HOUSTON – Marcus Garvey once stated that “Leadership means everything, pain, blood and death.” If anyone can attest to the sentiments expressed by Garvey, then certainly Leader of the New Black Panther Party, Quanell X, can. For he has seen pain, blood and death as it relates to injustices that have plagued the African-American community for years on all sides of the fence. From his own personal experience as well as outreaches, from family members of victims that have had encounters with police officials, Quanell has vigorously and consistently provided a voice to those whose voices were not heard loud and clear by their own persuasions. However, his destination to attain such a platform did not come without these three elements: pain, blood and death.
Quanell X was born Quanell Ralph Evans in the infamous celebrity culture and second largest city in the nation known as, Los Angeles, California in 1970. His mother moved to Houston’s South Acres when Quanell and his brother were just lads. His grandmother was primarily responsible for raising him. He attended Worthing High School during his adolescent years. Nonetheless, being the product of a single parent environment by choice of his mother, Quanell soon found himself wrapped up with the influences that plague young men across the country in predominately Black neighborhoods. As a teenager, he saw first hand the ill-treatment of Black men within the judicial system when he was arrested for peddling drugs. From his experience, he came to the conclusion that the “system” that was designed to serve and protect its’ citizens were targeting Black men for harassment. This factor did not sit well with him even as a young man and he vowed within himself to make a personal commitment to change those odds.
As life has the tendency to allow people to cross paths with other influential characters, so became the introduction to a life of activism for Quanell; when he took out time to attend a speech delivered by the leader of the Nation of Islam, Minister Louis Farrakhan, at the Sam Houston Coliseum. It was from this episode that Quanell took to the Nation of Islam and became a student of its’ teachings. He was a student of the Minister Robert Muhammad. Hence Quanell X emerged! He was apprised of the world as viewed by the Nation of Islam, which opened his eyes to many issues that he had not readily been made aware of previously. It was not much long after his affiliation with Minister Farrakhan that Quanell soared through the ranks and became a national youth minister for the Nation of Islam. Soon after, he developed a reputation from his roles as a speaker, rapper and writer that would establish him years later as a true voice for the African-American people. His charisma, demeanor, stance and gift of gab all served as compliments that made it easy for members of the Black community to follow him and believe in what he stood for.
In July of 1992, Quanell had the burdensome task of finding his youngera brother Quinten Evans dead in his apartment. He was one of four men that were found with bullets to their heads. Although it took nearly two decades, three men were charged with capital murder in connection with their deaths. Not long after his brother’s killing, Quanell met Representative Ron Wilson, a Democrat in the city. After being asked to speak by Representative Wilson, a relationship was built and he began working as an administrative aide. This position gave Quanell a glance at how the internal part of the “system”works. At which point, he knew that he would best serve the public as an activist.
Having a vision to organize his own cause for young Black men, Quanell eventually departed from the Nation of Islam and sought to dedicate his time to pioneer Mental Freedom Obtains Independence (MFOI). This organization was one that was engineered to provide African-American men the tools, knowledge and power to “combat police brutality and other manifestations of White oppression.” Their main goal was to highlight incidents of police brutality caught on film by the video cameras they carried.
After toiling with this organization for a while, Quanell began a journey with Khalid Abdul Muhammad, a former member of the Nation of Islam as well. He became one of the top lieutenants for the New Black Panther Party under Muhammad. Since then, he has become the primary leader of the New Black Panther Party in Houston and also works closely with the Nation of Islam’s chapter in the city. Together these powerful forces rise to the occasion any and every time injustices are imposed upon members of the African-American society.
Undoubtably, Quanell’s role in activism has ruffled many feathers of his White counterparts and has not made him very many allies. Nevertheless, his persona is one that demands respect and attention every time he steps on the scene. A position that has labeled and classified him as an “Activist that Fights for Us” for members all over the African-American community. From mayors, to city council members, to police officials, to television commentators and many branches in between; Quanell has boisterously spoke out against the discriminations and unbalances that continue to invade the Black community. He has suffered vicariously for the causes that he believes in and has endured arrests as a result of the battle that he continues to fight for. Nevertheless, he chooses to turn each stumbling block into a stepping stone, which yields him with even more momentum to tackle the next time that he is called for duty.
An attempt to list all of Quanell’s accomplishments and involvements in one simple article would be a true injustice to his fight for equality, as one edition could not contain all of his efforts and works. Howbeit, there are several cases that he has been a part of that through his affiliation, greater success has been achieved by his mere presence. In 1999, Quanell and a gallery of supporters and followers interrupted the proceedings of John William King, who was on trial for the brutal killing of James Byrd, Jr. in 1998. Nine years later, he was a key player in the murder investigation of Tynesha Stewart, a student of Texas A&M University. He was able to secure a confession from Timothy Wayne Shepherd, who was convicted of murdering Stewart. The very next year, Quanell was found once again in the spotlight for demanding the resignation of Chuck Rosenthal. Rosenthal was involved in an email scandal that exhibited racist messages about members of the Black community. Quanell led a protest outside of the courthouse. He was also an integral part in the search for the missing children of Randy Sylvester, Sr. He was able to convince Sylvester to lead him to the location of his missing children, which ultimately uncovered the gruesome discovery of their burned remains.
Quanell was also on the scene with protesters following the acquittal of George Zimmerman, who unlawfully gunned down 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida. Quanell and his entourage blocked Texas State Highway 288 to show the outrage of the Houston African-American community against the verdict. Numerous other accounts of Quanell standing at the fore-front of inequality exists, and he is always at the beckoning call of those that need an“Activist that Fights for Us” to state the least.
Concluding, Quanell’s comments reveal a brief insight into the thought that he is in no shape, form or fashion tired of fighting for his people. By his own admission he stated, “My commitment to seeking justice has brought many families with heartaches some comfort. I stand devoted and steadfast to my mission to bring the scales of justice to an equal balance for all.”