August 7, 1970 — 44th Anniversary of the Marin California Courthouse Slave Rebellion

by Kiilu Nyasha, director, “Freedom is a Constant Struggle”

2014 marks the 44th anniversary of the Marin Courthouse Slave Rebellion and the 35th anniversary of Black August, first organized in 1979 to honor our fallen freedom fighters, Jonathan and George Jackson, Khatari Gaulden, James McClain, William Christmas, and the sole survivor of the August 1970 Courthouse Rebellion, Ruchell Cinque Magee.


George Jackson

A time to embrace the principles of unity and resistance, Black August had its origins in the “Black Movement” behind prison walls in the Sixties, led by George Jackson, W. L. Nolen, Hugo Pinell, and many other conscious, standup brothers who made it safe for Blacks to walk the yards of California’s overtly racist prisons.

On August 7, 1970, news of the revolutionary action hit the front pages of newspapers around the world.  Pictures of four young Black men emerging from the Marin courthouse with guns and hostages, provoked panic in some, but most Black folks took great pride and inspiration from the sight of courageous resistance to the ongoing brutality and murder of Blacks inside and outside of prison. Continue reading

World Premiere of the film “Black August: A Hip-Hop Documentary Concert” in New York

The trailer of the film:

August 26 at the Walter Reade Theater at Lincoln Center in New York, the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement in conjunction with ImageNation hosted the world premiere of the film “Black August: A Hip-Hop Documentary Concert,” directed by dream hampton. The night included a performance by Ghanian emcee Blitz the Ambassador and featured an ending discussion with Lumumba Bandele, Marc Lamont Hill, Talib Kweli, and former Black Panther, Dhoruba Bin Wahad.

News One talked with Malcolm X Grassroots Movement founder and director, Lumumba Bandele about Black August, international hip-hop exchange, and the makings of the film.

Q. How did Black August start and what’s the mission?

A. The Black August hip hop project started in 1998 at the request of two political exiles Nahanda Abiodun and Assata Shakur, both in Cuba, who had spoken to myself and two other brothers, Kofi Taha who was representing Students for Jericho and another brother, Clyde Valentine who was working with Stress magazine. We were all down for the World Youth Festival and both the exiles had asked us for a way to utilize rap music as a way to both raise awareness around political prisoners in the US and to raise resources and funds to fund that work. Another objective is to connect hip hop communities around the globe so we would travel to hip hop communities in Cuba, in South Africa, in Tanzania, in Brazil and have cultural exchange and establish some networks that would allow us to move our human rights work in all communities forward. Continue reading

Commemorating Black August: George Jackson, murdered at San Quentin Prison, 8/21/71

A Program by the Freedom Archives


Produced in 2001, 30 Years After the Murder of George Jackson:

A 29-minute documentary about the origins of the
modern anti-prison movement in the U.S.

August 21st, 2001 marked the 30th anniversary of the murder of George Jackson in San Quentin prison. Through his writings and leadership inside, George Jackson embodies the legacy of the prison movement.

Who was George Jackson?
Why was he targeted by the prison administration?
What makes him important to the anti-prison movement today?

Featuring historical materials, including George Jackson, from the Freedom Archives. Other voices include:

  • Angela Davis, UC Santa Cruz professor, who supported George & Jonathan Jackson
  • David Hilliard, former Black Panther Party leader
  • Ruchell Magee, prison activist and leader, still in prison for his political activities
  • Georgia Jackson, mother of George and Jonathan Jackson
  • Harry Belafonte, performer and human rights activist
  • James Baldwin, outspoken writer and social activist
  • David Johnson, Hugo Pinell, Luis Talamantez and Sundiata Tate, all charged with the San Quentin rebellion following the murder of George Jackson
  • Narrated by Jonathan Jackson, Jr.

Knowing what happened in the early 1970s prison movement is essential for youth, communities of color and progressives to effectively confront today’s unprecedented prison growth. We bring you this history through the voices of the people who were there – taking young people back to a time that, in today’s context, seems unimaginable. Continue reading

Malcolm X Grassroots Movement Returns with Largest Hip-Hop Benefit Concert for Human Rights of US Political Prisoners

[BLACK AUGUST is the annual commemoration of the resistance of US political prisoners.  The commemoration takes many forms and has grown nationwide and internationally.  Background on the history of Black August can be found at–Frontlines ed]


NEW YORK, NY (July 28, 2010)—-On August 13, 2010 Malcolm X Grassroots Movement’s (MXGM) Black August Hip-Hop Project will produce its 13th Annual Benefit Concert at Highline Ballroom in New York City. The 2010 Black August Hip Hop Benefit Concert continues a long tradition as the only hip-hop show of its caliber for the benefit and awareness of U.S. political prisoners. This year’s concert goers will be endowed with live performances by Dead Prez, Cody Chestnutt, Pharoahe Monch, Sadat X, Hasan Salaam, Homeboy Sandman, and special surprise guests. This show will begin promptly at 9pm and tickets are currently available for $15 in advance and $20 at the door, all of which will be donated. Continue reading

Black August: A story of African freedom fighters

[Originally published during the commemoration of Black August 2009, the following article traces the historic background of this annual remembrance of the struggle of political prisoners in the US, highlighted by the modern “slave revolts”  of 1971.-ed]

San Francisco Bay View –

by Kiilu Nyasha


George Jackson

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 30th 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 Aug. 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.

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 ‘60s, led by George Jackson and W.L. Nolen, among others. Continue reading