PROMISES MADE – PROMISES KEPT
Of the 105 gangs in Philadelphia in 1974, 80 pledged peace. This break through came at a gang conference held at 1810 Ridge Ave. 500 gang members attended the conference. They pledged allegiance to the conference slogan ‘No Gang War In 74’. Prior to this agreement Philadelphia history was filled with broken agreements and dead bodies.
Prior to the conference there were 44 deaths in 1973. There were 43 deaths in 1972. The agreed ceasefire labeled “THE IMANI PACT”, authored by David Fattah, set the standard and the goal. It was generally agreed on that anyone violating this agreement would be considered an out cast. Support for this agreement came from the Alliance of Black Social Workers, the Guardian Civic League, the Urban Coalition and many others.
At this time the major black leaders in Philadelphia were State Rep. David P. Richardson, Rev. Leon Sullivan, Father Paul Washington, Rep. Hardy Williams, Councilwoman Dr. Ethel Allen and Rev. Muhammad Kenyatta. However, the major black leadership, for the support of the Imani Pledge, came from inmates in Philadelphia prisons. They were incarcerated at Camp Hill, Cornwell Heights, the House of Corrections, the House of Detention, Forestry Camps and the Philadelphia Youth Development Center. These inmates composed of gang members, assisted House of Umoja volunteers in planning and implementation of the conference.
Later support came from an unusual source, namely Gov. Milton J. Shapp, who on February 9, 1974 proclaimed Black Youth Day and ordered the picture of Queen Mother Falaka Fattah to be placed in every state store in Philadelphia. At that time 98% of the gangs were at peace, but the 2% that weren’t, grabbed all of the headlines.
January 1, 2014 will mark 40 years since the gangs pledged peace. It is the purpose of the House of Umoja to acknowledge the accomplishments of former gang members for keeping their word for 40 years and bringing healing to our community.
We plan on featuring them in our 45th Anniversary Edition of UMOJA Magazine in a section “Where Are They Now?” To do this, we need researchers, writers and photographers. The deadline for editorial and ad copy is Nov. 30, 2013; publication date is Dec. 20, 2013. The magazine will be distributed nationally during the holiday season up to the end of Black History month 2014.
We would appreciate your support for this project. Please get in touch.
Queen Mother Falaka Fattah
“No Gang War In ’74 Conference Coordinator
5625 Master Street
Philadelphia, PA 19131