By Ashley Wennerstrom
I first wrote to Herman Wallace and Albert Woodfox after seeing In the Land of the Free last spring and learning of the horrendous injustices the Angola 3 have suffered. I felt compelled to offer my support and admiration for their commitment to social justice. Within just a few days, I received a response from Herman (Albert wrote me a beautiful letter the following week) and we began to exchange letters on a weekly basis. After several months of sparring about political philosophy, discussing literature, and discovering unexpected similarities, I was delighted when Herman asked me to join him for a special visit.
Two days before our scheduled visit, I received a letter from Herman explaining that he had not yet been notified of whether our visit was approved. I had to call the prison the morning I hoped to see him to learn that permission had indeed been granted. Upon my arrival at Elayn Hunt Correctional Center, staff informed me I was not on Mr. Wallace’s visiting list and would not be allowed to enter. I persisted, and staff eventually located my name on their list of approved special visitors. I was instructed to pass through a metal detector and was given a full body pat down before boarding the bus to the maximum security prison.