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

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