I’ve been taking part in Black August activities since about 1989 and it has been a tradition here at Holman prison for the last ten years of so to observe Black August.
Black August began in the 1970s as Black August Memorial in the california prison system by the Black Guerrilla Family in remembrance and celebration of their comrades who had fallen in the struggle for black liberation. Black August Memorial has been reserved for members of the Black Guerrilla Family.
But, Black August Resistance was later added to encompass all the acts of Black resistance against oppression in the month of August.
Here, we organized two events for the entire population, but not as many prisoners attended as in previous years. There were dynamic speakers, poets, singers, rappers and a trivia where participants could win prizes.
The best part was when one speaker gave a rundown of acts of resistance such as Nat Turner’s rebellion on August 21, 1831 and showed the continuum to George Jackson, and Jonathan Jackson’s raid on the Marin County Courthouse to free revolutionary prisoners on August 7, 1971.
Although the turnout was small we had a wonderful, educating and radicalizing time, with excellent food. We shared noodles, brown rice, cheese, beans, corn chips, chopped onions wrapped in flour tortillas. Most of the good was expropriated from the prison’s kitchen.
Black August is significant in the sense that it passes on the legacy of struggle and black liberation to new generations. The state would love to erase the history of black resistance to oppression and we can’t allow this.
i and a couple of others observed Black August Resistance by fasting once a week, exercising and reading liberating literature.
Long Live the Black Guerrillas!