This was the poem our brother Nathaniel Woods left behind which has been published on The North Star:
“Had they and I but met
At some old residence in Ensely
Had they put their badges
Before their criminal affiliations
Claiming to be Law
Claiming to serve and protect
Didn’t forget to call us niggers
White men’s Mentality
Bent on beating my colored life away.
And now, the kith and kin at once start preparing the funerals.
The cries and laments of the sympathizers are over and they are calm now.
The enemies are jubilant.
The kinsmen are busy dividing the estate –
and as for the dead man, he lies entrapped by his own deeds.
Such is the reality of mortal life.
The cause of the death is severe indeed,
and, by and large, we fail to realize its gravity.
Involved as we are in our daily pursuits,
we seldom hint at death and even when we do, we just bring it in as a piece of conversation.
This will not avail us.
Instead we ought to clear our hearts from the thought of all other pursuits and think of death as if it were facing us.
This realization can be brought by recalling
how you prepared the funerals of your friends and relatives
and bore them on a cot to grave then interred them in the grave.
Imagine their faces,
their high stations in life;
and then reflect how earth would have disfigured the beauty of their faces,
their bodies would have disintegrated into pieces,
how they departed leaving behind their children orphans,
their wives widows, and their relatives mourning.
Their goods, their properties, their apparels — all left behind,
and then let the realization dawn on you,
that one day you are inevitably going to meet this doom.
How those who lie dead and still today
used to raise laughter in the company of their friends!
How deeply were they engrossed in the pleasures of the world.
They lay in the dust today!
How remote the thought of “DEATH” was from their minds!
They have become its prey now.
They were intoxicated by the bubbling passions of their youth!
Today their teeth lay scattered, the foot lays broken; the worms are eating into their tongue; their bodies are infested with mite!
How frank was their laugh! Today their teeth must have fallen!
What plans had they conceived!
How they entertained thought of making provisions for years ahead!
And yet, death was hovering over their heads.
The final day of their lives had come,
but they knew not that tonight they would be no more.
Such is mine own case.
I am busy planning my life today.
Little do I know what will happen to me tomorrow.
No living being knows the time of its end.Nathaniel Woods
Man makes provisions for a hundred years,
yet, knows not that he might die the next minute.”
He was convicted of masterminding the ambush that resulted in the deaths of three police officers that another man Kerry Spencer has admitted to. Even more insidious is the fact that the prosecutors agreed they did not believe Nathaniel had killed anyone himself and eye witness report he was not involved with the incident.
Kerry Spencer is recorded as saying “Nate is absolutely innocent… that man didn’t know I was going to shoot anybody just like I didn’t know I was going to shoot anybody that day, period.”
“I told them Nate didn’t shoot nobody. Nate ran. Nate didn’t even have a ****ing gun.”
Spencer reported he had a rifle because they were in a crack house and you had to have one. He opened fire when he heard the police under the assumption that if they saw him with the rifle he would be shot at on site. Spencer reports that Nathaniel had been at the crackhouse because he needed the money and had no idea Spencer would open fire.
Amongst the high-profile individuals who protested the treatment of Nathaniel Woods were Justin Amash, Tariq Nasheed, MLK III, Shaun King, Omar Suleiman, and even O.J. Simpson and Kim Kardashian. American civil society rallied in the hopes of justice for Nathaniel but to no avail; he was murdered by lethal injection in the state of Alabama and pronounced dead on Thursday evening.
America was birthed through brutality and black blood and once again America has black blood and brutality on its hands. Once again the black life is a paltry thing. Once again a black life must be sacrificed to quell white anger. Nathaniel Woods was killed by lethal injection on Thursday for a crime he did not commit, mastermind or anticipate. He was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time – the wrong place like for many young black men in the states- out of sheer desperation and necessity.
Our comfort is that Nathaniel found Islam shortly before his murder and had his index finger extended in the sign of the Shahadah prior to his state lynching. He had taken the name Ali upon his conversion on February 24, 2020.
May God bless Nathaniel with the Kingdom of heaven and give his family ease and the strength to battle through what must be an unbearable verdict.