I first (and last) met Reggie Schell at the 2002 Black Panther Party Reunion in Washington, D.C. He was just coming into the building of the University of the District of Columbia where the event was held. I’m sure he hadn’t seen some of those people in years. But he let me, a nobody, grab him immediately and we sat in a stairwell and he let me interview him about Mumia for an hour. I never forgot that powerful act of kindness and dedication.
Viewing/Fu?neral information For Fallen Panther Comrade Reggie Schell
In a message dated 5/9/2012 7:08:51 PM Eastern Daylight Time, firstname.lastname@example.org writes:
Friends our comrade Reggie Schell will be laid to rest on Tuesday May the 15th at Alphonso Funeral Home 2300 block north broad st. near york st.
viewing from 9 to 11 am and service at 11 am.
Messages of Condolences and Encouragement for Family should be sent to the Schell family
1940 W. Cecil B Moore Philadelphia Pa 19121
please pass the word.
Capt. Reggie Schell: Black Panther (1941-2012)
[col. writ. 5/11/12] © ’12 Mumia Abu-Jamal
He was born Richard Reginald Schell, but most people knew him as Reggie, and those who worked with him called him “Cap”–short for Captain, the rank he held in the Philadelphia Branch of the Black Panther Party. He was a patient and wise teacher, and looked out for younger Panthers (Including this writer).
He wasn’t the first, nor the last captain in Philadelphia, but his tenure marked the expansion of the local office, from one storefront on the old Columbia Ave. (now Cecil B. Moore Ave.) to at least 5 offices citywide.
His term of office was one of conflict and confrontation, and during the Rizzo years (under former police commissioner and late city mayor, Frank L. Rizzo) that conflict turned into a shooting
He built the local chapter into an office that was the pride of the state–and the bane of the State. It was late summer, 1970, when city police attacked local Black Panther offices in North Philly, West Philly and Germantown in the wee morning hours.
Panthers shot back.
Panthers were busted citywide, just as BPP offices were raided nationally.
The city raids were designed to deter people from attending the Revolutionary Peoples Constitutional Convention (RPCC), when people, mostly activists, would gather together to write a new revolutionary constitution for a new, revolutionary America.
The raids backfired, for afterwards, support came from all quarters, even those which had previously avoided the Panthers.
But even after the dissolution of the Party, Reggie continued his work by founding the Black United Liberation Front (BULF) composed mostly of local ex-Panthers. The issues were the same, protecting and defending the rights of Black people. Fighting against police brutality, for decent housing, and against the Prison-Industrial-Complex. He worked closely with any group or individual who could help, and had a close and personal working relationship with the late North Phila.-based cleric, Father Paul Washington, long-time rector of the Church of the Advocate.
In later years, even when under the ravages of kidney disease so serious it required weekly dialysis, Reggie Schell was at his post, ignoring his pain, passing out leaflets on C. B. Moore Ave., or painting signs of protest for passersby. Above all things, he loved Black people.
He died as he lived—as a revolutionary, relentless, determined, straight ahead.
Reggie Schell returned to his ancestors on the early hours of May 9, 2012. He was 2 months shy of his 71st birthday.
He is survived by his 4 adult children, Dessalina, Leslie, Marcus and Richard Reginald. He had a dozen grand-children and ½ a dozen great-grands.
Reggie Schell—Capt., Black Panther Party; Founder, Black United Liberation Front; revolutionary—soldier for the Black Nation–will be long remembered!
All Power to the People!
(c) ’12 maj