Eulogy and poem for Herman Ferguson

i ask my sista in struggle & Love, Pam Africa to come stand with me to hold & squeeze my hand as i work to keep it together.  Pam stood beside me as our Herman took his last breath, it was she who said what i didn’t want to hear & what we know Iyaluua certainly didn’t want to hear that thursday afternoon, september 25th 2014, but here we are on this saturday afternoon, october 4th 2014.  my name is dequi kioni-sadiki & i stand before you as the chair of the Malcolm X Commemoration Committee, the co-coordinator of the Sekou Odinga Defense Committee, member of the nyc Jericho Movement to tell you that Herman Ferguson is the Father my little Black girl self needed growing up in this anti-Black amerikkka, he is the Father i treasure & appreciate as a grown up conscious Black/New Afrikan-Cherokee-Shinnecock womyn struggling against a still anti-Black amerikkka.

Herman Ferguson is the answer to Sonia Sanchez’s question “does your house have lions.” Herman Ferguson, Black man from the south, at home in Jamaica, Queens, Guyana, Rochdale Village, 308, & the Black Nation gave all our houses lions.  He led by example, helped stiffen our resolve, our resistance, our fight back to defend ourselves against state terror & violence “by any means necessary.” Herman Ferguson is courage & wisdom & fearlessness & truth & strength.  He is Love & warmth & guidance & inspiration & laughter.  He is our ’straight no chaser,’ protector & defender of Black people against amerikkka’s storm of racist terrorism, vengeance & murder.  He is husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, great-great grandfather, uncle, friend, confidante, advisor, comrade, co-founder, citizen, chairman emeritus, Revolutionary. Herman Ferguson & his “all the way to the end” wife & partner in struggle, Iyaluua Ferguson, are our Nation Time.

I didn’t know Herman to be a religious man, but his commitment to struggle against oppression & the injustices Black people face embodies the Islamic belief that one has a responsibility & obligation to fight oppression everywhere & anyway they can, whether they sit, stand, spit, write or speak it that we must all engage in the battle against oppression. Herman Ferguson did that & more with us in mind. Even into his 9th decade of living on this side, he remained strong & steadfast with the Black Freedom struggle on his mind.  Sekou said after seeing him for the first time in decades that he thought maybe Herman would have “mellowed” or become ‘less militant’ in his elder years.  Not so! Pam Afrika said that at an event she & others helped to organize just 3 weeks ago at the Ferguson’s request that Herman was as powerful, succinct & with as clear analysis & instructions about which way forward as ever. how i wish i had been there to share in some of his last address to us.

my Beloved Herman Ferguson, i say before all these witnesses you have served the Black nation a million times more in the last 10 years than many others have in the last 30 years.  Even when you & Iyaluua relocated to Holly Springs, you were quick to point out to all of us that you had not retired, you had just relocated. & so it was on that sacred day of your Crossing Over that the Black freedom struggle was still on your mind & in your heart.  As  i leaned into your ear to share the news about Sekou’s upcoming parole hearing, to remind you that we continue on the road of challenging his continued imprisonment in the courts, that Sekou would be coming home soon, that we would not stop fighting for Sundiata & Majid & Mutulu & all our Black/New Afrikan PP/POWs till they all be free, i watched your eye lids flutter & dance in constant motion.  as i shared the outpouring of Love, Prayers & Solidarity messages from those inside & out the prison walls who couldn’t be there as you made your way to the Other Side, my heart & mind were convinced that those deep breathes you took weren’t solely the work of oxygen tank you were attached to, but your acknowledgment that you knew that we knew the work you had dedicated your life to was safe in our keep & would continue. we will carry it on as you have taught & shown us through your life of vision, purpose & struggle.

& so to you, our Beloved Baba Herman Ferguson, i speak your name because you are the Black Liberation Movement, the Republic of New Afrika, the Malcolm X Commemoration Committee, the Jericho Movement for Amnesty & Recognition of u.s. held PP/POWs. Because every time i hear  ”Free the Land” or “Free ‘em all” i will remember these were never just slogans or protest chants for you, these were your warrior food & Spirit source. nothing will ever be the same without your physical presence standing alongside us, not the Dinner Tribute to the Families of our PP/POWs, not any discussion about PP/POWs, not the Pilgrimage to Malcolm’s gravesite, not calling, checking in on or visiting Iyaluua, not writing, visiting or speaking on the telephone to our PPOWs, who always always ask how you & Iyaluua are doing.  Indeed this is the circle of life that has called you elsewhere & we are left to accept that you are there & we are here. i & i’m sure we, will all seek comfort in the cherished memories, lessons & moments each of us shared with you.  mine include you questioning me about my plans to marry Sekou has you told me you would your daughters because i am. how you once looked at a plate of vegan food i’d brought you & said “bring me some food” & how fitting we thought it was when you urinated (not intentionally) on the warden’s car in the Shawangunk parking lot on a visit to Sekou, leaving the prison police force beside themselves with upset & questioning whether they should arrest you or not? When they finally looked at your ID & saw that you really were in your 90s, they “forgave” the incident & allowed you in to see Sekou. I can tell you that Sekou & the brothers inside had a great laugh at that one. Who knows maybe that incident helped sway their transfer of him further upstate. i will also never forget you singing a Ray Charles chorus “i got a womyn” during one of our telephone conversations about Sekou, our mutual Love & respect for each other & the work on his behalf or how you put your hand on my shoulder & said “you did good” following the 19th annual Dinner Tribute when we honored you & Iyaluua for your years of service & sacrifice to us.  I could go on forever recounting the stories & moments that shape the impact you’ve had on my life & the lives of so many, but Karima said i only have 10 minutes.

i say thank you Baba Herman Ferguson. i hope to continue to do good & make you proud of the me that is ever evolving. i know that right now & forever more, you will be soaring across Guyana, Mississippi, Louisiana, Georgia, Alabama, South Carolina, Jamaica, Queens, & yes, Holly Springs, wherever  you are needed strategizing & kicking it with Nat Turner, Harriet Tubman, Malcolm, Yuri Kochiyama, Basir Hameed, Albert Nut Washington, Kuwasi Balagoon, Ida B. Wells, Robert Williams & Coltrane & Miles & Nina about what we are doing, what we need to be doing.  I am expecting to hear your voice often asking me what’s happening & what are we doing in nyc.

i also want to say thank you Mama Iyaluua Ferguson & Michael & Mark & Connie & Jackie & all the Ferguson grandchildren. thank you Karima & Steven & Jarret & Justin & Donovan & Hassan & all the children, grandchildren & great-grandchildren for sharing your great example of Black manhood, your Ferg, your Dad, your Colonel with all of us.  Thank you Nilajah & Paul for not only making your home the Ferguson’s home, but ours too whenever we came to visit them.  Karima said it best: Herman “isn’t just the patriarch of our family, he is the patriarch of the Black nation.” Indeed he is!!! For the Black nation gathered here today & for all those who are near & far away, if you truly want to honor the life, Love & legacy that made Herman Ferguson our Baba, our Freedom Fighter, our Malcolmnite, our former PP/POW, our patriarch, then carry on his work on behalf of our captured freedom fighters, do something to end  their political imprisonment everywhere you go every day, fight for their freedom as it were your own & don’t stop fighting until every one of them is walking on this side of the prison walls.

Long live the history, name & legacy of our Herman Ferguson, an absolutely fierce warrior in the struggle for Black self-determination, justice & Liberation. We are all better off that “Herman Ferguson: An Unlikely Warrior, Evolution of a Revolutionary Black Nationalist” walked with, amongst & committed his life to struggle.

Baba Herman Ferguson, you will always live in my Heart & in my work.

i Love you!!!!

Free the Land!!!

Free all u.s. held PP/POWs!!!

Free ourselves!!!

Herman Ferguson, Presenté

déqui kioni-sadiki, saturday, october 4th, 2014

To Herman

The years have been good. We’ve worked and fought as one.

But now you are called away. Your time here is done.

I know you’re still here. Standing next to me.

Your warmth I feel around me. It’s just your face I can not see.

You are up in the heavens, so far away.

But you will always be in my thoughts,

Each and every day.

You taught me to love life, and to see things through.

But this is one of the hardest things, I will ever do.

I have to let you go, although I don’t want to.

I really have to do it. The Ancestors have a bigger plan for you.

We will all miss you, in many different ways.

But we will be together again, in not so many days.

Now I must let you go, I’ll love you with all my heart.

While you are not here, we will never be apart.

FREE THE LAND!

By Any Means Necessary.

Iyaluua

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