Imari Abubakari Obadele was born Richard Bullock Henry in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on May 2, 1930. He and his brother Milton Henry, who would later change his name to Gaidi Obadele, became involved in the Civil Rights movement in Philadelphia before moving to Detroit. He was one of the founders of the Malcolm X Society, which strived to carry on Malcolm X's vision after his assassination in 1965. He was involved in the organization of armed resistance to the police during the 1967 Detroit Riots. In 1968, he changed his name from Richard Henry to Imari Abubakari Obadele. In the same year, he and his brother Gaidi founded the Republic of New Afrika, a black separatist organization devoted to the creation of a separate state in the southern United States. Imari and his brother split of the issue of violence as a legitimate method to achieve their organization's goals. Imari took his supporters to Jackson, Mississippi, where they tried and failed to purchase 18 acres of land from a local farmer. They then seized the land, and were later arrested by the authorities after a shootout that left a police officer dead. Dr. Obadele was indicted for murder, but was later found innocent. In 1972, Obadele was indicted for conspiring to assault an FBI agent and served five years in prison. He earned a Ph.D. in Political Science from Temple University after his release from prison. He spent the rest of his life as an avid supporter of reparations and civil rights.
The Republic of New Afrika was founded on March 31, 1968. It existed mostly as an idea; a separate state in the Deep South that would be a haven for African-Americans. The proposal was that the state be made of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, and all African-American majority counties in neighboring states. It had close ties to the Black Legion, a paramilitary group founded to violently resist oppressive acts against African-Americans. The movement split when Gaidi Obadele, the then leader of the Republic, forsook violence as a legitimate method to achieve the Republic's goals. The organization was effectively destroyed after a shootout with police erupted around the Republic's headquarters in Jackson, Mississippi.
-New York Times, Imari Obadele, Who Fought of Reparations, Dies at 79, printed February 6, 2010, pg. A17, accessed online at http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/06/us/06obadele.html?_r=0 on May 29, 2014