Friday, August 28, 2009
This special commemorative A3 newsletter includes a piece by Herman entitled To Serve the People: Angola 3 Celebrates Common Cause with Common Ground, and two recent articles, Homeless and Struggling In New Orleans by Jordan Flaherty, and The Hidden History of Katrina by James Ridgeway.
Make levees, not war. -International Coalition to Free the Angola 3
Read the full newsletter here.
Sunday, August 23, 2009
We are excited to announce the launching of the www.angola3news.com network of websites. This is an official project of the International Coalition to Free the
Several new art projects and exhibits focusing on the
The Case of the
(Photo of the Angola 3: left to right, Herman Wallace, Robert King, and Albert Woodfox)
37 years ago, deep in rural
Peaceful, non-violent protest in the form of hunger and work strikes organized by inmates, caught the attention of
In July 2008 a Federal Judge overturned Albert Woodfox's conviction after a Federal Judicial Magistrate found his trial was unfair due to inadequate representation, prosecutorial misconduct, suppression of exculpatory evidence, and racial discrimination in the grand jury selection process. Sadly, despite this powerful recommendation, Louisiana prosecutors maintain that Albert should remain in Angola for the rest of his life. Attorney General Buddy Caldwell responded by appealing to the US Fifth Circuit. In December, the Fifth Circuit granted Caldwell’s request to deny Woodfox bail, but indicated sympathy for the overturning of the conviction, writing: "We are not now convinced that the State has established a likelihood of success on the merits." On March 3, 2009, oral arguments were heard by appellate Judges Carolyn Dineen King, Carl E. Steart and Leslie H. Southwick, and a decision from them is now expected any month. If the three judge panel affirms the overturning of Woodfox’s conviction, the state will have 120 days to either accept the ruling or to retry Woodfox. The state has already vowed to retry him if necessary. If the Fifth Circuit rules for the state, Woodfox’s conviction will be reinstated.
Similarly, in November 2006, a State Judicial Commissioner took the rare step of issuing a 27-page report recommending the reversal of Herman Wallace's conviction because of new, compelling evidence exposing prosecutorial misconduct. After stalling for nearly a year, the local District Court issued a curt, two-sentence ruling rejecting the Commissioner's recommendation. In May 2008 the appellate court continued to ignore justice by refusing to hear the case in a 2-1 decision without any explanation. The one judge who dissented found the verdict should be overturned because Herman's constitutional rights were violated. The case is currently on appeal to the Louisiana Supreme Court and a ruling is expected in coming months. If the appellate court agrees with the Commissioner's findings and reverses the conviction, and if the District Attorney of Baton Rouge can be convinced not to file new charges, Herman will, at long last, be a free man.
Despite a number of reforms achieved in the mid 70s in response to condemnations of the State of Louisiana's criminal justice system from all three branches of state government, many court officials have repeatedly refused to take a serious look at these cases, stubbornly sided with local prosecutors despite evidence of misconduct, and ignored constitutional safeguards requiring prison officials to hold meaningful, mandatory 90-day reviews to justify keeping inmates in solitary confinement for any extended period of time. Any month, a federal civil rights lawsuit goes to trial, detailing the decades of unconstitutionally cruel and unusual punishment endured by these innocent men.
During the last few years there have been many important stories about the
In March, 2008, NBC Nightly News interviewed Robert King about his time spent in continuous solitary confinement, and also featured an interview with the widow of slain prison guard, who now questions the convictions of Woodfox and Wallace, and told NBC that she supports a new investigation into the case: “What I want is justice. If these two men did not do this, I think they need to be out.”
In October, 2008, a Peabody Award-wining National Public Radio (NPR) series on the case reported directly from
In December, 2008, The Huffington Post featured two articles about the
The second Huffington Post article was written by Ira Glasser, who is the former Executive Director of the ACLU. Glasser criticized the behavior of Louisiana Attorney General Buddy Caldwell, writing that following the October 2008 announcement that Woodfox’s niece had agreed to take him in if granted bail,
In March, 2009, Mother Jones published a long article by James Ridgeway, which was part of an entire Mother Jones series about the
In early May, 2009, Alternet released an article titled The Angola Three: Torture in Our Own Backyard, (translated into Spanish here) providing an overview of the case, as well as reviews of the new book From the Bottom of the Heap: The Autobiography of Robert Hillary King, and the new DVD The Angola 3: Black Panthers and the Last Slave Plantation. Later that month, a new interview with Robert King was also featured.
This month, the Why Am I Not Surprised? blog published an essay titled Black August and the Angola 3. One excerpt reads, "I've been talking with some VERY bright and VERY committed individuals connected to the campaign to free the last two members of the Angola 3, Albert ‘Shaka’ ‘Cinque’ Woodfox and Herman "Hooks" Wallace, who have now been held in solitary confinement here in Louisiana for more than 37 years -- for being Black Panthers. And I've begun to have phone conversations with Woodfox himself on a regular basis, as well."
Please Help Spread The Word!
Three court cases are now pending: the federal civil rights lawsuit at the US Middle District Court, Albert Woodfox’s appeal at the US Fifth Circuit, and Herman Wallace’s appeal at the State Supreme Court. At this pivotal time, the National Coalition to Free the
We are utilizing the resources of the internet to publicize the case of the
If you have advice about other websites we should consider networking at, or can help in any other way, please write us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Sept. 23, Wednesday:
At Busboys and Poets, 14th st, 6:30 pm, Washington DC
Sept. 24, Thursday:
At George Mason University, 4:30 pm, Fairfax VA
Sept. 25, Friday:
At Baltimore Bookfair, 6 pm (co-sponsored by Jericho)
Robert Hillary King's new book From the Bottom of the Heap: The Autobiography of Robert Hillary King is available for purchase from PM Press. King's autobiography won the 2008 PASS Award, and has been reviewed by SF Bay View, Black Commentator, Hour, Alternet, Political Media Review, La Presse, Albany Times Union, and The Times-Picayune
In 1970, a jury convicted Robert Hillary King of a crime he did not commit and sentenced him to 35 years in prison. He became a member of the Black Panther Party while in Angola State Penitentiary, successfully organizing prisoners to improve conditions. In return, prison authorities beat him, starved him, and gave him life without parole after framing him for a second crime. He was thrown into solitary confinement, where he remained in a six by nine foot cell for 29 years as one of the Angola 3. In 2001, the state grudgingly acknowledged his innocence and set him free. This is his story.
It begins at the beginning: born black, born poor, born in Louisiana in1942, King journeyed to Chicago as a hobo at the age of 15. He married and had a child, and briefly pursued a semi-pro boxing career to help provide for his family. Just a teenager when he entered the Louisiana penal system for the first time, King tells of his attempts to break out of this system, and his persistent pursuit of justice where there is none.
Yet this remains a story of inspiration and courage, and the triumph of the human spirit. The conditions in Angola almost defy description, yet King never gave up his humanity, or the work towards justice for all prisoners that he continues to do today. From the Bottom of the Heap, so simply and humbly told, strips bare the economic and social injustices inherent in our society, while continuing to be a powerful literary testimony to our own strength and capacity to overcome.
(PHOTO: The day of Robert King's release from Angola in 2001)
--To learn more about King, please visit his website: www.kingsfreelines.com
POETIC PANTHER PRODUCTIONS PRESENTS A NEW PLAY: "Angola 3"
In 1972 three Black Panthers were TARGETED as trouble makers, FRAMED for murders they did not commit and ISOLATED to SOLITARY CONFINEMENT for a total of 101 years and still counting.
Herman Wallace -State court commissioner recommended a new trial
Remains in Solitary Confinement - 36 years
Albert Woodfox - Guilty verdict overturned, remains in Solitary
Confinement - 36 years
Robert King - Exonerated after - 29 Years Solitary Confinement
LOYOLA UNIVERSITY NUNEMAKER HALL
8:00PM Fri. & Sat. SEPTEMBER 18 & 19
3:00PM Sun. SEPTEMBER 20, 2009
Learn what led to this amazing dramatization of this ongoing true life story.
In the early 1970’s, two men Herman Wallace and Albert Woodfox, prisoners of Angola La.
As members and organizers of the first and only sanctioned prison based chapter of the Black Panther Party they began organizing anti rape squads, work stoppages, hunger strikes, educational programs and uniting racially divided inmates.
This being considered counter productive by the “Freeman” who depended on the dehumanizing conditions, racial divide, distrust and terror to run daily activities in the prison, these organizers had to be stopped.
In 1972 a guard was murdered and two logical scapegoats were found, Wallace and Woodfox.
They were placed in solitary confinement under investigation for murder where they remained until March 22, 2008 when they were placed in a special dormitory created for maximum security prisoners.
Later in 1972 another member of the Black Panther Party, Robert King was transferred to
Because his reputation as a Black Panther and an organizer preceded him, he was immediately placed in solitary confinement held under investigation for the same murder as his two Comrades.
Those charges were dropped on Mr. King but while he remained in solitary confinement he was eventually framed and charged with the murder of another inmate.
In 2001 after serving 29 years in solitary confinement Mr. King’s verdict was overturned and he was exonerated of those charges. He now dedicates his life to working to free his Comrades and other political prisoners around the world. Mr. King’s focus in life remains “SOCIAL JUSTICE.”
Please help support this play: