Founder of the domestic terrorist group the Symbionese Liberation Army
Killed in a 1974 shootout with Los Angeles police
Born in Cleveland, Ohio in 1943, Donald “Cinque Mtume” DeFreeze founded the Symbionese Liberation Army (SLA), a 1970s domestic terror group that gained fame by kidnapping heiress Patty Hearst.
Prior to forming the SLA, DeFreeze had been in and out of prison since he was 16 years old -- on charges that included robbery, assault, and rape. During his incarceration, he became involved with the Black Cultural Association -- an inmate “tutoring” program in a Vacaville, California state prison -- which ultimately put him in touch with other founding members of the SLA.
In 1973 DeFreeze drafted the SLA manifesto, titled “The Symbionese Federation & the Symbionese Liberation Army Declaration of Revolutionary War & the Symbionese Program.” In this document, he wrote: “The Symbionese Federation and The Symbionese Liberation Army is a united and federated grouping of members of different races and people and socialistic political parties of the oppressed people of The Fascist United States of America, who have, under black and minority leadership, formed and joined The Symbionese Federated Republic and have agreed to struggle together in behalf of all their people and races and political parties’ interest in the gaining of Freedom and Self Determination and Independence for all their people and races.”
On May 17, 1974, DeFreeze and five of his SLA accomplices were killed in a shootout with Los Angeles police.
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