist, anti-racist and anti-sexist."

• "That we must of necessity strive for the abolishment of these systems and for the institution of Socialistic relationships in which Black people have total and absolute control over their own destiny as a people."

• "That in order to abolish our system of oppression we must utilize the science of class struggle, develop this science as it relates to our unique national condition."

Sources:

The BLA Coordinating Committee, Message to the Black Movement: A Political Statement from the Black Underground

CourtTV Crime Library, Ambush: The Brinks Robbery of 1981


Collection Scope and Content Note

Thomas "Blood" McCreary, a member of the BLA, is the largest series in the Black Liberation Army archive. The correspondence sub-series consist of letters written to or from McCreary ranging in date from 1963-1998. Letters referencing Tupac Shakur can also be found in the correspondence sub-series. Legal is the largest sub-series and is comprised of eight legal cases McCreary was involved in as well as legal documents regarding Tupac Shakur's estate. Legal documents include affidavits, appeals, correspondence with lawyers, statements from McCreary describing prison conditions and trial errors, and a character reference from Bell Gale Chevigny. McCreary's resume, contacts and newspaper clippings are also small sub-series'. The photography sub-series is comprised of three folders which include a photograph of McCreary's graduation from Adelphi University in 1986, the Panther 21 reunion and miscellaneous photographs.

Project Renewal is an organization in New York City with a goal of ending homelessness. McCreary served as a member of the Black History Month Committee for this organization. The Project Renewal sub-series contain documents regarding the planning of a black history month event. The next sub-series is the 25th anniversary of the New York Panther 21 acquittal. On April 2, 1969, 21 members of the Black Panther Party were arrested and charged with conspiracy to blow up the New York Botanical Gardens. McCreary served on the committee to plan the celebration of their acquittal 25 years later. This material includes speaker requests, invitation and flyers. The final sub-series is the 30th anniversary of the Black Panther Party, where McCreary served as a committee member. This material includes meeting minutes, speaker requests and publicity.

Correspondence, 1976-1978 is a series consisting of 5 folders of letters and notes from Black Liberation Army members and range in topic.

The Legal series is comprised of two legal cases. The first is Caban v. United States , dated February 7, 1984. This document is an appeal in a case that involves a man named Salvador Caban who was detained for six day by INS despite being a citizen of the United States. The second is Richard Moore v. FBI, et al. . The documents in this case include exhibit documents as well as a transcript taken during the deposition of Sekou Odinga, a BLA member.

Topical is a series which is separated into 3 sections. Resumes are the first section, which contains the resumes of four people. Next, the Counterintelligence Program section consists of a memorandum describing the background, development and potential offices of the Counterintelligence Program (COINTELPRO), an FBI program which conducted covert and sometimes illegal activities to neutralize numerous political organizations. The final sectuib in the Topical series is titled Reconsolidation and Infrastructure, dated 1996. This includes several documents regarding ways to reconsolidate the structure of the BLA.

Newspaper Clippings, 1969-1997 is a series that largely consists of newspaper clippings covering the arrests of BLA members as well as opinion pieces regarding the organization.

Events consist of seven sections: United African Movement Freedom Retreat, Protests, Fundraisers, Memorials, Campaigns, Lectures, and the 27th Annual African American Parade. The materials range in date from 1970-1995 and include publicity material, clippings and flyers.

The Publications series contains five sections. First, the Black Panther section include various articles from the Black Panther publication ranging from their beliefs to collages and poems. The New York Amsterdam News section is an ad in support of Assata Shakur. "Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996," Public Law 104-132 is dated April 24, 1996 and was signed into law after the Oklahoma City bombing. Newsletters is a section comprised of newsletters from various organizations. Finally, the New Afrikan Journal section consists of Volume 4, Number 1 edition of the journal.

Black Panther Party is the final series in the Black Liberation Army archive and consists of six sections: Articles, "The Black Panther Party Foundation" by Afeni Shakur, Panther film, Questionnaire, Photocopies of photographs and Black Panther Collective. The articles section ranges in topic and are all undated. "The Black Panther Party Foundation" was a brief report written by Afeni Shakur regarding the assembly of the east and west coast Black Panthers in order to preserve the history of the party and conduct formal remembrances of fallen members. Panther , film is a section regarding the 1995 film about the BPP directed by Mario Van Peebles and starring Kadeem Hardison, Courtney Vance and Bokeem Woodbine. The photocopies of photographs sub-series include photographs of BPP Minister of Defense Huey Newton as well as photographs of a "Free Huey" rally. There are also miscellaneous photographs which are undated. The Black Panther Collective was formed in 1994 with the mission to carry on the legacy of the BPP. This sub-series includes correspondence, flyers, rules and regulations and community police patrol documents.

Subject Terms
    Genre Terms:
    • Correspondence.
    • Fliers (printed matter)
    • Legal documents.
    • Newspaper clippings.
    Subjects:
    • Hinds, Lennox S.
    • McCreary, Thomas
    • Odinga, Sekou
    • Shakur, Afeni
    • Shakur, Tupac, 1971-1996
    • African Americans -- Politics and government.
    • Black militant organizations -- United States.
    • Black nationalism -- United States.
    • Marxism.
    • Socialism -- United States.
    Contents List
       Container / Location    Title
     
    Thomas "Blood" McCreary [series]:

    Thomas "Blood" McCreary, a member of the BLA, is the largest series in the Black Liberation Army archive. The correspondence sub-series consist of letters written to or from McCreary ranging in date from 1963-1998. Letters referencing Tupac Shakur can also be found in the correspondence sub-series. Legal is the largest sub-series and is comprised of eight legal cases McCreary was involved in as well as legal documents regarding Tupac Shakur's estate. Legal documents include affidavits, appeals, correspondence with lawyers, statements from McCreary describing prison conditions and trial errors, and a character reference from Bell Gale Chevigny. McCreary's resume, contacts and newspaper clippings are also small sub-series'. The photography sub-series is comprised of three folders which include a photograph of McCreary's graduation from Adelphi University in 1986, the Panther 21 reunion and miscellaneous photographs.

    Project Renewal is an organization in New York City with a goal of ending homelessness. McCreary served as a member of the Black History Month Committee for this organization. The Project Renewal sub-series contain documents regarding the planning of a black history month event. The next sub-series is the 25th anniversary of the New York Panther 21 acquittal. On April 2, 1969, 21 members of the Black Panther Party were arrested and charged with conspiracy to blow up the New York Botanical Gardens. McCreary served on the committee to plan the celebration of their acquittal 25 years later. This material includes speaker requests, invitation and flyers. The final sub-series is the 30th anniversary of the Black Panther Party, where McCreary served as a committee member. This material includes meeting minutes, speaker requests and publicity.

     
    Correspondence [subseries]:
    Mixed Materials   1  
    Undated
    Mixed Materials   1  
    1963
    Mixed Materials   1  
    1969
    Mixed Materials   1  
    1971
    Mixed Materials   1  
    1973
    Mixed Materials   1  
    1974
    Mixed Materials   1  
    1976
    Mixed Materials   1  
    1977
    Mixed Materials   1  
    1978 (3 folders)
    Mixed Materials   1  
    1981
    Mixed Materials   1  
    1996 (3 folders)
    Mixed Materials   1  
    1997
    Mixed Materials   1  
    1998 (3 folders)
    Mixed Materials   1  
    Tupac and Afeni Shakur, 1978, 1998
     
    Legal [subseries]:
    Mixed Materials   1  
    Notes and statements (2 folders),  undated
     
    State of Missouri v. Thomas McCreary
    Mixed Materials   1  
    Missouri State Penitentiary notes,  undated
    Mixed Materials   1  
    Motion for a new trial,  undated
    Mixed Materials   1  
    Supreme Court of Missouri rules of procedure,  January 9, 1967
    Mixed Materials   1  
    Charges,  February 1972
    Mixed Materials   1  
    Sentence and judgment,  September 28, 1972
    Mixed Materials   1  
    Motion for stay of execution,  October 3, 1972
    Mixed Materials   1  
    Motion to appeal,  February 7, 1973
    Mixed Materials   1  
    Motion to proceed,  March 7, 1973
    Mixed Materials   1  
    Dismissal of motion to vacate,  March 26, 1973
    Mixed Materials   1  
    Appeal,  December 18, 1973
    Mixed Materials   1  
    Judgment and conviction,  December 27, 1973
    Mixed Materials   1  
    Motion for forfeiture of appeal bond,  January 15 & 25, 1974
    Mixed Materials   1  
    Circuit court petition,  June 14, 1974
    Mixed Materials   1  
    College registration,  January 2, 1975
    Mixed Materials   1  
    Character reference by Bell Gale Chevigny,  April 16, 1975
    Mixed Materials   1  
    Parole consideration notice,  May 23, 1975
    Mixed Materials   1  
    Appeal transcript extension,  June 18, 1975
    Mixed Materials   1  
    Appeal hearing date notification,  September 5, 1975
    Mixed Materials   1  
    Motion for extension of time to file brief,  February 20, 1976
    Mixed Materials   1  
    Visiting inquiry,  March 11, 1976
    Mixed Materials   1  
    Rejection of correspondence,  March 23, 1976
    Mixed Materials   1  
    Appeal from the circuit court,  August 31, 1976
     
    United States v. Thomas McCreary
    Mixed Materials   1  
    Affidavit,  undated
    Mixed Materials   1  
    Motion to dismiss,  December 26, 1973
    Mixed Materials   1  
    Conditions of bond,  February 7, 1974
    Mixed Materials   1  
    Waiver and consent to rendition,  February 8, 1974
    Mixed Materials   1  
    Order for dismissal,  February 12, 1974
    Mixed Materials   1  
    Court date of preliminary hearing,  February 20, 1974
     
    The People of the State of New York v. Thomas McCreary
    Mixed Materials   1  
    Felony complaint,  December 7, 1979
    Mixed Materials   1  
    Power of attorney,  January 22, 1980
    Mixed Materials   1  
    Correspondence,  February 23, 1980
     
    United States v. Becker, et al.
    Mixed Materials   1  
    Complaint,  January 28, 1981
    Mixed Materials   1  
    Superseding complaint,  February 5, 1981
    Mixed Materials   1  
    Indictment,  February 17, 1981
    Mixed Materials   1  
    Report of the Latent Fingerprint Section Identification Division,  March 6, 1981
    Mixed Materials   1  
    Available discovery items,  March 11, 1981
    Mixed Materials   1  
    Government inquiries,  March 16, 1981
     
    United States v. Thomas McCreary
    Mixed Materials   1  
    Blue Magic escape plan (2 folders),  undated
    Mixed Materials   1  
    Fact sheet,  undated
    Mixed Materials   1  
    Statement of innocence,  undated
    Mixed Materials   1  
    Indictment,  February 2, 1981
    Mixed Materials   1  
    General power of attorney,  February 4, 1981
    Mixed Materials   1  
    Notice of motion,  February 10, 1981
    Mixed Materials   1  
    Affidavit,  February 10, 1981
    Mixed Materials   1  
    Omnibus motions,  February 10, 1981
    Mixed Materials   1  
    Support of motion for discovery,  February 10, 1981
    Mixed Materials   1  
    Discovery and bill of particulars,  February 24, 1981
    Mixed Materials   1  
    Subpoena,  March 2, 1981
    Mixed Materials   1  
    Lennox S. Hinds correspondence,  March 12, 1981
    Mixed Materials   1  
    Certificate of disposition,  March 16, 1981
    Mixed Materials   1  
    Bail fund,  March 17, 1981
    Mixed Materials   1  
    Appeal,  November 4, 1983
    Mixed Materials   1  
    James I. Meyerson correspondence,  November 9, 1984
     
    Thomas McCreary v. John Doe, et al.
    Mixed Materials   1  
    Jury demand,  August 18, 1981
    Mixed Materials   1  
    Summons,  September 16, 1981
    Mixed Materials   1  
    Answer to complaint,  January 8, 1982
    Mixed Materials   1  
    Notice of motion,  February 16, 1982
    Mixed Materials   1  
    Preliminary statement,  February 1982
    Mixed Materials   1  
    Interrogatories and requests for production of documents,  February 22, 1982
    Mixed Materials   1  
    Stipulation for extension of time, February, 1982  February 1982
    Mixed Materials   1  
    Affidavit of James I. Meyerson,  March 12, 1982
    Mixed Materials   1  
    Supplemental memorandum,  March 26, 1982
     
    The Legal Aid Society and Thomas McCreary v. Benjamin Ward
    Mixed Materials   1  
    Respondents' supplemental memorandum,  August 23, 1982
    Mixed Materials   1  
    Respondents' Brief,  September 7, 1983
     
    Thomas McCreary v. John T. Powers, et al.
    Mixed Materials   1  
    James I. Meyerson correspondence,  June 21, 1982
    Mixed Materials   1  
    Jury demand,  September, 1982
    Mixed Materials   1  
    Motion to dismiss transcript,  December 13, 1982
    Mixed Materials   1  
    Entry of judgment,  December 17, 1982
    Mixed Materials   1  
    Judgment,  December 21, 1982
    Mixed Materials   1  
    Declaration of R. Lindley Devecchio,  February 3, 1984
    Mixed Materials   1  
    Declaration of Michael J. Henehan,  February 6, 1984
    Mixed Materials   1  
    Notice of motion,  February 10, 1984
    Mixed Materials   1  
    James I. Meyerson correspondence,  February 10, 1984
    Mixed Materials   1  
    Motion for summary judgment,  February 16, 1984
    Mixed Materials   1  
    Opposition to the motion of the defendant special agents of the FBI and of the United States for summary judgment dismissing the action (2 folders),  May 11, 1984
    Mixed Materials   1  
    James I. Meyerson correspondence,  May 20, 1984
    Mixed Materials   1  
    Plaintiff's supplemental memorandum,  May 21, 1984
    Mixed Materials   1  
    Supplemental discovery requests,  May 31, 1984
    Mixed Materials   1  
    Additional statement,  June 7, 1984
    Mixed Materials   1  
    James I. Meyerson correspondence,  July 6, 1984
    Mixed Materials   1  
    Reply memorandum in support of defendants' motion for summary judgment,  July 12, 1984
    Mixed Materials   1  
    James I. Meyerson correspondence,  July 17 and 26, 1984
    Mixed Materials   1  
    Affirmation of James I. Meyerson,  November 9, 1984
    Mixed Materials   1  
    Notice of settlement,  January 24, 1985
    Mixed Materials   1  
    Affirmation of Evelyn A. Williams,  March 16, 1985
     
    Tupac Shakur Estate
    Mixed Materials   1  
    Motion for subpoena,  April 14, 1997
    Mixed Materials   1  
    Supplemental affidavit,  April 14, 1997
    Mixed Materials   1  
    Subpoena,  April 17, 1997
     
    Adelphi University, Garden City, NY
    Mixed Materials   1  
    Paralegal generalist certificate,  April 5, 1984
    Mixed Materials   1  
    Class papers, October-December (3 folders),  1985
    Mixed Materials   1  
    Resume,  undated
    Mixed Materials   1  
    Contacts,  undated
    Mixed Materials   1  
    Newspaper clippings (5 folders),  1979-1981
     
    Photographs
    Mixed Materials   1  
    Adelphi University,  May 18, 1986
    Mixed Materials   1  
    Panther 21 reunion,  May 14, 1996
    Mixed Materials   1  
    Miscellaneous,  undated
     
    Project Renewal
    Mixed Materials   1  
    Speaker requests,  January-February, 1996
    Mixed Materials   1  
    Mailing list,  April 17, 1996
    Mixed Materials   1  
    Schedules,  1996-1997
    Mixed Materials   1  
    Correspondence,  November 12, 1997
     
    25th anniversary of the New York Panther 21 acquittal
    Mixed Materials   1  
    Planning committee (2 folders),  1996
    Mixed Materials   1  
    Schomberg Center,  February-March 1996
    Mixed Materials   1  
    Speaker requests,  April 4, 1996
    Mixed Materials   1  
    Invitations,  1996
    Mixed Materials   1  
    Flyers and programs,  1996
    Mixed Materials   1  
    Publicity,  1996
    Mixed Materials   1  
    Open letter to the Panther 21,  undated
     
    30th anniversary of the Black Panther Party
    Mixed Materials   1  
    Correspondence,  1996
    Mixed Materials   1  
    Committee meeting minutes,  September-November, 1996
    Mixed Materials   1  
    Oberia D. Dempsey Center,  September 10, 1996
    Mixed Materials   1  
    Speaker requests,  October 22, 1996
    Mixed Materials   1  
    Publicity,  1996
    Mixed Materials   1  
    Flyers and programs,  1996
     
    Correspondence, 1976-1978 [series]:

    Correspondence, 1976-1978 is a series consisting of 5 folders of letters and notes from Black Liberation Army members and range in topic.

    Mixed Materials   1  
    Undated
    Mixed Materials   1  
    1976
    Mixed Materials   1  
    1977
    Mixed Materials   1  
    1978 (2 folders)
     
    Legal [series]:

    The Legal series is comprised of two legal cases. The first is Caban v. United States , dated February 7, 1984. This document is an appeal in a case that involves a man named Salvador Caban who was detained for six days by INS despite being a citizen of the United States. The second is Richard Moore v. FBI, et al. . The documents in this case include exhibit documents as well as a transcript taken during the deposition of Sekou Odinga, a BLA member.

    Mixed Materials   1  
    Salvador Cuban v. United States,  February 7, 1984
     
    Sekou Odinga
    Mixed Materials   1  
    Deposition in Richard Moore v. FBI et al. (3 folders),  October 20, 1988
     
    Topical [series]:

    Topical is a series which is separated into 3 sections. Resumes are the first section, which contains the resumes of four people. Next, the Counterintelligence Program section consists of a memorandum describing the background, development and potential offices of the Counterintelligence Program (COINTELPRO), an FBI program which conducted covert and sometimes illegal activities to neutralize numerous political organizations. The final sectuib in the Topical series is titled Reconsolidation and Infrastructure, dated 1996. This includes several documents regarding ways to reconsolidate the structure of the BLA.

    Mixed Materials   1  
    Resumes,  undated
    Mixed Materials   1  
    Counterintelligence Program,  August, 1967
    Mixed Materials   1  
    Reconsolidation and Infrastructure,  1996
     
    Newspaper Clippings, 1969-1997 [series]:

    Newspaper Clippings, 1969-1997 is a series that largely consists of newspaper clippings covering the arrests of BLA members as well as opinion pieces regarding the organization.

    Mixed Materials   2  
    Undated (8 folders)
    Mixed Materials   2  
    1969
    Mixed Materials   2  
    1970
    Mixed Materials   2  
    1971
    Mixed Materials   2  
    1972
    Mixed Materials   2  
    1973 (3 folders)
    Mixed Materials   2  
    1974
    Mixed Materials   2  
    1979
    Mixed Materials   2  
    1981
    Mixed Materials   2  
    1982
    Mixed Materials   2  
    1988-1989
    Mixed Materials   2  
    1990-1991
    Mixed Materials   2  
    1996
    Mixed Materials   2  
    1997
     
    Events [series]:

    Events consist of seven sections: United African Movement Freedom Retreat, Protests, Fundraisers, Memorials, Campaigns, Lectures, and the 27th Annual African American Parade. The materials range in date from 1970-1995 and include publicity material, clippings and flyers.

    Mixed Materials   2  
    United African Movement freedom retreat,  undated
     
    Protests
    Mixed Materials   2  
    Black Panther rally,  June 19, 1970
    Mixed Materials   2  
    March for civil rights of Puerto Ricans in the U.S.,  November 1986
    Mixed Materials   2  
    Justice for Anthony Baez,  October 1996
    Mixed Materials   2  
    Fundraisers,  1980, 1991
     
    Memorials
    Mixed Materials   2  
    W. Haywood Burns,  undated
    Mixed Materials   2  
    Timothy Adams,  June 26, 1982
    Mixed Materials   2  
    Lumumba Shakur,  March 14, 1986
    Mixed Materials   2  
    Dr. Betty Shabazz,  June 29, 1997
    Mixed Materials   2  
    Campaigns (2 folders),  1987-1988
    Mixed Materials   2  
    Lectures,  1994-1997
    Mixed Materials   2  
    27th annual African American parade,  September 17, 1995
     
    Publications [series]:

    The Publications series contains five sections. First, the Black Panther section include various articles from the Black Panther publication ranging from their beliefs to collages and poems. The New York Amsterdam News section is an ad in support of Assata Shakur. "Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996," Public Law 104-132 is dated April 24, 1996 and was signed into law after the Oklahoma City bombing. Newsletters is a section comprised of newsletters from various organizations. Finally, the New Afrikan Journal section consists of Volume 4, Number 1 edition of the journal.

    Mixed Materials   2  
    The Black Panther,  1968-1992
    Mixed Materials   2  
    New York Amsterdam News,  January 5, 1980
    Mixed Materials   2  
    "Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996," Public Law 104-132, April 24, 1996 (4 folders)
    Mixed Materials   2  
    Newsletters,  1996-1998
    Mixed Materials   2  
    The New Afrikan Journal,  January-February 1998
     
    Black Panther Party [series]:

    Black Panther Party is the final series in the Black Liberation Army archive and consists of six sections: Articles, "The Black Panther Party Foundation" by Afeni Shakur, Panther film, Questionnaire, Photocopies of photographs and Black Panther Collective. The articles section ranges in topic and are all undated. "The Black Panther Party Foundation" was a brief report written by Afeni Shakur regarding the assembly of the east and west coast Black Panthers in order to preserve the history of the party and conduct formal remembrances of fallen members. Panther , film is a section regarding the 1995 film about the BPP directed by Mario Van Peebles and starring Kadeem Hardison, Courtney Vance and Bokeem Woodbine. The photocopies of photographs sub-series include photographs of BPP Minister of Defense Huey Newton as well as photographs of a "Free Huey" rally. There are also miscellaneous photographs which are undated. The Black Panther Collective was formed in 1994 with the mission to carry on the legacy of the BPP. This sub-series includes correspondence, flyers, rules and regulations and community police patrol documents.

    Mixed Materials   2  
    Articles (4 folders),  undated
    Mixed Materials   2  
    "The Black Panther Party Foundation," by Afeni Shakur,  1987
    Mixed Materials   2  
    Panther film,  1995
    Mixed Materials   2  
    Questionnaire,  1997
     
    Photocopies of photographs
    Mixed Materials   2  
    Huey Newton,  1967-1970
    Mixed Materials   2  
    Miscellaneous (3 folders),  undated
     
    Black Panther Collective
    Mixed Materials   2  
    Correspondence,  1995
    Mixed Materials   2  
    Committee members,  undated
    Mixed Materials   2  
    Flyers,  undated
    Mixed Materials   2  
    Rules and regulations,  1995
    Mixed Materials   2  
    Community police patrols (2 folders),  1997