Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Odd Name Coincidence With "Frank Sam Early" (Is This The Father Of North Minneapolis Shooting Victim?)

Stock photo (prison image) and blog post by John Hoff

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?

(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.


Folwell Neighbor said...

While this is a VERY interesting piece of history (seriously, I like reading stuff like that), I'm not sure where you're going with the story. Do I assume correctly that you're suggesting that Frank was brought up in a not-so-good household, which perhaps led to him doing not-so-good things, which perhaps led him to NoMi the other day? Overall I have to say keep up the good work, though this particular post does perplex me a bit. Oh well, no harm, it's an interesting read. Cheers!

Johnny Northside! said...

I guess I am sorta suggesting just that, but I didn't spell it out.

See, if I knew for certain this "Frank Sam Early" (circa 1974) was the father of "our" Frank Sam Early" (died 2011) then I'd go ahead and flat-out suggest what you're suggesting. It's a very obvious conclusion to draw and falls right into the usual social pattern we see with, for example, Malo Gomez.

But since I don't know for sure...it would be like leaping to a conclusion. For now, I am documenting an odd name coincidence which I find interesting and historical.

Anonymous said...

This might be the guy in Illinois.

A defendant stood before a Cook County Criminal Court judge Thursday and pulled out a dead mouse from a bag to decry what he claimed are unsanitary conditions at Cook County Jail.

Frank Early, 53, clutched the rodent by the tail as he appeared before Judge William Hibbler on drug delivery charges.

Some other details at


Anonymous said...

Here is a link pertaining to the deceased. Note he states he is/was from Chicago. Birthdate is listed as Sept 10, 1974, and his inmate number.


Anonymous said...

Additional details of a post sentencing appeal of the Frank Sam Early Habitual violator beginning in the 1960's.

Concerning the older of the two-


It'll cost ya 4.95 to see the whole thing. For free there is a lot to read- according to this there was a wife and a child born prior to 1970. Enough details for free for you to probably be able to do the research and conclusivly determine if there is a relationshiop between the two.

It starts out:

March 17, 1975


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Marshall, District Judge.


On November 10, 1969, petitioner withdrew his plea of not guilty and entered a plea of guilty before Honorable Francis T. Delaney, Circuit Judge, Cook County, Illinois, to four indictments. Three indictments charged him with two counts of armed robbery, one count of aggravated battery and one count of unlawful use of weapons. On motion of the State the fourth indictment charging petitioner with sale of narcotics was reduced without objection to possession of narcotics. As to each count of the indictments the court admonished petitioner as to whether he knowingly and understandingly waived his right to trial by jury or the bench. Each time petitioner answered in the affirmative. The court further admonished petitioner as to the minimum and maximum sentences that could be imposed for each count, and that each sentence could run consecutively. The parties stipulated that a factual basis existed for each plea of guilty.

In aggravation, the State cited previous felony and misdemeanor convictions. In mitigation, defense counsel asked for leniency attributing petitioner's problems to his addiction to drugs which petitioner hoped to cure. Judge Delaney then sentenced petitioner to serve in the Illinois State Penitentiary concurrent terms of not less than nine and not more than ten years for each count of armed robbery, and not less then eight and not more than ten years for aggravated battery, unlawful use of weapons and possession of narcotics. The court then advised petitioner of his right to appeal.

And continues on.

Johnny Northside! said...

Regarding the link pertaining to the deceased...

That's him, all right, and you just threw me enough info to write a blog post. That info is highly likely to disappear off the internet and I'm going to preserve it, like, NOW even though it's Thanksgiving morning and I just came off a double sentry shift.

Please keep digging! Incredibly informative info!

Johnny Northside! said...

Not for publication back channel comment received. Yes, thank you.

Dig. Dig to CHINA, baby.

Johnny Northside! said...

P.S. The $4.95 is not the problem. The problem is most of us soldiers don't trust the local internet server with credit card info.