Me and the African People’s Socialist Party – interview with Nyindu Nyungusha, founding member

The African People’s Socialist Party (APSP) was founded in 1972 with the merging of three Florida-based, Black Liberation organizations. These organizations were St. Petersburg-based Junta of Militant Organizations (JOMO) founded by Chairman Omali Yeshitela, the Gainesville-based Black Studies Group led by Katura Carey and the Fort Myers-based Black Rights Fighters led by Lawrence Mann (who was assassinated shortly after the Party’s founding).

Comrade Nyindu Nyungusha, formerly known as Vince Lawrence, was a member of the Black Rights Fighters and would become a founding member of the APSP. Today, Nyindu is building the Fort Myers Front of the international African Revolution. The Spear was able to conduct an interview with Nyindu to get more insight into what brought him into political life, his history with The Spear for which he’s been an esteemed photographer since the Party’s founding and the situation for African people in Fort Myers today.

Uhuru, comrade Nyindu! So how did you first come into political life?

It might have all started with Charlotte Summers, my grandmother–everyone used to call her Ms. Charlotte. She didn’t take any mess from nobody and I grew up around that. She’s the first person to really tell me to fight for myself and not let anybody mess with you. Because of what she taught me, I grew up and had a real attitude about how black people were being messed with.

I hated to see it and knew that something had to be done about it. As the Black Rights Fighters, Lawrence Mann and I had offices throughout Fort Myers and we’d help the people with problems that needed solving. Lawrence had also worked with the Florida Rural Legal Services (a non-profit that gave civil legal assistance to working class and elderly people in the area) to get connected to people we could organize. At one point, we founded the newspaper The Ebony Star and it was through looking for places to print the paper that we first came in contact with the Chairman and JOMO.

We understood what the Chairman was saying and appreciated what he was saying. While everyone around us was selling out, the Chairman was sticking out.

Nyindu doing door-to-door outreach, handing out Uhuru Movement literature, getting contacts and and keeping the people informed with the latest issue of The Burning Spear. PHOTO: THE BURNING SPEAR

You have been a photographer for The Burning Spear newspaper since the Party’s founding. Going through old issues of The Spear, one will see that many iconic images from throughout the Party’s history have your signature in the corner. How did you come to be a revolutionary photographer for The Spear?

Well this goes back to Lawrence Mann and the creation of The Ebony Star. Now Lawrence was always a very outspoken person. However he felt about you, he’d tell you. He was a very articulate writer as well. Lawrence had asked me to help him out with putting it together. I remember he’d do the writing and then he’d show me how to do the layout and everything. At one point, he goes “Well, now all I need is a photographer.” I said, “That’s great, well I hope you find one”.

He looked up at me and said “I did find one—you!.” I said, “Well hold up now, I just said I was coming around to help” and he said “and that’s how you can help comrade.”

And that was that. I’ve been taking photos ever since and not just taking snapshots but using photos to tell a story. It’s been an honor to take photos for The Spear.

What would you say is the situation right now for Africans in Fort Myers?

I think it’s about like it is anywhere else. We’re being treated wrong. You’ll have some sellouts claiming everything is all good but the reality is that African people are on the bottom of the totem pole like everywhere else.

You got a street named “Martin Luther King,” they have a bus terminal named after Rosa Parks, they have all this symbolic stuff but when it comes down to substance, African people have nothing in Fort Myers. The only thing we do have here is the Party and that’s why we need to build. We have a history here, now all we gotta do is build on that to make the future.

Complete the Black Revolution of the 60s! Join the African People’s Socialist Party at!

Ralph’s Designer Cuts is another Fort Myers based barbershop that consistently carries The Spear. Support these businesses that support the African Revolution! PHOTO: THE BURNING SPEAR


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