Greetings All:


Today marks the 37th anniversary of the assassination of our beloved Comrade George L. Jackson, aka "Soledad Brother."  I'm sending you this article written in 2000 and published in the S.F. Bay View newspaper for your information.  The only changes would be the dates and number of years Hugo and Ruchell have now been incarcerated, 44 and 45 years respectively in California gulags.  You can find more info at


Black August 2000: A story of African freedom 


By Kiilu Nyasha, 23 July 2000 


Black August is a month of great significance for Africans throughout the diaspora, but particularly here in the 

U.S. where it originated. “August,” as Mumia Abu-Jamal noted, “is a month of meaning,,, of repression and 

radical resistance, of injustice and divine justice; of repression and righteous rebellion; of individual and 

collective efforts to free the slaves and break the chains that bind us.”. 


On this 21st anniversary of Black August, first organized to honor our fallen freedom fighters, Jonathan and 

George Jackson, Khatari Gaulden, James McClain, William Christmas, and the sole survivor of the August 7, 

1970 Courthouse Slave Rebellion, Ruchell Cinque Magee, it is still a time to embrace the principles of unity, 

self-sacrifice, political education, physical fitness and/or training in martial arts, resistance, and spiritual 

renewal.. xo 


The concept, Black August, grew out of the need to expose to the light of day the glorious and heroic deeds of 

those Afrikan women and men who recognized and struggled against the injustices heaped upon people of color 

on a daily basis in America. 


One cannot tell the story of Black August without first providing the reader with a brief glimpse of the “Black 

Movement” behind California prison walls in the Sixties, led by George Jackson and W. L. Nolen, among 



As Jackson wrote: “...when I was accused of robbing a gas station of $70, I accepted a deal...but when time 

came for sentencing, they tossed me into the penitentiary with one to life. It was 1960. I was 18 years old.... I 

met Marx, Lenin, Trotsky, Engels, and Mao when I entered prison and they redeemed me. For the first four 

years I studied nothing but economics and military ideas. I met black guerrillas, George ’Big Jake’ Lewis, and 

James Carr, W.L. Nolen, Bill Christmas, Torry Gibson, and many, many others. We attempted to transform the 

Black criminal mentality into a black revolutionary mentality. As a result, each of us has been subject to years 

of the most vicious reactionary violence by the state. Our mortality rate is almost what you would expect to find 

in a history of Dachau. Three of us [Nolen, Sweet Jugs Miller, and Cleve Edwards) were murdered several 

months ago [Jan. 13, 1969] by a pig shooting from thirty feet above their heads with a military rifle.” (Soledad 

Brother: The Prison Letters of George Jackson) 


When the brothers first demanded the killer guard be tried for murder, they were rebuffed. Upon their 

insistence, the administration held a kangaroo court and three days later returned a verdict of “justifiable 

homicide.”. Shortly afterward, a white guard was found beaten to death and thrown from a tier. Six days later, 

three prisoners were accused of murder, and became known as The Soledad Brothers. 


“I am being tried in court right now with two other brothers. John Clutchette and Fleeta Drumgo, for the alleged 

slaying of a prison guard. This charge carries an automatic death penalty for me. I can’t get life. I already have 



On August 7, 1970, just a few days after George was transferred to San Quentin, his younger brother Jonathan 

Jackson, 17, invaded Marin County Courthouse single-handed, with a satchel full of handguns, an assault rifle 

and a shotgun hidden under his raincoat. “Freeze,” he commanded as he tossed guns to William Christmas, 

James McClain, and Ruchell Magee. Magee was on the witness stand testifying for McClain, on trial for 

assaulting a guard in the wake of a guard’s murder of another Black prisoner, Fred Billingsley, beaten and 

teargassed to death. A jailhouse lawyer, Magee had deluged the courts with petitions for seven years contesting 

his illegal conviction in ’63. The courts had refused to listen, so Magee seized the hour and joined the guerrillas 

as they took the judge, prosecutor and three jurors hostage to a waiting van. To reporters gathering quickly 

outside the courthouse, Jonathan shouted, “You can take our pictures. We are the revolutionaries!” 


Operating with courage and calm even their enemies had to respect, the four Black freedom fighters 

commandeered their hostages out of the courthouse without a hitch. The plan was to use the hostages to take 

over a radio station and broadcast the racist, murderous prison conditions and demand the immediate release of 

The Soledad Brothers. But before Jonathan could drive the van out of the parking lot, the San Quentin guards 

arrived and opened fire. When the shooting stopped, Jonathan, Christmas, McClain and the judge lay dead. 

Magee and the prosecutor were critically wounded, and one juror suffered a minor arm wound. 


Magee survived his wounds and was tried originally with co-defendant Angela Davis. Their trials were later 

severed and Davis was eventually acquitted of all charges. Magee was convicted of simple kidnap and remains 

in prison to date—37 years with no physical assaults on his record. An incredible jailhouse lawyer, Magee has 

been responsible for countless prisoners being released—the main reason he was kept for nearly 20 years in one 

lockup after another. He is currently at Corcoran State Prison, having been recently transferred from Pelican 

Bay, remains strong and determined to win his freedom and that of all oppressed peoples. 


In his second book, Blood In My Eye, published posthumously, Jackson noted: “Reformism is an old story in 

Amerika. There have been depressions and socio-economic political crises throughout the period that marked 

the formation of the present upper-class ruling circle, and their controlling elites. But the parties of the left were 

too committed to reformism to exploit their revolutionary potential....Fascism has temporarily succeeded under 

the guise of reform.” Those words ring even truer today as we witness a form of fascism that has replaced gas 

ovens with executions and torture chambers; plantations with prison industrial complexes deployed in rural 

white communities to perpetuate white supremacy and Black/Brown slavery. 


The concentration of wealth at the top is worse than ever: One percent now owns more wealth than that of the 

combined 95% of the U.S. population; individuals are so rich their wealth exceeds the total budgets of 

numerous nations—as they plunder the globe in the quest for more. 


“The fascist must expand to live. Consequently he has pushed his frontiers to the farthest lands and peoples.... 

I’m going to bust my heart trying to stop these smug, degenerate, primitive, omnivorous, uncivil—and anyone 

who would aid me, I embrace you.” 


“International capitalism cannot be destroyed without the extremes of struggle...We are the only ones...who can 

get at the monster’s heart without subjecting the world to nuclear fire. We have a momentous historical role to 

act out if we will. The whole world for all time in the future will love us and remember us as the righteous 

people who made it possible for the world to live on.... I don’t want to die and leave a few sad songs and a 

hump in the ground as my only monument. I want to leave a world that is liberated from trash, pollution, 

racism, nation-states, nation-state wars and armies, from pomp, bigotry, parochialism, a thousand different 

brands of untruth, and licentious, usurious economics.” (Soledad Brother) 


On August 21, 1971, after numerous failed attempts on his life, the State finally succeeded in assassinating 

George Jackson, then Field Marshall of the Black Panther Party, in what was described by prison officials as an 

escape attempt in which Jackson allegedly smuggled a gun into San Quentin in a wig. That feat was proven 

impossible, and evidence subsequently suggested a setup designed by prison officials to eliminate Jackson once 

and for all. 


However, they didn’t count on losing any of their own in the process. On that fateful day, three notoriously 

racist prison guards and two inmate turnkeys were also killed.  Jackson was shot and killed by guards as he drew

fire away from the other prisoners in the Adjustment Center (lockup) of San Quentin. 


Subsequently, six A/C prisoners were singled out and put on trial -- wearing 30 lbs of chains in Marin 

courthouse—for various charges of murder and assault: Fleeta Drumgo, David Johnson, Hugo L.A. Pinell 

(Yogi), Luis Talamantez, Johnny Spain, and Willie Sundiata Tate. Only one was convicted of murder, Johnny 

Spain. The others were either acquitted or convicted of assault. Pinell is the only one remaining in prison and 

has suffered prolonged torture in lockups since 1969. He is currently serving his 10th year in Pelican Bay’s 

SHU, a torture chamber if ever there was one. A true warrior, Pinell would put his life on the line to defend his 

fellow captives. 


As decades passed, our Black scholars, like Mumia Abu-Jamal, learned of other liberation moves that happened 

in Black August. E.g., the first and only armed revolution whereby Africans freed themselves from chattel 

slavery commenced on August 21, 1791 in Haiti. Nat Turner’s slave rebellion began on August 21, 1831 

(coincidence?), and Harriet Tubman’s Underground Railroad started in August. As Mumia stated, “Their 

sacrifice, their despair, their determination and their blood has painted the month Black for all time.”


Let us honor our martyred freedom fighters as George Jackson counselled: “Settle your quarrels, come together, 

understand the reality of our situation, understand that fascism is already here, that people are already 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”