The Angola 3
Coalition suffered a tragic loss this Christmas. Althea Francois,
one of Angola 3's earliest supporters and a life-long activist for
peace and social justice, crossed over to the ancestors on December
25th at the far too early age of 60.
Althea spent her life actively engaged in the struggle for justice,
starting with her involvement in the Black Panther Party, where she
began her efforts to help political, economic and racial prisoners.
She embodied the finest and most basic ideals of empathy and
generosity and inspired all of us that had the privilege of coming
in contact with her.
As Angola 3 member Robert King struggled to find words to express
the depth of his sorrow, he invoked the biblical
reference..."I was hungry and you fed me, was thirsty and you
gave me drink, was in prison and you visited me. Althea fed us with
hope. She had an enormously giving spirit that we will all deeply
In the late '90's, Althea and Marion Brown, together with Malik and
Mwalimu, Shana and Brice, Anita Yesheaux, Vicky Wallace, and Ed
(Alton Edwards), solidly grounded the efforts to free the Angola 3
and create a base for political prisoner work in New Orleans. When
King was released in February of 2001, he moved to the home that
Althea and Marion were staying in on Bartholomew St. in the 9th
Ward. For the first few years of visiting the prison and organizing
the effort, Althea's home was the base that all of us worked from.
There was always food and room for another mat on the floor.
Althea was finally able to purchase a home-base for her daughters
and grandchildren in the Gentilly area of New Orleans. Katrina
ripped apart the security she had at long last established and the
years since 2005 were a tense balancing act between work in
Atlanta, work in New Orleans, her children and her grandchildren.
Though Al rarely complained, she was beset with a number of
crippling maladies- asthma, high-blood pressure and the incessant
pressure of keeping a family together in these difficult times with
never enough support.
She loved her daughters with the ferocity of a lioness and was so
proud of their accomplishments. They were the center of her being
and I know that what would worry her most now is the pain they will
feel at her loss.
Sadly, Althea had no insurance and no savings, thus leaving her
daughters not only with the grief of losing her, but with the
challenge of raising funds for her funeral.If you can help with a
donation to the family, please send what you can to defray the
funeral costs to:
Rhodes Funeral Home
3933 Washington Avenue
New Orleans, LA
c/o Todd Taylor
7704 Benjamin St.
New Orleans, LA70118
The Service will be Saturday, January 2, 2010 at 10AM at Rhodes
Additional information will be posted as received.
--View the photo presentation from Althea's January, 2009
birthday party here. Al
loved her some Nina Simone.We've included two selections for you to
listen to: Trouble in
Mind and Just Like A