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Chimba Kambon Omari

(Dewey Alfred Shanks)
July 10, 1941 – Sept. 9, 2011

Chimba Kambon Omari was born in Detroit on July 10, 1941, the only child of Catherine and Dewey Shanks.

Chimba attended Northern High School and graduated from Wilbur Wright High School where he played both basketball and football. He enjoyed all sports including tennis, ice hockey and lacrosse. Chimba often bragged about his younger days at the pool hall and in the boxing ring.

Serving in the United States Army from 1961 to 1964 he received expert rifleman and expert marksman commendations, and was stationed overseas in Mannheim, Germany, earning an honorable discharge.

Chimba was united in Holy matrimony to Jeridean Lewis, and later to Opal “Fabu” Jones. To this latter union his only daughter was born, Kristina K. Omari.

Following employment with the General Motors Corporation Cadillac Plant in Pontiac, Michigan, Chimba was hired by the City of Detroit Mayor’s Office. His work with the city involved such grass-roots programs as the Mayor’s Committee for Human Resources Development (MCHRD) and the Total Action Against Poverty Program (TAAPP) where he first became acquainted with the late Christopher (Chris) Alston. Chimba became a counselor for the “Krakow Gang.” This assignment resulted in new construction now known as the Forest Park Community, an 868-acre housing development (located in Detroit’s near eastside around what was Hastings Street) where Chimba resided until his passing.

He was also a member of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE). Soon after experiencing the 1967 Detroit rebellion, Chimba and several of his close friends organized and implemented numerous community programs — feeding the hungry, methadone reduction distribution, community food co-ops, and a variety of self-published neighborhood newsletters and pamphlets. Chimba, on more than one occasion shared that “the news was so fresh, the ink was still wet.”

Chimba worked very hard and was eventually successful in helping to disassemble the notorious Detroit Police Department’s “S.T.R.E.S.S. Unit,” following the untimely and unfortunate death of Ricardo Buck, a 15-year old boy, murdered in Detroit’s North End.

He was also a member of the “Black Conscience Library,” originally housed on Grand River near Northwestern High School, which made a tremendous impact by informing and activating the community. Chimba prided himself on his ability to challenge our intellect, “break it down” to our understanding, and to bridge between differing perspectives and points of view. Along with Atty. Homer Fox, Judge Ed Euell, Bonnie Rambo, and Chris Alston, he founded the “Peoples Land Use Committee.”

Baba Chimba supported Afrikan centered education as a vital institution for nation building. His door was open to neighborhood children whom he employed to do small chores and errands, and who were paid upon recitation of the “New Afrikan Creed.” He was a teacher and mentor to many cultural young adults, directing their research, study and synthesis of African, African American and world history. He assisted Dr. B. Matthews in founding and operating the Life Force Center for Natural Healing. He also worked and consulted with community leaders like the late Yakini Abubakari, Samuel Ellis (a.k.a. Black Sam), Sundiata Keita and Njoma Omi Yale Miller.

Understanding the imp-ortance of culture to our redemption, Chimba maintained an extensive record collection reflecting his true love for our classical music — John Coltrane, Dizzie Gillespie, Marvin Gaye, and Bob Marley. He amassed a library of books by, for and about Afrikan people throughout history and studied the writings and biographies of our scholars — John Henrik Clarke, Ivan Van Sertima, John Hope Franklin, and Kwame Ture (Stokely Carmichael). He generously provided personal and financial support for various cultural institutions, ceremonies and events.

Chimba was a member of the provisional government of the Republic of New Afrika (RNA) and served as a national judge to the most-high Council under the leadership of the late Dr. Imari Obadele. He was a member of the National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations In America (N’COBRA), and for more than 35 years a member of the Plebispsyche Study Group.

A well-respected authority on African American history and political progress, Chimba also wrote and published numerous position papers, political treatises, cultural and historical documents including Freedom Cannot Be Gagged, Usufructus America, and Jus Posliminii. He was a student of astrology, numerology, psychology and the U.S. Constitution. His was a constant and sincere thirst for knowledge and a commitment to sharing his gifts.

Baba Chimba was a strong warrior and could be intimidating. He was an intelligent and deep thinker. He was strongly opinionated and long-winded. He grew to admit his faults and sought to continue to grow as an Afrikan man and a spiritual being. He was generous and loyal. He fought valiantly to maintain his health and independence, and endured his suffering without complaint.

Chimba Kambon Omari departed this life on Friday morning, Sept. 9. He leaves to cherish his memory: one daughter Kristina Kikiwa Omari; several cousins; and, a host of special friends: Julia Boayue, Booker and Lora Fox, James and Kristin Williams, Dr. Bernard and Rose Thompson-Matthews, Cicero and Adrienne Love, III, Yao and Njia Kaza, Edna Lewis White, Dr. Gloria House (a.k.a. Aneb Kgositsile), Dr. Errol Henderson, Nwalimu Gee, Noni Gee, Shawni, Queen Mother Ayo Hunter- Hogan, Malaika Nsoroma, Anana, Kwabena, and Ayinde Ananda, Uri Heru House, Bo, Glenn Shu Jenkins, Toussaint, Chinyere Neale, Gwen Winston, Paul Taylor, Ed Vaughn, Attorney Chokwe Lumumba, Attorney Jeffrey Edison, Judge Adam Shakoor, Dr. Herb Boyd, Dr. Melba Boyd, Sheron Hill, Sonny Bachelor (a.k.a. Sonnie B), Black James, Charles ‘Chuck,’ Commissioner Bernard Parker, Margaret and Thomas Dickerson, Ama Cindy Owens, Quadell Simmons (a.k.a. Q), Archie Page, Jr. (a.k.a. Tooky), Bokeba and Che Trice, Angel and Cedric and a wealth of comrades, friends and extended family.

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