This week on From the Vault we celebrate Black August, an informal log of events in African American resistance from slavery to the present, by examining the last two years in the life of George Jackson.
Arrested at the age of 18 for allegedly stealing $70.00 from a gas station, Jackson spent the last eleven years of his life in the California prison system, where he was killed on August 21, 1971 at the age of twenty nine. George Jackson wrote two books while in solitary confinement in those last two years, Soledad Brother and Blood in My Eye, both of which critiqued conditions inside prison, and effectively helped spark the Attica Prison riots and the modern prison reform movement.
Through our audio journey, we hear commentary by Mumia Abu Jamal which highlights some of the events which help define Black August. Weâ€™ll listen to Bill Northwood of Pacifica Station KPFA in Berkeley explain the circumstances in which George Jackson and two other inmates were removed from the normal prison population in January of 1970 and placed into solitary confinement. Legendary KPFA Public Affairs Director Elsa Knight Thompson weighs in and Pacifica Producer Max Bloom travels to San Quentin Prison on July 28th, 1971 to speak with George Jackson with his trial less than a month away.
\"Sent him off to prison
For a seventy-dollar robbery.
Closed the door behind him
And they threw away the key.
Lord, Lord, They cut George Jackson down.
They laid him in the ground.\"
From the Vault is presented as part of the Pacifica Radio Archives Preservation and Access Project.