In 1961 19 year old George Jackson was sentenced to 1 year to life in prison for allegedly stealing $70. Like many before him and since, he became politicized while incarcerated, he wrote “I met Marx, Engels, Lenin, Trotsky and Mao when I entered prison and they redeemed me. For the first four years I studied nothing but economics and military ideas.”
Jackson became a Field Marshall for the Black Panther Party, organizing a chapter in San Quentin prison. What has become known as Black August emerged from Jackson’s struggle and that of his comrades incarcerated in what’s been called the “injustice system” of the United States. One of them, Ruchell Magee, is one of the longest held political prisoners in the world, now aged 81, he has been imprisoned for 57 years.
There are dozens of political prisoners held by the US government that it refuses to acknowledge as such, activists from the Black Panther Party, the Black Liberation Army, MOVE, the American Indian Movement and others. As this month comes to a close, Black America is asked to take this moment to give thanks and to honor the courage and commitment of political prisoners and the struggle for justice.
To learn more about Black August and to get involved in the many campaigns to free political prisoners in the US, visit The Black Collective website at https://www.theblkcollective.org/blackaugust. The Alliance For Global Justice website, https://afgj.org/politicalprisonersusa, gives details of political prisoners, campaigns to free them, and how to get involved.