Providence, R.I.: Black August commemorated

The people gathered for the annual Black August: Culture-Convos-CommUNITY — A Commemorative Perspective on Black August and the Struggle for Liberation here on Aug. 24. 

Kumasi, the official historian of the Black August Organizing Committee, said of the meaning behind Black August: “Black August originated in the California penal system to honor fallen Freedom Fighters, Jonathan Jackson, George Jackson, William Christmas, James McClain and Khatari Gaulden.

“Jonathan Jackson was gunned down outside the Marin County, California, courthouse on Aug. 7, 1970, as he attempted to liberate three imprisoned Black Liberation fighters — James McClain, William Christmas and Ruchell Magee — who is the sole survivor of that armed liberation attempt. He is the former co-defendant of Angela Davis and has been locked down for 38 years [now 45 years], most of it in solitary confinement.

“George Jackson was assassinated by prison guards during a Black prison rebellion at San Quentin on August 21, 1971.” (

Comrade John Prince, co-organizer of Behind the Walls, opened the Aug. 24 forum with the Universal Drum Call and Libation/Reflections on the Pioneers, Warriors and Ancestors: Ubuntu & Uhuru! The Behind the Walls Committee was found by prisoners at the Adult Correctional Institute in Rhode Island in 1998.

The program included a screening of “Days of the Gun,” detailing the life and revolutionary growth of George Jackson. In the film Jackson states, “I met Marx, Lenin, Trotsky, Engels and Mao when I entered prison and they redeemed me.” 

An intergenerational dialogue followed on the historical and emerging intersections of solidarity across our movements today. Jim Vincent of the NAACP moderated. Attendees and speakers included Sister Raffini, City Councillor Mary Kay Harris, mYia X, Rochelle Lee, Bill Bateman, Hannah R. and Brother Everett Mohammad of the Nation of Islam.

Organizers of the event and the CommUNITY expressed gratitude and appreciation to the Amos House for their ongoing support and offering of the facility. The forum also saluted the vendors, program and resource tables, and volunteers who contributed to the gathering.

Workers World Party members, mYia X and Phebe Eckfeldt, co-organized and presented an interactive, revolutionary mini-exhibit highlighting Workers World archives on Black August and the Attica prisoner uprising. It included historic Workers World newspapers, literature, books, a video on Shaka Sankofa, T-shirts and buttons. 

The exhibit was well received by those in attendance as they took pictures, videos, inquired and shared their thoughts. A youth who participated in the dialogue was presented with a WWP “Intro to Revolutionary Studies” gift bag that held WWP literature and a T-shirt.

What’s the call? Free ‘em all! Abolish capitalism! Human needs, NOT war and greed!

Long Live Revolution! Hasta la Victoria, Siempre!

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