Sunday, June 21, 2020

Watch the new short film: Heroes - A Conversation with Albert Woodfox and Robert King

Heroes - A Conversation with Albert Woodfox and Robert King from Shebafilms Kelly Saxberg on Vimeo.

Heroes: A Conversation with Albert Woodfox and Robert King is a short video being released at this time to highlight another dimension of the protests taking place around the world supporting Black Lives Matter and to draw attention to racism in criminal justice systems around the world.

In March, 2017, Kelly Saxberg and Ron Harpelle recorded a conversation with Albert Woodfox and Robert King during their visit to Thunder Bay, Ontario. Kelly Saxberg and Ron Harpelle are independent filmmakers who produced “Hard Time,” a documentary film about Robert King.

Albert Woodfox and Robert King are the surviving members of the Angola 3 and, along with Herman Wallace, they spent a combined total of 114 years in solitary confinement for crimes they did not commit. Their real “crime” was being black in the U.S. and organizing the only prison chapter of the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense. Most of their time was spent in the Louisiana State Penitentiary, which is located on a former slave plantation known as Angola.

Robert King was released in 2001 after 29 years in solitary, Herman Wallace was released after 42 years on October 1, 2013 and he died of cancer three days later, and Albert Woodfox saw freedom in February 2016 after almost 44 years in a six-by-nine cell for 23 hours a day.

Since their release, both Albert Woodfox and Robert King have authored critically acclaimed autobiographies and they continue to fight for reforms in the criminal justice system.

In March 2017 they were invited by researchers at Lakehead University to participate in a panel discussion on solitary confinement in Canada. That discussion can be viewed on our Facebook page Robert King - Hard Time. The introduction is a re-edited section of “Hard Time,” a documentary about Robert King by Ron Harpelle and Kelly Saxberg.

Monday, May 4, 2020

Albert Woodfox and Leslie George nominated for a Pulitzer Prize

Albert Woodfox's 2019 memoir "Solitary," co-written with Leslie George, was nominated as a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize in the category of "General Nonfiction."

Congratulations to the General Nonfiction winners Greg Grandin and Anne Boyer!

Read the New York Times article here.

Thursday, April 2, 2020

A3 Newsletter: DECARCERATE!!!!

A funny thing happened on the way to getting our Spring newsletter out...

The whole universe stopped and all of a sudden, there are now more people in lockdown then ever before- albeit, it's lockdown at home, which in almost every instance is far better than a 6x9 cell. However, it's a form of isolation that most of our supporters, friends and family never dreamt they'd be experiencing.

Albert and King are sanguine as always, using the skills they honed in decades of lockdown and appreciating the perks of locking down on the outside.

We'd hoped the March newsletter would have been filled with all the special events that Albert was attending and the awards and honors he is receiving, as well as an update on King and Kenyatta's building project. Unfortunately due to circumstances beyond our control, just about everything has been postponed, cancelled, modified, televised or simply forgotten about. Albert should have been in Marin doing a special keynote for Marin College's Umoja program a few days ago. The New Orleans ACLU was then planning to honor him at their annual event on April 2nd.

At this point, things are looking pretty quiet, at least through June. As many of us are discovering, things like staying home, breaking our routines and not being able to visit and travel, has both it's upsides and it's downsides.

For Albert, it's an opportunity to spend some time at home, resting. He's been on the go since his release and this is a rare opportunity to rest. King and Kenyatta's plans to open their space soon have been upended, but the work on their project continues and they hope to be able to be open by Fall.

We asked Albert and King about how they managed to endure decades in a small box. They have some advice for those of us new to 'sheltering in place.'

First, develop a routine, something that provides some structure to the day and keeps you engaged in some activity.

, exercise as much as possible. Move your body!

Third, take the time you have to learn new things. Albert and King did this through reading, reading and more reading. Those of us at home with an internet connection can take online classes, watch you tube videos and more. This is a great opportunity to expand your skills and horizons.

Fourth, communicate with your loved ones by phone, letter, or online conferencing. With all the technology at most people's disposal, there's no reason to be totally isolated.

Finally, King recommends giving yourself time to sleep and dream :-)