Hill and Finney were interviewed in Havana, where they have been living since the 1971 hijacking of TWA Flight 106 at Albuquerque International Airport. Rosenbloom was shot days earlier.
At the time, the two men were members of a group called the Republic of New Africa, a Black Panther splinter group. They were driving across country when Rosenbloom stopped them.
After the shooting, the men went into hiding for several days and then called for a tow truck. They hijacked the truck and drove onto the tarmac at the airport where they commandeered Flight 106, which had 49 people aboard, to Tampa, Fla. They released the passengers there, and then took off for Havana after refueling.
On July 1, Chokwe Lumumba, an attorney with a long record of black radical activism, took office as mayor of Jackson.
A crowd of 2,500 packed the hall. The city councilors and other dignitaries, most of them African-American — Jackson, a city of 177,000, is 80 percent black — sat on the dais.
Then Lumumba smiled and raised his right hand halfway, just a little above the podium, briefly showing the clenched fist of a Black Power salute.
“And I want to say, free the land!”
Applause rang out, bells chimed, wooden staffs rose up and people shouted back, “Free the land!” That’s the motto of the Republic of New Afrika (RNA), the movement formed in 1968 that sought to turn the states of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina into an independent black nation.
Jackson’s new mayor is a former vice president of the RNA and a co-founder of the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement (MXGM), a national group born in 1993 that seeks self-determination for African-Americans — whom it calls New Afrikans — “by any means necessary.”