University of Pittsburgh
March 29, 1999


Contact:  412-624-4147

PITTSBURGH, March 30 -- Elmer Geronimo Pratt will speak about his life as a civil rights leader and political prisoner Friday, April 2 at 8 p.m. in Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall, Oakland. Sponsored by the University of Pittsburgh's Black Action Society and Graduate Student Progressive Action Network, along with the Pennsylvania Committee to Free Mumia Abu-Jamal, the event is free and open to the public.

Accused by the FBI of murdering Santa Monica schoolteacher Caroline Olsen in 1968, Pratt, chairperson of the former Black Panther Party, was convicted and sentenced to 25 years to life in prison. While serving his sentence, Pratt was turned down for parole 16 times. He maintained his innocence throughout the imprisonment and since has been released and cleared of all charges.

In addition to speaking on his civil rights activities and his life as a political prisoner, Pratt will discuss the case of Mumia Abu-Jamal. Abu-Jamal has been on death row for 18 years for the murder in 1981 of a Philadelphia police officer — an accusation that many believe is politically motivated because of his former involvement with the Black Panthers.

For more information about Friday's lecture, call Pitt's Black Action Society at 412-648-7880.

Other upcoming events include a meeting for the defense of Mumia Abu-Jamal Saturday, April 10 at 7:30 p.m., Frick Fine Arts building, University of Pittsburgh, Oakland; and a trip to Philadelphia for the Millions for Mumia rally Saturday, April 24. Call the Western PA Committee to Free Mumia Abu-Jamal at 412-734-8315 for more information.

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