Ruchell “Cinque” Magee Has Joined The Ancestors (1939–2023)

Todd Steven Burroughs
2 min readOct 19, 2023

From The Campaign To Bring Mumia Home:

Ruchell Cinque Magee joined the ancestors Monday night after recently being released after 67 years of being caged!
Ruchell Magee was 84 years old and spent most of his life behind bars. Throughout his sixty-seven years of unjust captivity, Ruchell was one of the first and most consistent prisoners linking mass incarceration and the U.S. prison system to slavery. Ruchell Magee took the name Cinque from the enslaved African Sengbe Pieh who led an 1839 rebellion to commandeer the slave ship La Amistad, arguing that Africans have the right to resist “unlawful” slavery. Ruchell maintained that Black people in the US have the right to resist this new form of slavery which is part of the colonial control of Black people in this country:

“Slavery 400 years ago, slavery today. It’s the same but with a new name.”

“My fight is to expose the entire system, judicial and prison system, a system of slavery…This will cause benefit not just to myself but to all those who at this time are being criminally oppressed or enslaved by this system.”

“You have to deal on your own tactics. You have a right to take up arms to oppose any usurped government, particularly the type of corruption that we have today.” — Ruchell Magee

Ruchell’s life commitment, political stance and writings point to the need for a prison abolitionist movement to seriously address the historical legacy of slavery and slave rebellions in order to truly be in solidarity with the millions of people incarcerated in the US.

May Ruchell Cinque Magee rest in power!



Todd Steven Burroughs

Public Historian, scholar, journalist, author, comicbook geek.