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Black August

Black August For The Pendleton 2

Black August is a month of commemoration uplifting Black political prisoners and Black revolutionary struggle. Generally during this month we honor our revolutionary political prisoners such as George Jackson, Assata Shakur, Mutulu Shakur, Mumbai Abu Jamal, and various other political prisoners associated with the Black Panther/Black Liberation army and the overall revolutionary era of the late 60s and 70s. It is important to uplift the individuals and organizations associated with this era because this was a crucial period where the State made a persistent effort to eliminate leaders, disassemble our organizations and thereby sever us from our revolutionary history.

Black August And The Fight To Free Political Prisoners

Black August is a month-long commemoration of Black resistance against oppression, with an emphasis on Black freedom fighters and political prisoners. To this day, dozens of Black freedom fighters remain incarcerated in US prisons after decades. As Black August gains more mainstream currency, many activists want to make sure its original purpose in uplifting Black resistance and the ongoing struggle to free political prisoners is not erased. The Jericho Movement is an organization fighting for amnesty and freedom for all political prisoners, from Leonard Peltier to Mutulu Shakur. On this episode of Rattling the Bars, Jihad Abdulmumit and Paulette Dauteuil of the Jericho Movement speak with co-host Mansa Musa about the work of their organization and the significance of Black August.

Black August Builds On Our Black Radical Traditions

The 31 days of August hold a particular and special meaning you will not find in the celebrations that come with Juneteenth, Black History Month or Kwanzaa. For 43 years now since 1979, Black August commemorates and highlights political prisoners and their crucial role in the Black liberation/freedom struggle. Black August is directly tied to the Black prison movement that started in the San Quentin prison and through relentless organizing spread to other prisons as well as to the streets. The story of Black August begins immediately behind the prison walls after Jonathan and George Jackson were killed in August 1970, and 1971 respectively, as well as W.L. Nolan (killed January 1970), James McClain, William Christmas (killed with George) and Khatari Gaulden (killed August 1st, 1978).

Black August, Letter Writing And The ‘Harm Reduction’ Administration

There are four major components in the yearly commemorations of Black August: study, fast, train, and fight. People are encouraged to study the works and words of former and current political and politicized prisoners. People are encouraged to fast from sunrise to sunset. People are encouraged to train and become more physically active. People are encouraged to fight against the system. However, one of the lesser centered but equally important aspects of Black August is letter writing.  Nearly a half-century ago, Gresham Sykes wrote in The Society of Captives: A Study of a Maximum Security Prison that, “life in the maximum-security prison is depriving or frustrating extreme”. Hardly anything has changed to alter that. The prison system thrives on the exploitation and over-policing of poor colonized communities.

Black August And Black Liberation: ‘Study, Fast, Train, Fight.’

Each August since 1979, the surviving sectors of the Black Liberation Movement, our supporters, and the new entrants into the ranks of resistors to the ongoing oppression against the African/Black masses and colonized peoples of this territory now called the United States and its settler state, have paid homage to our fallen freedom fighters and those incarcerated for decades in the cages of this country. The struggle for African/Black freedom in the United States began with the arrival of the first enslaved Africans to this territory in 1619. The tradition of resistance to the settler state is different from the tradition celebrated by the elites of this country in response to the death of U.S. Rep. John Lewis (D-GA). Our positionality, first as an enslaved people and after the formal period of slavery as a nationally oppressed people, had forged for us a different interpretation of U.S. history and our relationship to this state.  For the Black Liberation Movement, reconciliation with the settler state toward a “more perfect union” was not only an impossibility because white-supremacist settler power has been crystallized into the state.

50 Years Of Struggle From Black August To Black Lives Matter

This Aug. 7 marks the 50th anniversary of the heroic attempt by Jonathan Jackson, younger brother of George Jackson, to free three Black revolutionaries from the clutches of the California state prison system. The fact that this bold attempt failed has no bearing on its historical and revolutionary significance to the movements for Black Liberation and prison abolition in this country and around the world. Jonathan Jackson was only 17 years old when, armed with a rifle, he burst into a Marin County courtroom while a hearing was in session.
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