Archive for August, 2012

Black August in DC 2012 schedule

Posted in Black August 2012 on August 15, 2012 by legacybc

Wednesday August 1st; 7pm

Umoja House; 2015 Bunkerhill Rd NE, Washington DC

Political Education Class

Political Prisoner Letter writing and commissary donations. We display video’s on political prisoners, send them cards and make donations to their commissary.

sponsored by the National Black United Front
More info:

Saturday August 4; 11am

Turkey Thicket Recreation Center; 1100 Michigan Ave NE, Washington DC

NBUF N’Joya Weusi Rites of Passage Program/Saturday School

Children will create art projects and send to political prisoners.

sponsored by the National Black United Front
More info:

Sunday August 5; 2pm

Intersection of Malcolm X Ave SE & MLK Jr. Ave SE, Washington DC

NBUF Feed the Hood Project

The NBUF Feed the Hood Project is based upon the Black Panther Party for Self Defense Survival Programs & the principles of Kwanzaa.  We will be having a food & clothing drive and circulating info on political prisoners as well.

sponsored by the National Black United Front
More info:

Wednesday August 8; 6-7pm

Howard University Yard between Douglass Hall and Fine Arts building

Students Against Mass Incarceration (SAMI) weekly Political Education class

Featuring Naji Mujahid, this class will focus on the purpose and history of Black August.

sponsored by SAMI

Saturday August 11; 730-Midnight

Outdoor Theater; 8th & Taylor NW

Black August film series outdoors featuring the film Angola 3: Black Panthers and the Last Slave Plantation

The film starts at 9pm.  Come beforehand to mingle and build.  Bring your own food for the grill or to share.  Some food will be available for purchase; while it lasts. Bring your own chair.

The Angola 3: Black Panthers and the Last Slave Plantation tells the gripping story of Robert King, Herman Wallace and Albert Woodfox, men who have endured solitary confinement longer than any known living prisoner in the United States. Politicized through contact with the Black Panther Party while inside Louisiana’s prisons, they formed one of the only prison Panther chapters in history and worked to organize other prisoners into a movement for the right to live like human beings. This feature length movie explores their extraordinary struggle for justice while incarcerated in Angola, a former slave plantation where institutionalized rape and murder made it known as one of the most brutal and racist prisons in the United States. The analysis of the Angola 3’s political work, and the criminal cases used to isolate and silence them, occurs within the context of the widespread COINTELPRO being carried out in the 1960’s and 70’s by the FBI and state law enforcement against militant voices for change.

For more info: 202-718-8323

Wednesday August 15: 7-10pm

Studio W; 628 W St NE, Washington DC

Bilal Sunni Ali, Live in Concert     [$20]

Bilal Sunni Ali returns to Banneker city Washington DC as he has for the last three Augusts to Lecture and Perform. Each year Bilal has uplifted and inspired us with great music and energy. Bilal Sunni Ali who grew up with Gil Scott Heron, played in the Midnight Band is the UNIA-ACL Ambassador of Belize, where he currently lives on his 50 acre farmland.  He was co-defendant to political prisoner Mutulu Shakur and member of the Republic of New Afrika.

This years concert taking place in Black August, once again is a Tribute to the works, words and deeds the legendary of Gil Scott Heron. The cost is $20.00 per person. There will be food sales and refreshments.  Tickets can be purchased at Blue Nile Trading Company [Georgia Ave & Harvard St. NW, Wash. DC] and MMTI now.  Plans are underway to stream the event at the web site.

Sponsored by the UNIA-ACL and Baye Services
More info: or 202-256-2518

Saturday August 18; 830am-130pm

TICKETS $20.00 IN ADVANCE; $25.00 DAY OF TOUR; $15.00 Under 18/y.o.
Tickets can also be purchased through PAYPAL {to} for $21.50

Tickets may also be purchased at Sankofa Video & Books
2714 Georgia Ave, Washington, DC 202-234-4755

“Let Your Motto Be Resistance”
CR Gibbs Black August Lecture and Bus tour

This year Dr. Gibbs will introduce us to new and original research about the underground railroad. It’s an exhilarating experience to be able to receive new information from Dr. Gibbs while visiting the the actual sites.

Tour goers receive a unique sense of ancestral connection and spiritual uplifting unlike the experience in lecture rooms. We will continue to observe the theme of resistance by looking at how slavery operated in the DC area.  We will make first hand visits to key points of resistance from Silver Spring to Alexandria.

This tour promises to be intellectually interesting and culturally stunning.

Sponsored by the Black August Planning Organization
More info: 202-470-7780 or

Saturday August 18; 830pm

Please RSVP to 888-245-4789 with number in your party; We will call you back with address.

Movie Night Under the Stars – Black August Double Feature! – QUILOMBO & EYES ON THE RAINBOW

Legacy Empowerment Invites you to “Movie Night Under the Stars,” at Nkechi & Dakarai’s Backyard Home Theatre!

Featuring the story of the legendary Palmares Repbulic in “QUILOMBO” and rare footage of Assata Shakur in “EYES ON THE RAINBOW”

Bring sweater, blanket, lawn chair $5.00 per person for the evening (no fee for movies or food; cost covers overhead)

We show these films on August 18th, in honor of Black August and its spirit of resistance, the birthday season of the Honorable Marcus Garvey, and in remembrance of Imari Obadele and the Aug. 18, 1971 attack on the RNA residence in Jackson, MS. In the words of Mumia Abu-Jamal – “Black August is a month of injustice and divine justice, of repression and righteous rebellion, of individual and collective efforts to free the land and break the chains that bind us.”

QUILOMBO – in 17th century Brazil, groups of runaway Blacks escaped to mountainous jungle strongholds, where they formed self-governing communities known as quilombos. This film chronicles Palmares, the most famous of these centers of resistance, which flourished for several hundred years under the reign of the mighty legendary warrior-priest – Ganga Zumba. This movie, based on fact, illuminates how African spirituality worked side by side with the resistance movement. (portuguese with english subtitles)

EYES ON THE RAINBOW – Gloria Rolando’s masterful film illuminates the life, politics and spirituality of revolutionary freedom fighter Assata Shakur, who escaped from prison in 1979 and was granted political asylum in Cuba. The film highlights poignant footage from the era of the Panthers, including rare interviews with Sister Assata.

Sponsored by Legacy Empowerment and BAPO

Sunday 19 August; 2-4pm

Sankofa Video & Books Cafe
2714 Georgia Ave NW, Washington DC

Fundraiser and Support Rally for the MOVE feat. Pam and Ramona Africa
Admission is $10

August 8th will mark the 34th year of imprisonment for the MOVE 9. Following the shooting death of Philadelphia Police Officer James Ramp during the August 8, 1978 police siege on Move’s headquarters in West Philadelphia, MOVE members Janine, Debbie, Janet, Merle, Delbert, Mike, Phil, Eddie, and Chuck Africa were convicted of 3rd degree murder, conspiracy, and multiple counts of attempted murder and aggravated assault. Each was given a sentence of 30-100 years. MOVE and others have contested both the evidence and the fairness of the MOVE 9 trial.

Ramona Africa (sole adult survivor of the May13,1985 attack on Move headquarters) and Pam Africa (Move minister of confrontation) will join us. Come get the background on this beautiful family/organization that was twice unjustly and savagely attacked by the Philadelphia police department, then charged and convicted of a crime they could not have committed. If ever there were a time to mobilize for their freedom THAT TIME IS NOW.  After 34 years of imprisonment and the loss of Merle Africa how can we, as a community, tolerate this evil of injustice any longer? This will be a fundraiser/friendraiser for their support. Join us and find out what you do th support the MOVE 9 and advocate for their release. Free all Political Prisoners and Prisoners of War!

Sponsored by BAPO

Friday August 24; 6-8pm

Sankofa Video & Books; 2714 Georgia Ave, Washington DC

5th Annual Black August book signing at Sankofa

Featuring former political prisoner Jamal Joseph and his new autobiography Panther Baby: A Life of Rebellion & Reinvention

In the 1960s he exhorted students at Columbia University to burn their college to the ground. Today he’s chair of their School of the Arts film division. Jamal Joseph’s personal odyssey—from the streets of Harlem to Riker’s Island and Leavenworth to the halls of Columbia—is as gripping as it is inspiring.Eddie Joseph was a high school honor student, slated to graduate early and begin college. But this was the late 1960s in Bronx’s black ghetto, and fifteen-year-old Eddie was introduced to the tenets of the Black Panther Party, which was just gaining a national foothold. By sixteen, his devotion to the cause landed him in prison on the infamous Rikers Island—charged with conspiracy as one of the Panther 21 in one of the most emblematic criminal cases of the sixties. When exonerated, Eddie—now called Jamal—became the youngest spokesperson and leader of the Panthers’ New York chapter.He joined the “revolutionary underground,” later landing back in prison. Sentenced to more than twelve years in Leavenworth, he earned three degrees there and found a new calling. He is now chair of Columbia University’s School of the Arts film division—the very school he exhorted students to burn down during one of his most famous speeches as a Panther.In raw, powerful prose, Jamal Joseph helps us understand what it meant to be a soldier inside the militant Black Panther movement. He recounts a harrowing, sometimes deadly imprisonment as he charts his path to manhood in a book filled with equal parts rage, despair, and hope.

Sponsored by the Black August Planning Organization

Saturday August 25; 730-Midnight

Outdoor Theater; 8th & Taylor NW

Black August film series outdoors featuring the film Against the Wall

The film starts at 9pm.  Come beforehand to mingle and build.  Bring your own food for the grill or to share.  Some food will be available for purchase; while it lasts.  Bring your own chair.

Against the Wall is an HBO docudrama depicts the notorious 1971 prison revolt at the Attica State Penitentiary in upstate New York. One can sense the mastery of veteran theatrical feature director John Frankenheimer in the movie’s gripping suspense and gritty, hard-hitting realism. The semi-fictionalized narrative is told from the point of view of young Michael Smith (Kyle MacLachlan), a newly recruited prison guard. (The real Smith worked as a consultant on the film.) When Smith arrives at Attica, the place is a revolt waiting to happen. When riots break out and the inmates take command of the prison, Smith and several other guards are held hostage. In this powder-keg climate, a relationship develops between Smith and the rebellion’s wise, cool-headed leader, Jamaal (the superb Samuel L. Jackson), a political prisoner representing the African Liberation Movement. The insurrection at Attica became emblematic of protests taking place all over the United States at the time. “We’ve got a civil war going on in this country,” says one prison guard, “This is where we hold the line.” Against the Wall illustrates in no uncertain terms which side won this particular battle, and at what tragic cost. Then it goes one step further, becoming a platform for contemporary prison reform. The film’s terrific performances include Clarence L. Williams III as a wild-eyed, malcontent prisoner, Frederic Forrest as a rabid prison guard, and Anne Heche as Smith’s stalwart wife.

For more info: 202-718-8323


Political Prisoner Radio links

Posted in Audio files on August 14, 2012 by legacybc

CLICK THE LINK for Bro. Bilal Sunni-Ali on the case of Dr. Mutulu
Shakur at

CLICK THE LINK for the case of PP Robert “Seth” Hayes w/guests his
daughter, Crystal Hayes, and
long-time supporter, Nate Buckley at

CLICK THE LINK for Sis. Gloria LaRiva on the case of the Cuban Five at

CLICK THE LINK for Bro. Herman Ferguson and Sis. Iyaluua Ferguson on
the case of Bro. Abdul Majid at

CLICK THE LINK for Chairman Fred Hampton Jr. at

CLICK THE LINK for Bro. Ralph Poynter on the case of Atty Lynne
Stewart at

CLICK THE LINK for Bro. Robert King Wilkerson on the case of the
Angola 3 at

CLICK THE LINK for Atty Robert Boyle and Brooke Reynolds on the case
of Bro. Jalil Abdul Muntaqim at

CLICK THE LINK for Sis. Karima Al-Amin on the case of Imam Jamil
Al-Amin at

CLICK THE LINK for David Hill, Peter Clark and Wanbli Tate on the case
of Bro. Leonard Peltier at

CLICK THE LINK for former PP’s Vicente “Panama” Alba and Ricardo
Jimenez on the case of Bro. Oscar Lopez-Rivera at

CLICK THE LINK for Sis. Dequi Kioni-Sadiki on the case of Bro. Sekou
Odinga at

CLICK THE LINK for ex-PP Bro. Lorenzo Kom’boa Ervin and the upcoming
Memphis Black Power Conference!

CLICK THE LINK for Sis. Fayemi Shakur and Sis. Walidah Imarisha on the
case of Bro. Sundiata Acoli!

CLICK THE LINK for Sis. Dominque Stevenson on Bro. Marshall “Eddie”
Conway (features a call-in from Bro. Eddie)!

CLICK THE LINK for Sis. Theresa Shoatz on Bro. Russell “Maroon”

CLICK THE LINK  for Prof. Johanna Fernandez and Sis. Jamila Wilson on
Bro. Mumia Abu-Jamal!

CLICK THE LINK  for Sis. Kiilu Nyasha on Bro. Hugo “Yogi” Pinell!

CLICK THE LINK for Sis. Ramona Africa on the MOVE 9!

Kumasi Speaks: What is Black August?

Posted in Audio files on August 12, 2012 by legacybc

Kumasi, the official historian of the Black August Organizing Committee, speaks about the origins of the California prison movement and the meaning behind Black August.

Black August originated in the California penal system to honor fallen Freedom Fighters, Jonathan Jackson, George Jackson, William Christmas, James McClain and Khatari Gaulden. Jonathan Jackson was gunned down outside the Marin County California courthouse on August 7, 1970 as he attempted to liberate three imprisoned Black Liberation Fighters: James McClain, William Christmas and Ruchell Magee. Ruchell Magee is the sole survivor of that armed liberation attempt. He is the former co-defendant of Angela Davis and has been locked down for 38 years, most of it in solitary confinement. George Jackson was assassinated by prison guards during a Black prison rebellion at San Quentin on August 21, 1971. Three prison guards were also killed during that rebellion and prison officials charged six Black and Latino prisoners with the death of those guards. These six brothers became known as the San Quentin Six.

Khatari Gaulden was a prominent leader of the Black Guerilla Family (BGF) after Comrade George was assassinated. Khatari was a leading force in the formation of Black August, particularly its historical and ideological foundations. Khatari, like many of the unnamed freedom fighters of the BGF and the revolutionary prison movement of the 1970’s, was murdered at San Quentin Prison in 1978 to eliminate his leadership and destroy the resistance movement.

The brothers who participated in the collective founding of Black August wore black armbands on their left arm and studied revolutionary works, focusing on the works of George Jackson. The brothers did not listen to the radio or watch television in August. Additionally, they didn’t eat or drink anything from sun-up to sundown; and loud and boastful behavior was not allowed. The brothers did not support the prison’s canteen. The use of drugs and alcoholic beverages was prohibited and the brothers held daily exercises, because during Black August, emphasis is placed on sacrifice, fortitude and discipline. Black August is a time to embrace the principles of unity, self-sacrifice, political education, physical training and resistance.


Posted in Black August 2012 on August 3, 2012 by legacybc


As we focus our energies, resources and collective spirits to acknowledge and commemorate another Black August, we give thanks to those who continue to unselfishly recognize and work on behalf of our Political Prisoners. It is no easy task to stay involved with such an unforgiving and unpopular mission. The law enforcement empire Is quite relentless in their ongoing efforts to undermine and destroy the concept and heart of Black August. It should come as no surprise that the need to build more and stronger support for Political Captives is greater than ever. The fact that we are forced to count the years of false and unjust imprisonment of Americas’ Political Prisoners in decades in so many instances should move many more to become very seriously involved in the fight for their freedom. The names don’t roll off the tongue like some of our more famous movie stars, but only because society’s value system bends our minds to the emptiness of the big screen.

When we talk about some of the brothers in Corcoran, Pelican Bay or some other of California’s 34 prisons in which they have been warehoused out of sight out of mind in some cases nearly fifty years, the conversation must involve movement now. The Move 9 have been held captive 34 years, obvious Political Prisoners whose family members were burned alive by a government gone mad with power. Why would anyone question working for their freedom? Still they sit growing older, health failing while the true facts of their innocence are ignored and grow fainter in the minds of some like the years of their wasted lives. Black August is a clarion call to get involved with the Move Organization and all others working to gain their freedom.

Injustice is heaped upon us as our daily lot and we preen for the cameras that march us determinedly away from our focus. Black August Resistance is about ignoring the temptations and distractions we face year round if only in the month of August as we dedicate that energy to solving some portion of the problem of mass Political incarceration. Black August as an entity is totally dedicated to continuing the work of freeing all Political Prisoners and educating people in so-called free society on the insidiously corrupt and unfixable nature of Americas’ concentration camps. Black August as a concept seeks to involve individuals, groups and organizations in every way possible on a back breaking mission to put Americas’ night and day mare prison system in check.

With the numbers of men, women and children flowing through the gates of the largest system of incarceration in the world increasing daily, America is in no danger of giving up or even sharing that #1 position and those of us down here on the ground are in danger of oblivion. We cannot afford to ease our vigilance on a policy and system of imprisonment that literally eats our young and tortures our elders to death. Black August is about that vigilance, about making folks inside know we will not leave them to the embedded cruelty of their captors.

Over the past three decades people have used the name Black August to represent issues, causes and personal opinions that have absolutely nothing to do with the original and ongoing concept of working to enlighten the world about Americas’ prisons, solutions and hands on involvement working with and for Political Prisoners. While enthusiasm is much needed in dealing with such  treacherous and heartrending problems as sensory deprivation units and behavioral control programs, we must confine ourselves to the journey or all meaning will be lost.

We salute all those who have defied the police state and the curious animosity of friend like individuals to maintain the core principles of black august. We salute all those who have been inspired by Black August to further their commitment to the struggle for freedom by taking on challenges that require concentrated dedication  and a single minded determination that will ultimately yield a fruit that will serve the people greatly. We must pull it all back together in spite of the people who selfishly pull others away or harbor petty grudges or jealousies that fester in dark places and in the end harm all concerned. Once again it is not about us. There is a captive audience waiting for us to echo Comrade Georges’ words as my elder sister Kiilu continues to remind us, come together and settle our quarrels not for ourselves but for the people we claim to serve. Black August Resistance!!!





Posted in Black August 2012 with tags , , , on August 3, 2012 by legacybc


by Kiilu Nyasha  (2012)

      “As a slave, the social phenomenon that

            engages my consciousness is, of course, revolution.”

 (George L. Jackson)


The Revision of Black August

 2012 marks the 33rd anniversary of Black August, first organized to honor our fallen freedom fighters, George and Jonathan Jackson, James McClain, William Christmas, Khatari Gaulden, and sole survivor of the August 7, 1970 Courthouse Slave Rebellion, Ruchell Cinque Magee.

During these three decades, we’ve witnessed a steady revision of the meaning of Black August and its inherent ideology, the undisputed leader of which was our martyred Comrade, George Lester Jackson.

Sadly, lots of individuals — many of whom are straight-up Black capitalists and Black nationalists — have seized upon Black August as a means of profiteering and lime-lighting, self-aggrandizement, and promotion of their own agendas.  For those reasons, I want to make very clear the ideology espoused by George and Jonathan Jackson and their comrades.

First of all, George was unequivocally an internationalist and a socialist.  He despised racism and, along with his brother, Jonathan, eschewed cultural nationalism.

For example, in George Jackson’s second book (published posthumously in 1972), Blood in My Eye, Jonathan Jackson (17) was quoted a­­­­s follows:

“They say Gloves Davis – a black pig – killed Fred Hampton, while he was asleep.  I certainly don’t have to mention all the so-called defectors who are now [1970] appearing before government committees testifying for the state.  They were infiltrators to begin with.  The house-niggers who ran to the high sheriff as soon as someone whispered revolt.  I think I hate them worse than I hate the sheriff, or the ‘owner.’

“I’m just a young slave….but every time I think of [Gloves] Davis, Jess B. Simple, Karenga and the rest of these murderous turncoat idiots, my trigger finger fairly itches!  Non-persons like Karenga, LeRoi Jones [Amiri Baraka] and the other right-wing blacks are intelligent enough to know what they are doing. We cannot excuse them with the ease that we can excuse the average brother who has had no opportunity or inclination to search.  The mantle of ignorance doesn’t cover their behavior.  [my emphasis] They have to know that when they attack socialism, the communist ideal, and revolution that they are not logically…attacking all that is white, etc.  They know that Ho Chi Minh isn’t white or Chairman Mao, or Nkrumah, Lumumba and Toure. They know that there isn’t but one fight going on across this planet, the one between the imperialist forces of capitalism and its victims.  They know that it was for work that we were kidnapped – what else do you feed a slave for?  These Black, Black, Black, Black men (if you can swallow their shallow shit) have had time to study, some have traveled, they ‘know’ that it was capitalist agricultural economics that first caused our pain, and that the only change since then is the decline of the agricultural elite and the rise of the modern bourgeoisie. A sweat-shop displaced the plantation.  [In 2012, it’s the prison industrial complex and outsourcing.]  Could it have escaped their notice that all the African states that really liberated themselves booted out the foreign businessmen and are now socialist states?  [Unfortunately, the ‘foreign businessmen’ returned and there are no African states that remained socialist]

“No, I think the strongest suggestion is that they are working for the government, the new house-niggers.  And what better way is there for them to sell themselves to us than to scream Black, Black, Black, Black….”

George Jackson wrote, “We find ourselves forced into a reexamination of the whole nature of black revolutionary consciousness and its relative standing within a class society steeped in a form of racism so sensitized that it extends itself even to the slightest variation in skin tone.

“The great majority of blacks reject racism.  They have never found it expedient, wise or honorable to take on the characteristics of the enemy.” (Blood In My Eye)

I wish that statement remained true.  But I think Comrade is turning over in his grave at the anti-white hostility and white exclusion so common today.  We are now witnessing Blacks embracing reactionary politicians, like Barack Obama, because of their skin tones.

As former Panther and political prisoner Larry Pinkney wrote:

Barack Obama’s secret negotiations with economic bloodsucking multinational corporations, his trillion dollar criminal ‘bailout’ of the corporate elite of Wall Street,… his ongoing wars in Afghanistan and elsewhere, his bombing of Libya, North Africa, his feverish clamp down on corporate and government ‘whistleblowers,’ and his infamous ‘Kill List’ are but a few of the horrible actions that Obama, has and is engaging in under the cover of insidious stealth and beguilement.

Obama’s flagrant violations of U.S. constitutional and international law have, in less than four years, far surpassed even the outrages committed by his predecessors.”

Larry has also noted that the Obama Administration has not hesitated to “Murder women, men and children with incessant predator drone missile strikes upon other sovereign nations. Utilize a self-legitimized ‘kill list’ to commit extrajudicial murders of Americans and non-Americans alike, without the bother of legitimate due process. Sign into law the draconian NDAA [National Defense Authorization Act]—which calls for the indefinite detention in this nation of U.S. citizens—without charge, trial, judge, jury, or legal defense. Continue operating the torture chamber at the U.S. gulag known as Guantanamo.”  (Intrepid Report)

In his first best seller of 1970, Soledad Brother: The Prison Letters of George Jackson, Comrade wrote, “The government buys and trains these running dogs very carefully, and sends them scrambling, tails and all, outward to represent the establishment.  Whole kennels are sent to the African nations…on the supposition that the people of these nations will be able to relate better to a black face.”  George goes on to say that they throw up “one more barrier to the communion that we must establish with the other oppressed peoples of the world.”

In a letter written to a comrade, published in Blood In My Eye, George wrote:

“We have finally arrived at scientific revolutionary socialism….I was hoping that you wouldn’t get trapped in the riot stage like a great many other very sincere brothers….They think they don’t need ideology, strategy or tactics.  They think being a warrior is enough.”

“You must teach that socialism-communalism is as old as man; that its principles formed the basis of mostly all the East African cultures (there was no word to denote possession in the original East African tongues)….Any black who would defend an African military dictatorship is as much a fascist as Hoover.  Are you aware of how the people are living under these so-called Africanized fascist cultures?  The Congo and the entire West Coast of Africa….are still slave states, dominated by Westernized black right-wing puppets.  I’m thoroughly sick of the old Jess B. Simples (young ones too).  They’ll be your main source of opposition in communizing the black colonies here. The ‘good white people’ who own things will always give them a few inches in their papers or other media.  That’s how ‘fascism’ works influencing the masses and institutions through elites.”  [my emphasis]

George was adamantly opposed to participation in electoral politics: ““The corporative state allows for no genuinely free political opposition.  They only allow meaningless gatherings where they can plant more spies than participants. They feel secure in their ability to mold the opinion of a people interested only in wages.  However, real revolutionary activity will draw panic-stricken gunfire.  Or heart attacks.”

The Origin of Black August

A time to embrace the principles of unity and resistance, Black August had its origins in the “Black Movement” behind California prison walls in the 1960s, led by George Jackson, W. L. Nolen, James Carr, Hugo Pinell, Kumasi, Howard Tole, Warren Wells, and many other conscious, standup brothers who ultimately made it safe for Blacks to walk the yards of California’s racist gulags.

As the decades passed, the tradition of honoring our fallen freedom fighters – sparked by the August events described below — was expanded to include commemorating revolutionary wars of resistance and self-determination, such as Harriett Tubman’s Underground Railroad and the Haitian Revolution of August of 1791 culminating in the first Black Republic of the world,

August 7, 1970, the spectacular courthouse slave rebellion hit the front pages of newspapers around the world.  Pictures of four, young Black freedom fighters emerging from Marin County court with guns and hostages, provoked panic among white supremacists.  But most Black folks took great pride and inspiration from the sight of such courageous resistance to the ongoing brutality and murder of Blacks inside and outside of prison.

“Freeze!” shouted 17-year-old Jonathan Jackson, “We’re taking over” — as he tossed guns to McClain, Christmas, and Magee.  With courage and calm they ushered their hostages to a waiting van, planning to go to a radio station to broadcast the atrocities being committed behind the walls against Blacks, and demand the immediate release of the Soledad Brothers – George Jackson, Fleeta Drumgo and John Clutchette.

What Jonathan failed to anticipate was the State’s willingness to sacrifice one of its judges and the lives of everyone else to stop that escape.  As Jonathan tried to leave the parking lot, the San Quentin guards arrived and opened fire, leaving Jackson, Christmas, McClain, and Judge Harold Haley dead, State prosecutor Gary Thomas and Ruchell Magee seriously wounded and one juror with  a minor injury.

One year later, on August 21, 1971, in what has been well established as a setup, George Jackson was murdered on the yard of San Quentin by prison guards.

During this orchestrated attempted escape, however, three guards were also killed, along with two inmate “trustees.” This set the prison officials on fire and they’ve been exacting revenge ever since upon Hugo Pinell whom they can’t seem to torture enough —  even though he was not convicted of murder in the case, as was Johnny Spain who was released in 1988.

Yogi, now 67 years old is suffering his 48th year of incarceration, most in solitary confinement, the last 22 in Pelican Bay’s SHU (Security Housing Unit) locked down at least 23 hours a day in a torture chamber — no-contact limited visits, no phone calls, no windows, restricted property. Fortunately, Magee’s legal expertise got himself out of the SHU in 1994.

Yogi’s current attorney, Keith Wattley of Uncommon Law, is trying to preclude a 15-year hit at his next board hearing, and needs all the help he can get to proceed in his behalf.  For more information, go to

Ruchell Magee is enduring his 49th year in Corcoran’s maximum security prison – a classic case of this country’s racist repression of Black men.

At 16, Magee was arrested, tried as an adult, and incarcerated in the infamous Angola State Prison in his home state of Louisiana (basically for associating with a white girl). Released after 8 years, but banished from the State, Magee lasted only 6 months in Los Angeles before suffering an egregious and brutal encounter with L.A. police (over a $10 bag of weed) that put him back in prison.  An astute jailhouse lawyer, Magee continued to fight his case through the courts for 7 years to no avail, or until he seized the hour and joined the guerrillas on August 7, 1970.  Seriously wounded but still alive, Magee was subsequently tortured and charged with everything they could throw at him.  He continues to fight his case to this day.  He said to me decades ago, “As long as you remain in the fight, you never know who’s going to win.”

“So what is to be done after a revolution has failed? Asks George.  After our enemies have created a conservative mass society based on meaningless electoral politics, spectator sports, and a 3 percent annual rise in purchasing power strictly regulated to negate itself with a corresponding rise in the cost of living.  …What can we do with a people who have gone through the authoritarian process and come out sick to the core!!!

“Our overall task is to separate the people from the hated state.  They must be made to realize that the interests of the state and the ruling class are one and the same.  They must be taught to realize that the present political regime exists only to balance the productive forces within the society in favor of the ruling class.  It is at the ruling class and the governing elites, including those of labor, that we must aim our bolts.”

(Blood in My Eye)

“We must accept the spirit of the true internationalism called for by Comrade Che Guevara….We need allies, we have a powerful enemy who cannot be defeated without an allied effort!  The enemy at present is the capitalist system and its supporters.  Our prime interest is to destroy them.  Anyone else with this same interest must be embraced, we must work with, beside, through, over, under anyone, regardless of his or her external physical features, whose aim is the same as ours in this.” (Soledad Brother)

“Settle your quarrels, come together, understand the reality of our situation, understand that fascism is already here, that people are dying who could be saved, that generations more will live poor butchered half-lives if you fail to act. Do what must be done; discover your humanity and your love in revolution.” (Blood in My Eye)

Please send our brothers some love and encouragement:

Hugo L.A. Pinell
A88401 D3-221
P.O. Box 7500
Crescent City, Ca. 95531-7500

Ruchell Cinque Magee
#A92051 C-8-117
P.O. Box 5246  
CSATF/State Prison at Corcoran
Corcoran, CA 93212