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John Griffin

  Mr. Griffin has been incarcerated for 40 years and has college degrees in both Human Services and Marketing.  In 2002, he self published an auto-biography entitled, A Letter to My Father,” a revealing account of a son’s personal memories to his deceased father about the love and strength of their family.  He shares his experiences of growing up in Philadelphia, PA, surrounded by racial images while trying to find his place in a struggle for social equality during the 1960's. His search leads him to the black nationalist ideology of the Nation of Islam, community activism, and crime.

  In the early 70's, he was arrested, charged, and convicted of one of the most heinous crimes ever committed.  The case became known as the Washington, D.C. Hanafi Muslim Murders, and although he would eventually be acquitted, he still found himself trapped in, and swallowed up by a repressive, and counterproductive prison system.

  As the result of governmental manipulations, he was convicted in the jail-house murder of a government informant, and left to deal with the harsh and brutal realities of prison life.  While desperately trying to maintain a positive relationship with his wife and children, he educated himself, helped to establish literacy programs for other prisoners, became a teacher and involved himself in the fight for prison reform.

  Mr. Griffin has been writing since childhood and has published a poetry short fiction booklet, “Inside/Out,” a literary magazine, “Images,” and “Legacy,” a book of poems. He has taught paragraph writing classes to assist younger inmates in earning their GED and was one of the founders of a project known as The Prison Literacy Project and participated in designing and writing its well-documented Handbook and Newsletter.

  In his auto-biography, the author acknowledges personal responsibility for how his life turns out.  He also reveals society’s role in arresting the economic, social and political development of black people in America.  Through the eyes of a young black, fatherless male, he expresses the frustrations he felt as a member of an outcast minority, who after realizing history’s lie, sets out to deal with it in a world full of confused and misguided concepts.

  In 2010, he self-published a sensational murder mystery entitled, Screams From the Coffin.  In January 2015, GC Worldwide (Gangster Chronicles) will publish a fictional account of his life, while in the Nation of Islam, entitled, Sequence of Protocol. Another intriguing mystery novel entitled, First Shot Fired, will be published in April, 2015.

Wayne  “Akbar”  Pray

  The transformation of a caterpillar to a butterfly is one of natures’ most miraculous and wonderful occurrences. The caterpillars desire to “become,” motivates its every move, from the first stage to the last. It can be said that the trans- formation of a man, can also be likened to this phenomenon. In the case of Wayne “Akbar” Pray, the changes he has experienced, from Brick City street hustler, to respected author and business man- can be considered no less.

  Hailing from Newark, NJ- Pray rose from the ranks of ordinary street hustler to “kingpin” status during his career in street business. He indulged in all of the familiar trappings of the game; exotic cars, cash, women and fineries of all kinds. Considered to have had one of the most lucrative drug organizations in New Jersey history, Akbar’s reach imposed itself from California to Florida- touching several states between.

  June 21st, 1988 began the first stage of Akbar’s transformation. He was arrested by Federal Authorities, accused of leading an organized cocaine and marijuana trafficking enterprise. His 7 month trial consisted of the testimony of 126 “document” witnesses, comprised of hotel staff, car salesmen and retail clothing store employees; all solicited to testify to Akbar’s extravagant spending and lifestyle, as part of the prosecution’s “substantial wealth” case against him. This ideology behind the case was that Akbar made and spent copious amounts of money, which could not be “accounted for”.

  Currently in his 21st year of a life sentence, Akbar has shed the shell of his past; emerging as a wise, educated leader. While continuing to fight for his own freedom, Akbar takes the time to be an example and an inspiration to those around him. He has become an accomplished author, penning such cautionary tales as “Death of the Game”, warning youth of the detrimental realities associated with the street life. He is also a regular contributor to Don Diva magazine, and has co-authored the book “The Street Chronicles” with Nikki Turner. “Akbar Speaks” invaded the mixed tape circuit- and allowed Akbar’s voice to be heard via a medium relevant to today’s youth.

  Akbar continues to establish himself as a leader and role model. His foundation, Akbar Pray Foundation For Change (APFFC), is dedicated to re directing the lives of at-risk urban youth. The organization embodies a “We are the solution to our own problems.” mantra, and receives mentorship support from entertainers, community leaders and residents alike. Akbar’s accomplishments, both on the street and behind bars, make him more than qualified for his position as Editor in Chief of Gangster Chronicles. Respected and revered as a street legend and talented writer, Akbar Pray continues to “become”.

Linwood  “Rudy”  Williams

Along with two dozen alleged “co –conspirators”, on April 17,1990, Linwood Rudy Williams was arrested by what seemed to be an army of Federal agents and Baltimore City policemen, and charged with a plethora of crimes- the heaviest of which was the status of “Super Kingpin”, stature 21 U.S.C 848 (B)  30 kilograms of heroin, or ten million dollars.

     In the ensuing media frenzy surrounding the arrest and subsequent trial and sentence two years later, Rudy was compared to pop culture icons ranging from Al Capone to Robin Hood.  At the trial, the United States contended that Rudy led a vast drug conspiracy which spanned from Baltimore to Rome, Nigeria, Brazil, Washington and Israel. While he beat the “King Pin” count, Rudy was found guilty on 8 counts of a 36 count indictment.

     In January 1992, the presiding judge hypocritically stated, “The pity of it is that Mr. Linwood Rudolph Williams has tremendous ability. He has tremendous brain power, organizational ability and he has charisma.  But he has used it, unfortunately, in all the wrong way. He made himself into some sort of folk hero.”  For his refusal to bow down to the fury of the United States, Rudy was sentenced to life plus 130 years in prison. During 20 years of incarceration, Rudy has devoted all of his time to reading, writing and teaching youth that crime, specifically the dope game, is a genocidal trap and that they can be much more successful in channeling their talents and energies into legitimate fields such as writing, fashion, music, film, etc. Rudy’s motto is: For every person I help to win, I win. And for one of us to get respect we all must get respect- Unity. Those who think they can make it alone, O.J., Michael Jackson, Tiger Woods, etc, will eventually get shot down after the United States has used them up.

“We must forget our petty differences, and come together for our mutual survival” -Rudy

Solomon  “Chessmon” Mantague

   In July 1997, Solomon Montague was charged in two counts. Count 1, conspiracy to distribute multiple kilograms of cocaine base, and count 16- possession with the intent to distribute 2.3 grams of cocaine base. He was found guilty on both counts, and sentenced to life plus 30 years in federal prison.

   It was alleged that the conspiracy involved members of the ViceLord street gang, with Montague being one of its core leaders. The conspiracy started in Rockford, Illinois- with Montague coming in from Chicago with the rank of “Five Star Elite”.  To this the Feds licked their greedy lips, and cast their vicious web. In apprehending Montague, they claimed that he brought Chicago-style violence to Rockford. It was also alleged that the group:

-Robbed and extorted drug dealers

- Possessed and used fire arms in their protection and pursuit of furthering the objectives of the conspiracy.

- Used coded language in their communication as to avoid detection and apprehension by law enforcement.

  1. -Used surveillance and counter surveillance techniques to evade authorities and provide protection to members.

  Today Montague has since retired from the organization. He considers himself an expert in “gang affiliation” due to his 30 plus years of experience. His main objective is to reach the “gang culture” through the messages in his novels- helping them change their lives for the better.

Michael  “Harry O”  Harris

  Admittedly a major cocaine dealer, in 1987 Michael “Harry O” Harris was charged with narcotics distribution and attempted murder. Now, after serving 17 years in at least five other state prisons, Harris has been at San Quentin Prison since 2005. However, Michael Harris should hardly be an incarcerated drug lord. He should be running Entertainment Weekly- or perhaps Mayor of Los Angeles. Because before his fall in ‘87, Harris produced plays and helped launch the careers of such high profile actors as Denzel Washington and Jada Pinkett amongst others. Before Tyler Perry, Michael Harris was an entertainment visionary who invested his own money into African-American centered talent and entertainment.

  Additionally, Harris invested in and managed more than a dozen legitimately operated businesses before his drug arrest. Before he reached the age of 30, he amassed an empire that included more than a dozen high end businesses. Among the businesses he owned and operated were a 20-fleet limousine service, a Beverly Hills hair salon, a dealership selling exotic cars, a delicatessen, a construction company, a commercial production company and an entertainment company.

  Harris also maintains that he invested $1.5 million in working capital for a half stake in an entertainment corporation called GF Entertainment, which would include a record division called Death Row. Harris said he financed the company primarily because Knight had promised that Death Row’s music would be produced by Andre “Dr. Dre” Young, a co-founder of the hit rap act NWA- and one of the nation’s most respected record producers.

  Harris says he spoke frequently by phone in late 1991 to Knight and Young as they were assembling tracks for Young’s “Chronic” album, which was to be the label’s debut release. State records indicate that Knight visited Harris at the California Correctional Institution in Tehachapi nearly two dozen times over the next 18 months.

  State records indicate that Harris’ wife and Kenner filed incorporation papers in May 1992 to establish a firm called GFE Inc., which stands for Godfather Entertainment Inc. By that November, Harris says, he learned that Knight and Young had cut a deal behind his back with Interscope Records, which subsequently released Death Row’s debut album and a string of other multimillion-selling hits.

  Michael Harris has hardly allowed the challenges and disappointments he has experienced discourage him to defeat. Conversely, since his incarceration he has accomplished both professional and personal success in San Quentin. He is managing editor of the San Quentin News, an author, and has founded and co-founded several self help programs for prisoners.

  A talented business mind and mentor, Michael “Harry O” Harris has been living the consequences of his participation in the dope game for more than twenty years. Beyond the physical restraint of his incarceration, he lives with the lament of having contributed to the destruction of the community. Subsequently, he is sincere in his concern for the welfare and education of its children, and committed to facilitating positive change.

Marvin  “Big Marv”  Ellison 

  Having grown up in Brick City, in his youth- Ellison was hardly the picture of brutality. Frail and asthmatic, he was not feared for his size and strength, rather- his fierce street savvy and notorious gang affiliation. After being chosen as a protégé by the neighborhood gang leader, Marvin assimilated to the life of a ruthless outlaw- on trial for murder by age 19. In this case, he was charged with manslaughter- and served the first of his extended prison sentences.

  In a separate case, Ellison maxed out on two 25 year concurrent sentences for murder in 1998. He is currently serving time for an attempted prison break in 1980. His life story is the type of fantastic reality that action movies and rap lyrics are based on. Gang activity, murder, kidnapping, jail breaks and decades of incarceration all make up his criminal resume. However- it is his self education and determination to educate youth against ignorance- that are the most admirable of his current attributes. 

  As a contributor for Gangster Chronicles, Ellison is one of the most dynamic writers on the roster.  His education is apparent in his work- as he sites source after source, re enforcing the legitimacy of his knowledge base. Marvin Ellison has spent the last 2 decades immersed in self improvement and re direction.  And for all of his efforts, he could easily be considered a serious representation of educated opinion- and positivity in the face of adversity.