Most people who use Google don't dig very far beyond the first 10 hits on a search, but it's amazing what turns up on page 4, 6, 27...
Somebody named Frank Sam Early, whose uncommon name is exactly the same as that of a convicted crackhead who died in a North Minneapolis car shooting, sent a letter from Stateville prison to a Black Panther newspaper in 1974 or 1975. The subject of the letter was, more or less, measures the prison authorities were taking which Frank Sam Early thought were oppressive.
A commentary and excerpts from the letter were published. The Black Panther publication in which the article about the letter appeared has been preserved online by a site called Negro Artist Dot Com. Though (frustratingly) there is no date on the preserved document, it can be narrowed down to circa 1974 or 1975 because it features an article about Archie Griffin winning the Heisman Trophy...which happened in both 1974 and 1975.
I am reproducing the article about the letter here. The question I have is...
Is this just an odd name coincidence? Or is this "other" Frank Sam Early the namesake and father of the guy who was recently killed in a North Minneapolis car shooting? After a lifetime of drug addiction and legal trouble?
STATEVILLE INMATES PROTEST INSTALLATION OF TEAR AND VOMIT GAS IN CELLBLOCK
(Joliet, Ill.) -- Authorities at Stateville prison here have recently installed 64 cannisters of "tear gas mixed with vomit gas" in a segregation unit housing 200 inmates -- 90 per cent of whom are Black. According to the prison doctor, J. Venkus, that is enought gas to suffocate and kill any person suffering from an asthma condition.
THE BLACK PANTHER has recently received a letter from Brother Frank Sam Early, an inmate at Stateville prison, which describes these newest tool of terrorism employed by prison authorities against progressive Stateville inmates. The following is an excerpt of Brother Early's letter:
"This communication is being directed to the BPP'S attention as a request for information and assistance in our struggle here at the Stateville Prison Segregation Unit.
"The amount of cannisters installed is 64. The cell house is 400 feet long, and 100 feet in height, and the section through the cell block is approximately 14 feet in width.
"We, prisoners of the segregation unit, which is 90 per cent Black, are forced to sleep under the threat of such gasses discharging. There are four other cell houses within the prison, and none of them had such an excessive amount of gas installed.
"Several of us prisoners here in the segregation unit deem the installment of such dangerous gasses as total disregard of prisoners who have respiratory ailments and heart ailments. It also constitutes a gross violation of our so-called 14th Amendment rights, and violation of the state of Illinois constitution, Article XI, Section 2 -- the right of citizens to live under a `healthful environment.'"
"The installment of the gas appears to be a `deliberate genocidal plot' by the Illinois Department of Corrections director, Allyn R. Sielaff, to destroy the so-called militant prisoners and political prisoners that the segregation unit houses!
"It is a `bureaucratic genocide plot,' perpetrated by the Illinois officials against the Black prisoners at the tax expense of our own Black people in the state of Illinois. We request the BPP to advise the community about it…"
The same Black Panther publication then went on to say the prisoners had recently started a publication called "The Spark of Unity" and this was pretty much why the authorities were alarmed.
It's not stated whether Frank Sam Early was involved with The Spark Of Unity.