Episode #119: Russia releases Griner; Biden called to release Africans still in U.S. penal colonies on marijuana charges
In this episode, we talk with Angelika Mueller-Rowry about her husband, Robert Rowry, an African man who died chained, inhumanely chained to a prison bed in 2014. This story is extremely relevant in conversation with contemporary discussions about mass imprisonment in the US.
On Thursday December 8, 2022, the Women’s National Basketball Association superstar Brittney Griner was released from a Russian penal colony where she had been held for a period of time following her conviction on drug charges.
Upon her release, President Biden spoke of the intolerable prison conditions in Russia. Yet, the cases we chronicle in this episode shows the intolerable and inhumane conditions in the US. In Mississippi, the African man Allen Russell received life in prison for 1.5 ounces of marijuana; a conviction the Mississippi Supreme Court has upheld. Robert Rowry was imprisoned for only a few grams of marijuana and eventually died in prison over $50 of crack cocaine.
In the United Sates, drug sentences commonly become death penalties for African people.
Our guest is Angelika Mueller-Rowry a resident of North St. Louis, Missouri, the wife of Robert Rowry, a working class African man. Robert was a mechanic and a blues musician.
In this episode, Angelika chronicles:
The life of Robert Rowry in North St. Louis
The shifting conditions in his community of North St. Louis following the US counterinsurgency war and the imposition of a drug economy on African communities;
The inhumane conditions that Robert experienced and the circumstances around his death;
Her struggle for justice for Robert and all other incarcerated people.
We will also hear excerpts of two of Robert's blues recordings, James Brown's "It's a Man's World" and Albert King's "I'll Play the Blues for You." In his early years, Robert toured with Albert King.
To support justice for Robert Rowry and people like him, visit missouricure.org.
Black Power Talks is produced by WBPU 96.3 FM "Black Power 96" in St. Petersburg, Florida. It is hosted by Dr. Matsemela Odom and Solyana Bekele, bringing an African Internationalist perspective to the important issues of our world.