[sixties-l] 30th Anniversary of George Jackson's Assassination

From: radtimes (resist@best.com)
Date: Tue Aug 28 2001 - 23:17:30 EDT

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    30th Anniversary of George Jackson's Assassination

    August 21: A Day to Remember

    by Karen Lee Wald <kwald@infomed.sld.cu>

    Thirty years ago, on August 21, 1971, guards at San Quentin Prison,
    California, shot and killed Black prison inmate and writer George Jackson.
    For the next several days they beat, tortured and terrorized the remaining
    prisoners. Six of the survivors were later charged with having assaulted
    and killed several guards in the uprising that failed the murder of George

    The assassination of this Black prison leader was both the culmination and
    the initiation of the prison movement. George Jackson went from the
    obscurity of being just another young black man marginalized by the system
    and imprisoned for his marginalization (an indeterminate, life-maximum
    sentence for sitting in a car while its other occupant stole $70 from a gas
    station cash register -- with or without Jackson's knowledge), to the
    California Penal System's most famous, and most threatening, inmate.
    Famous, because when George and 2 other inmates in Soledad Prison were
    accused of killing a guard in retaliation for the shooting deaths of three
    other unarmed prisoners in 1970, a book of his poignant and articulate
    prison letters circled the globe. Threatening to the prison officials,
    guards, and those they served, because not only did he make millions aware
    of the conditions in California prisons -- he succeeded in uniting prisoners
    of all races against their common oppressor.

    That's why the men who run the prison system and those who benefit from it
    had to kill him.

    His death, far from ending prisoner unity and outside support, multiplied
    it. Two weeks later, Black, White and Puerto Rican prisoners in Attica
    Prison, New York staged the most massive prison uprising in US history --
    speaking out against the assassination of George Jackson and the prison
    conditions he had so effectively denounced. The State of New York responded
    with typical, wanton brutality, leaving the prison yard strewn with the dead
    and wounded, men who only wanted to be heard to demand basic human rights.

    His life and death led to other spin-offs, as well. Angela Davis, accused of
    having masterminded and supplied the guns used by George Jackson's teenage
    brother Jonathan in a 1970 attempt to free the Soledad Brothers, was
    captured and underwent her own trial. The jury in her case saw through the
    lies and brutality of the police and prisons, and acquitted her -- as they
    later did with the surviving Soledad Brothers and most of the San Quentin 6.

    On August 21, 1971, the prison guards shot and killed a man, George Jackson.
    But the prison movement he inspired did not die so easily. Wherever men and
    women are unjustly imprisoned, they recall his defiant and unitary spirit.

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