34 years in solitaryHello my dear brothers and sisters who are being held there in England. I am serving a life sentence plus 99 years without parole at Louisiana State Penitentiary Angola. I grew up in a rural community in the northern section of Baton Rouge, in a town by the name of Zachary. At a young age I became a community activist and fought against racial oppression and racist attacks by the KKK, the terrorists of the 60s and 70s. In 1975 I was captured by the modern day slave catchers, the police, and arrested and falsely accused of robbing a store.
Whilst being held over for arraignment I was charged with the 1973 murder of the mayor of the town. With fabricated evidence I was tried in 1976 & 1977, convicted and sentenced to life plus 99 years without parole. Shortly after I was transferred here to Angola. This is known as the bloodiest prison in the nation and racial tension is very high. I wasn’t here a good hot hour when I was jumped by the plantation overseers because I resisted one of them who threw my only photo of my recently deceased mother into the trash. I was bum-rushed, put in full restraints and hauled off to solitary confinement (CCR) after being taken before the Classification Board.
While in CCR I met some beautiful soldiers. Mostly because the unit was classified as a ‘militant’ unit by administration we had Black Panthers and black Muslims down here. I met and became friends with Robert King, Herman Wallace and Albert Woodfox, who had founded the Angola chapter of the Black Panther Party (BBP). Later I joined the Party and immediately had to go into the shadows because Panthers were being set up to be murdered, framed on false charges and their names being given to the FBI. So for my own protection I had to work in the shadows. My job was to take messages to other Panthers whilst on call-outs – doctors, visits, dentist, etc – and bring messages back. And to have comrade Woodfox’s back in all situations. I did my job so well that my comrades started calling me the ‘Minister of information’ The BBP organised to protest gang violence, rape and prison conditions.
My comrade, Robert King, was held in solitary confinement for 29 years before being exonerated in 2001 of a prison murder that he had been falsely accused of. On April 7th Albert and Herman will have been held for 40 years in solitary. I, myself, have been held in solitary for 34 years come this July. I have been told by my many friends there in England that nobody in your prison system has been held in solitary confinement for anywhere near the amount of time that I have. But in America we still have a master-slave mentality when it comes to punishing `people of colour. But families of prisoners have finally started to get involved and protest against the brutal way we are being treated in these modern-day plantation prisons. Occupy 4 Prisoners was held just outside the gate of San Quentin and more protests are planned throughout the country.
Thank you for this opportunity to reach out to my brothers and sisters who are being held behind enemy lines across the big pond. Peace. And never surrender hope.