Saturday, August 1

black august: soledad brother by george jackson

book info: published by Coward-McCann (1970)
the author: George Jackson (1941-1971) freedom fighter, prison inmate

Freedom was an uncompromisable objective for George Jackson. Sadly many of us either do not know, do not recognize, or ignore the struggles of people like him. Born in Chicago, Jackson faced the realities of urban life in America. He found himself in San Quentin Prison at the age of 18, after being sentenced to one year to life in prison for robbing a convenience store of approximately $70. While in prison, Jackson underwent a transformation that, like others such as Malcolm X, catapulted him into the international scene as an outright advocate for black freedom. For Jackson, his life experiences cast a light onto the struggles for all urban youth like himself. While still in prison, Jackson published the work, Soledad Brother: The Prison Letters of George Jackson, which shows the struggles of prison, as well as being a black man in the United States of America.


"Black men born in the US and fortunate enough to live past the age of eighteen are conditioned to accept the inevitability of prison. For most of us it simply looms as the next phase in a sequence of humiliations" (p. 4)

For more on the life of the late George Jackson, check out this article from the late, scholar-activist Walter Rodney.

View the trailer from Black August, the movie starring Gary Dourdan:

Black August was began in 1979 as a commemoration of the life, death, and contributions of several freedom fighters who were assassinated at the hands of the racist and reactionary United States government apparatus known as the California Penal System. These Freedom Fighters include George &Jonathan Jackson, William Christmas, Fleeta Drumgo, W.L. Nolan, Alvin Miller, Cleveland Edwards, Khatari Gaulden, James McClain, and John Cluchette. With the exception of Jonathan Jackson, (who was the leader of the Marin county court rebellion) they were all prominent and
respected leaders of the resistance movement inside the prison walls.

The struggle lives on. There are currently hundreds of political prisoners left in US prisons today. Most notably, Mumia Abu-Jamal. For more information about Black August activities in Washington DC, email my man Naji @ or see this pdf.