In the wake of MLK’s assassination on April 4, 1968, uprisings spread like wildfire across America, many led by Black Panthers.
Inspired by their work, a 29-year-old Pete O’Neal formed Kansas City’s Black Panther chapter. And when he did, an instant target was on his back.
1969 saw O’Neal dramatically shift how the Black community in his city dealt with oppression, and this was a threat. It’s no surprise, then, that by year’s end, O’Neal was convicted on what many consider a bogus gun charge.
As O’Neal prepared to fight his case, tragedy struck. Prominent Black Panther Fred Hampton was assassinated in Chicago.
O’Neal immediately knew that, in a system like America’s, he likely wasn’t getting out of prison alive. So he chose to flee the country.
Today, O’Neal is 77. Since 1972, he’s lived in Tanzania with his wife and, for 40 years, he has remained on the FBI’s Most Wanted List. While he can never return to the States, he’s continued his activism in his new home.
He founded the United African Alliance Community Center in 1991, a nonprofit that provides education and resources to his village, including his 21 adopted children.
Even in exile, O’Neal has never wavered in his commitment to Black liberation. If that makes him dangerous, then perhaps we all should be.