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Black August: A Celebration of Freedom Fighters

August 11, 2006



The month of August gained special significance and importance in the Black Liberation Movement beginning with a courageous attempt by Jonathan Jackson to demand the freedom of political prisoners, which the Soledad Brothers’ case was the center of attention. On August 7, 1970, Jonathan Jackson, William Christmas, James McClain, and Ruchell Magee were gunned down at the Marin County California Courthouse that attempt for freedom. Ruchell Magee remains the sole survivor of that bid for liberation, he also remains a POW in the California prison system doing life. Though this rebellion was put down by gory pigs and their agents, it was internalized within the hearts and minds of the people on the outside in the larger prison as well as those in the concentration camps (prisons), internalized in the same fashion as we honor other heroic African Freedom Fighters, who sacrificed their lives for the people and their liberation.

On August 21, 1971, almost exactly a year following the slave rebellion at Marin County Courthouse, George L. Jackson (older brother of Jonathan Jackson as well as one of the Soledad Brothers) whose freedom was the primary demand of the Marin rebellion, was assassinated at/San Quentin prison in an alleged escape put forth by prison administration and the state to cover its conspiracy. Comrade ‘George Jackson was a highly respected and influential leader in the Revolutionary Prison Movement. Jackson was also very popular beyond prison, not only because he was a Soledad Brother, but also because of the book he authored appropriately entitled “Soledad Brother.” This book not only revealed to the public the inhumane and degrading conditions in prison, he more importantly, correctly pointed to the real cause of those effects in prison as well as in society, a decadent capitalist system that breeds off racism and oppression.

On August 1, 1978, brother Jeffery “Khatari” Gualden, a Black Freedom Fighter and POW, captured within the walls of San Quentin was a victim of assassination by capitalist-corporate medical politics. Khatari was another popular and influential leader in the Revolutionary Prison Movement.

An important note must be added here and that is, the Black August Concept and Movement that it is part of and helping to build is not limited to our sisters and brothers that are currently captured in the various prison kamps throughout California. Yet without a doubt it is inclusive of these sisters and brothers and moving toward a better understanding of the nature and relationship of prison to oppressed and colonized people.

So it should be clearly understood that Black August is a reflection and commemoration of history; of those heroic partisans and leaders that realistically made it possible for us to survive and advance to our present level of liberation struggle. People such as: Nat Turner, Harriet Tubman, Gabril Prosser, Frederick Douglas, W.E.B. DuBois, Marcus Garvey, Paul Roberson, Rosa ?arks, M.L. King, Malcolm X, and numerous others in our more contemporary period. It must be further clarified that when we speak of “culture development,” we are not advocating Cultural Nationalism an or merely talking about adopting African names, jewelry, dashikis, e c. Our primary interest lies not only in where we came from, but the nature of “WHY” we were forcefully brought here, understanding the character of “CONTINUOUS” struggle with the recognition that it is a protracted struggle and developing the necessary lifestyles to guarantee its success.


1.) A fast which historically has been used as an expression of personal commitment and resistance. Hence, from sunrise until evening meal we will abstain from eating.

2.) We abstain from consuming any type of intoxicants for the entire month of August. The necessity for this should be self-evident for all serious participants of Black August.

3.) We limit our selection of television and radio to educational programs, i.e. news, documentaries and cultural programs, etc.

4.) During BA we emphasize political and cultural studies for individuals involved in BA. Participants in BA should pair off with someone else you know to study and share knowledge of African affairs.

5.) As an outward expression of BA we wear a Black arm band on the left arm or wrist as a tribute to those Africans who have died as a result of their sacrifice for African Liberation. The arm band can be worn either on the inside or outside of your clothing.

Black August is a revolutionary concept. Therefore, all revolutionaries, nationalists and others who are committed to ending oppression should actively participate in Black August. Such participation not only begins to build the bridges of international solidarity, but it is through such solidarity that we strengthen ourselves to struggle for victory.

James “Doc” Holiday
P.O. Box 1000
Marion, IL 62959 USA

george portrait.jpg

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