Russell ‘Maroon’ Shoats

My name is Russell ‘Maroon’ Shoats and I am a New Afrikan Political Prisoner of War, who at this moment is serving a prison sentence at the Waynesburg, Pennsylvania, state institution. I was originally locked up in January of 1972, and have since spent over 25 years in 15 different state, county, and federal prisons, jails and a maximum security prison/mental institution. Over 20 of these years were spent in the “holes” of these various facilities locked down for 23 or more hours daily. RUSSELL MAROON SHOATS New Afrikan Prisoner of War I was born in Philadelphia, PA, in August of 1943, one of 12 children in the household of Gladys and Russell Shoats. I attended school there until the age of 15, after which I was in and out of reforms schools and youth institutions until the age of eighteen , mainly due to gang-related activities. These gang activities, though not drug-related as the bulk of similar actitites are today, still had the same root causes: a lack of comprehensive youth-oriented programs in the schools and neighborhoolds, coupled with high unemployment and police repression in the New African communities. I married twice and became the father of 7 children between the years of 1964 and 1970. During the early to middle 1960’s, I became increasingly politically aware and active in the New Afrikan liberation movement. I was a founding member of the Black Unity Council, a Philadelphia Grouping that eventually merged with the Philadelphia chapter of the Black Panther Party in 1969. In August of 1970, at the height of the nationwide repression of the New Afrikan liberation movement, I became a fugitive after a Philadelphia policeman was killed and another was wounded in a retaliatory attack on a Philadelphia police station. In response to the heightened repression of the New Afrikan liberation movement in general, and the unjustified killing of a New Afrikan youth by the repressive poloice in the local community, from August 1970 until January 1972, the date of my capture and arrest; I was active on the armed front of the New Afrikan Liberation Army. All of my actions and activities during this period were in direct response to, and in direct support of the movement’s activities. I was tried and convicted for the attack on the police station and sentenced to life-plus imprisonment. In September 1977, myself and three other New African Political Prisoners of War liberated ourselves from state prison at Huntington, PA. Two of these brothers were recaptured and a third was killed during the escape. However, I remained at large for a month, in the teeth of a massive “slave-style” hunt by local, state, and federal forces, who had also recruited large numbers of the local rural while populace to help in their search. From my capture in October 1977, until November 1989, I was kept in various “holes” in numerous state, county, and federal prisions, and maximum-security prison/mental institutions. During this period I was locked down daily at the Pennsylvania state prisons at Huntingdon, Pittsburgh, Camp Hill, Dallas, Rockview, and Grateford, as well as the Allegheny, Wayne, Washington, Lackawanna, Montgomery, and Philadelphia county prisons and the U.S. penitentiaries at N. Lewisburgh, PA and Leavenworth, Kansas. In 1979, I was forcibly transferred to the maximum security-security prison/mental institution at Waymart, Pennsylvania, known as “Fairview.” During my over one-year stay at this facility I was forcibly drugged, and on one occasion was hospitalized from a hospital-induced overdose of these drugs. In March 1980, myself and another New Afrikan Political Prisoner of War were able to liberate ourselves from this institution after a New Afrikan activist smuggled a revolver and a sub-machine gun into the institution for our use. Three days later all three of us were captured after a gun battle with local, state, and county police and FBI agents. In the wake of the historic Camp Hill rebellion, during October 1989, at the Pennsylvania state prison at Camp Hill, I was transferred from the state in- prison at Dallas, to the U.S. Penitentiary at Lewisburg, and then to the U.S. Penitentiary at Leavenworth, Although I had no part in this rebellion (having been at Dallas at the time,) I was nevertheless singled out by the prison administration to be transferred over 1,000 miles from family, supporters, and friends with a view towards ultimately having me confined at the notorious federal prioson at Marion, Illinois. While being kept on 23-hours a day lockdown at Leavenworth, during November 1989, my relatives and supporters mounted a campaign to reveal the lies and falsified records the Pennsylvania prison administration had used to implicate me in the Camp Hill rebellion, which was used as a basis for my transfer to Leavenworth and there to be evaluated for placement at Marion, Illinois. These efforts were successful and I was finally released to the general prison population in December 1989 until June 1991, I’m now being held on 23-hour lockdown at Dallas and Waynesburg state institution, where I remain a committed New Afrikan freedom fighter who will not rest until the New Afrikan peoples are free from oppression, an a free and self-governing nation. Russell Maroon Shoatz was a dedicated community activist and founding member of the Philadelphia based Black Unity Counsel, which merged with the Black Panther Party in 1969. In 1970, Maroon, along with five comrades, was accused of an attack on a Philadelphia police station which resulted in the death of a cop. This attack was carried out in response to the war being waged against the Black Community. For eighteen months Maroon was active underground as a soldier in the Black Liberation Army until his arrest in 1972. This freedom fighter escaped from prison twice, and in 1977 he remained at large for twenty-seven days before being re-captured. On March 2, 1980 he liberated himself once more, but was captured three days later. Maroon has been in prison, serving multiple life sentences, since that time. Currently he is locked down twenty-three hours a day under conditions of sensory deprivation at the control unit in SCI-Greene in Pennsylvania, with no prospect of release.


One Response to “Russell ‘Maroon’ Shoats”

  1. Psalm 121
    1. I will lift my eyes to the hills, from whence comes my help.
    2. My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.
    3.He will not allow your foot to be moved: he who keeps you will neither slumber nor sleep.
    4. Behold, He who keeps Israel shall not slumber nor sleep.
    5. The Lord is your keeper: the Lord is your shad upon your right hand.
    6. The sun shall not strike you by the day, nor the moon by night.
    7. The Lord shall preserve you from all evil: He shall preserve thy soul.
    8. The Lord shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even foe evermore.

    “REMEMBER that GOD is the Help of Those Who Seek Him”
    Times of trouble are times of trust.

    God’s verdict is the one that counts. The world may discount you, but in God’s eyes you are priceless. Daily prayers are the remedy for daily cares. Life’s trials should make us better- not bitter.

    No pain, no gain, Know pain great gain.Pain makes us think, thinking makes us wise, wisdom makes life profitable.
    Never underestimate the value of a single soul. Instead of giving up on a person, give that person to God.

    I love you my brother, God is the best of all planners HOLD On!

    Love your biological sister,
    Sharon Joy Shoats

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