Wopashitwe Mondo Eyen we Langa (formerly known as David Rice) has been a political prisoner in the Nebraska State Penitentiary since 1970, when he and fellow Black Panther Ed Poindexter were convicted for the bombing murder of Omaha policeman Larry Minard, and given life sentences. Both have consistently denied any connection with the crime, and Amnesty International, after reviewing the many inconsistencies in the trial transcript, as well as FBI files obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, have called for either a new trial, or immediate release.
He was born in Omaha in 1947, graduated from Creighton Preparatory School and took courses at Creighton University. He wrote for the local underground paper, Buffalo Chip, from 1969 to 1970 and joined the Black Panther party. He was a known member and Minister of Information of the NCCF (National Committe to Combat Fascism). This group consisted of Black Panther members that were working to protect the Black community from police brutality. His political actions were a large part of why he was convicted.
Life in Prison
In prison, he has continued his education, and now in his 60s, is a mentor and exemplar to young inmates just coming into the system. In all the years of his incarceration, he has not committed a single act of violence; he has, in fact, been an exemplary prisoner.
But he is an African-American, and to the authorities, no matter what evidence is presented, he is a “cop-killer.” The Nebraska Pardons Board is made up entirely of elected officials (the Governor, Attorney General and Secretary of State), and election depends on being “tough on crime.”
In the 32 years since his conviction, Mondo has created art, written short stories, poetry and journalism. He had five books of poetry published between 1973 and 1978 and has contributed poems and stories to such literary journals and magazines as Prairie Schooner, The Black Scholar, ARGO, Black American Literary Forum, Shooting Star Quarterly Review, Pacifica Review, Obsidian, Black Books Bulletin and over 30 more. In addition, his poem, “Great Babaleur” was featured in Malcolm X: By Any Means Necessary by Walter Dean Myers (Scholastic, Inc, 1993). Two of Mondo’s plays, Different Dances and We Dance in Our Neighborhood, were performed by Ujima Youtheatre in Nebraska, as well as in New York City.
Mondo is one of several co-authors (including Yosef-ben-Jochannan, John Henrik Clarke, et al) of The Race: Matters Concerning Pan Afrikan History, Culture, and Genocide (Native Sun Publishers, 1992). He is a contributor to Nebraska Voices, the anthology commissioned by the Nebraska Humanities Council in celebration of the sesquicentennial of Nebraska statehood.
“Bongos, Guitars ‘Tools’ of Joyous Mass” by Barry Hanson in Omaha World Herald NewspaperLate 1960’s“Guitars, Tamborines to Accompany Easter Vigil” in Omaha Sun NewspaperLate 1960’s“Ghetto Message” by David Rice in Buffalo Chip Newspaper1968 “Atmospheric Conditions” by Mondo we LangaJuly 16, 2014 “Signs of the Tribes” by Mondo we LangaJuly 16, 2014