Black Liberation Radio activist is 8 months pregnant!
Mildred Jones, co-founder of Black Liberation Radio (BLR), an unlicensed micropower radio station in Decatur, lL., is currently being held in the Dwight Correctional Facility for Women, a maximum security facility, and risks losing her 3rd child to the State of Illinois if action isn’t taken immediately to free her.
Meanwhile, Napoleon Williams, also of BLR, has been charged with eavesdropping, a felony. He recorded conversations he had with workers in the Dept. of Child and Family Services on the radio about having their children returned to them. Napoleon Williams is out on bail now and has not yet been assigned another court date.
Black Liberation Radio, run out of the house of Napoleon Williams and Mildred Jones, has been on the air since 1990 addressing such issues as poverty, unemployment and police brutality. Decatur.,- a city of 100,000 with four major multinational corporations: Caterpillar, Firestone, Archer Daniels Midland and Staleys is located in Macon County which is Klan country and generally extremely racist. Though 16% of Decatur is African American, BLR is the only radio station where music with black artists and black perspectives can be heard. Napoleon Williams and Mildred Jones have endured a long history of harassment by local and state authorities, including arrests on dubious charges, raids and the removal of their children into foster care.
The latest raid on Napoleon. Mildred’s house took place May 10 when, at the order of the Illinois Attorney General, a SWAT team broke down the front door and took Napoleon and Mildred to jail. Miraculously, the station remains on the air today, but with one founder in prison and the other facing prosecution.
On June 13 Mildred was sent to prison. Mildred is over seven months pregnant and is extremely worried about how the conditions are affecting her unborn child. The nearest hospital is over 20 miles away. There is not even a full-time medical facility on the premises. Rumor has it that the prison has a horrible rate for complications in pregnancy.
She was sentenced to 3 years in prison for a probation violation stemming from a 1995 arrest on a shoplifting charge. Mildred already served time for the original charge. Her original conviction was based on highly questionable circumstances, and key videotape evidence that would have cleared her mysteriously disappeared and therefore could not be presented as evidence.
Mildred and Napoleon’s 2 daughters were taken from them in 1992 and 1993 and are in foster care. The taking of their children by the Department of Child and Family Services seems to be punishment for operating the radio station. They have another young son living somewhere else so as not to be taken into custody as well. The child Mildred is expecting will be taken if born in prison.
Justice has been hard to find in Macon County. Public pressure would be helpful. Activists need to put a spotlight on their situation nationally so Macon County will know that there’s a support system for Napoleon Williams and Mildred Jones and we’re watching.
Flood Governor Jim Edgar and Department of Corrections Transfer Coordinator Diane Jockisch, with letters asking for an independent investigation of Mildred’s and Napoleon’s cases and ask that she AT LEAST be put under house arrest while the case is being investigated. Be sure to mention Mildred’s number, B49044 and that she is in the Dwight women’s prison. Please let Napoleon or Mildred know that you sent a letter by sending them a note or a copy so they will have a sense of what kind of pressure is being exerted. Funds for expenses should be sent to Napoleon. Make checks out to him with a note that its for BLR.
Governor Jim Edgar
Springfield, IL 62706.
1301 Concordia Court
Box 19277-Admin. Building
Springfield, IL 62706
Mildred Jones, B49044
P.O. Box 5001
Dwight, IL 60420
629 E. Center St.
Decatur, IL 62526
Check out the BLR homepage: http://burn. ucsd.edu/~blr