Herman Bell was born in Mississippi and moved to Brooklyn, New York as a boy. He was a talented High School football player and won a football scholarship to the University of California in Oakland. While in Oakland, Herman joined the Black Panther Party and became active around human rights issues in the Black community. In 1971, he went underground because of relentless FBI attacks on the Black Panther Party. While underground, Herman joined the Black Liberation Army, and in September of 1973 he was captured and extradited to New York on charges of having killed 2 New York City police officers– a case for which Jalil Muntaquim and Nuh Washington were already serving time. No witnesses were able to put Herman at the scene of the crime. The first trial ended in a hung jury and he was convicted at his second trial and given 25 years. Herman is a prison activist and has coached various sports teams inside the prison system. In 1990 he earned his B.S. degree from the State University of New York at New Paltz.