Black August originated in the concentration camps (prisons) of California in 1979 and its’ roots come from the history of resistance by Black/New African/African brothers in those prisons. Its original purpose is to honor and commemorate the lives and deaths of several fallen Freedom Fighters, amongst them were Jonathan Jackson, George Jackson, W.L. Nolan, James McClain, William Christmas and Khatari Gaulden; to bring education and awareness about the conditions for the Black/New Afrikan prisoners held within those concentration camps and to educate people about and honor the history and actions of continued resistance of Black/New Afrikan/Afrikan peoples to oppression, colonization and slavery in the U.S. and throughout the Diaspora, with particular emphasis on freedom fighters and historical acts of resistance.
The contemporary historical roots of Black August can be found in the actions of Jonathan Jackson who was gunned down outside the Marin County California courthouse on August 7, 1970 as he attempted to liberate three imprisoned Black Liberation Fighters: James McClain, William Christmas and Ruchell Magee. Ruchell Magee (who is still imprisoned in California to this day) is the sole survivor of the August 7th rebellion. He is the former co-defendant of Angela Davis and has been locked down for 40 plus years, most of it in solitary confinement in the SHU in Pelican Bay.
George Jackson was assassinated on August 21, 1971 by San Quentin prison guards. The assassination was a deliberate move on behalf of the US government to eliminate the revolutionary leadership of George Jackson. In the midst of the governments set up orchestrated to murder George, three prison guards were killed in a counter rebellion. The government charged six Black and Latino prisoners with the guard’s deaths. These six brothers became known as the San Quentin Six (who were later acquitted of all charges).
It is with this in mind that RAM will host an event for Black August to learn, study, and commemorate the struggle. Black August is a time to embrace the principles of unity, self-sacrifice, political education, physical training and resistance. With this in mind we are calling on people to join us in commemoration.