From Wed Aug 23 07:00:57 2006
Date: 23 Aug 2006 10:51:52 -0000
Subject: imap Digest of: get.11664

Date: Mon, 21 Aug 2006 22:12:24 -0500 (CDT)
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Subject: [NYTr] Remembering the Life and Death of George Jackson
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Activists Commemorate the Life and Death of George Jackson

Radio Havana Cuba, 21 August 2006

Chicago, August 21 (RHC)— African-American activists in the United States are commemorating the life and death of George Jackson, a political prisoner who became a member of the Black Panther Party while in prison. He was killed on this date in 1971—35 years ago.

Born in Chicago, Illinois, George Jackson grew up in poverty. Many observers say it was poverty and racism which propelled him into desperate acts. He was convicted and sentenced to one year to life in prison at the age of 18 for stealing $70 from a gas station.

While at San Quentin State Prison in 1966, he founded the Black Guerrilla Family, a Marxist prison organization. The goals of the group were to eradicate racism, to maintain dignity in prison and to end the imperialist policies of the United States government.

On January 13, 1970, along with Fleeta Drumgo and John Clutchette, he was charged with murdering a guard in retaliation for the killing of three Black activists by a guard at California's Soledad Prison. He was incarcerated in the maximum-security cellblock at Soledad, and George Jackson and the other two prisoners became known as the “Soledad Brothers.”

Isolated in solitary confinement for 23 hours a day, Jackson studied political economy and radical theory and wrote two books—Soledad Brother: The Prison Letters of George Jackson and Blood in My Eye—both becoming bestsellers.

On August 21, 1971, George Jackson was gunned down in the prison yard at San Quentin in what officials described as an “escape attempt.” The official report said that George Jackson had a 9 mm automatic pistol alleged to have been smuggled into the prison by his attorney. The lawyer, Stephen Bingham, was eventually acquitted of charges related to the incident.

According to guards at the prison, the alleged weapon was discarded after the escape attempt, but no record was ever made of the weapon's destruction. Some other prisoners who witnessed the incident claim that there was no weapon and that George Jackson had not been planning any escape.