BLACK AUGUST: THE TRUE HISTORY, CULTURE AND PRACTICE and Seeking Truth in the War on the Black Liberation Movement

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BLACK AUGUST: THE TRUE HISTORY, CULTURE AND PRACTICE and Seeking Truth in the War on the Black Liberation Movement

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BLACK AUGUST: THE TRUE HISTORY, CULTURE AND PRACTICE and Seeking Truth in the War on the Black Liberation Movement

  1. 1. Seeking Truth in the War on the Black Liberation Movement In Conversation with Dr. Mutulu Shakur August 8, 2012BLACK AUGUST: THE TRUE HISTORY, CULTURE AND PRACTICE By Mama Ayanna Mashama
  2. 2. Seeking Truth in the War on the Black Liberation Movement In Conversation with Dr. Mutulu Shakur August 8, 2012BLACK AUGUST: THE TRUE HISTORY, CULTUREAND PRACTICE · By Mama Ayanna MashamaBLACK AUGUST: “Each year officially since 1979 we have used the month of August tofocus on the oppressive treatment of our brothers and sisters disappeared inside the staterun gulags and concentration camps America calls prisons. It is during this time that weconcentrate our efforts to free our mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, uncles, aunts, and allother captive family and friends who have been held in isolation for decade after decadebeyond their original sentence. Many of these individuals are held in the sensorydeprivation and mind control units called Security Housing Units (S.H.U. Program),without even the most basic of human rights.” - Black August Organizing Committee THEROOTS OF BLACK AUGUSTBlack August originated in the concentration camps (prisons) of California in 1979 and itsroots come from that history of resistance by Black/New African/African brothers in thoseprisons. Its original purpose is to honor and commemorate the lives and deaths of several fallenFreedom Fighters, amongst them were Jonathan Jackson, George Jackson, W.L. Nolan, JamesMcClain, William Christmas and Khatari Gaulden; to bring unity among Black/African/NewAfrican prisoners, and education and awareness to family members, friends, associates andcommunites about the conditions for the Black/New Afrikan prisoners held within thoseconcentration camps (in particular in California) and to educate our people about and honor thehistory 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 onprisoners, freedom fighters and their historical acts of resistance. BLACK AUGUST: THE TRUE HISTORY, CULTURE AND PRACTICE By Mama Ayanna Mashama
  3. 3. Seeking Truth in the War on the Black Liberation Movement In Conversation with Dr. Mutulu Shakur August 8, 2012The contemporary historical roots of Black August can be found in the actions of JonathanJackson 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 Californiato this day) is the sole survivor of the August 7th rebellion. He is the former co-defendant ofAngela Davis and has been locked down for 40 plus years, most of it in solitary confinement inthe SHU in Pelican Bay. George Jackson was assassinated on August 21, 1971 by San Quentinprison guards. The assassination was a deliberate move on behalf of the US government toeliminate the revolutionary leadership of George Jackson. In the midst of the governments set uporchestrated to murder George, three prison guards were killed in a counter rebellion. Thegovernment charged six Black and Latino prisoners with the guard’s deaths. These six brothersbecame known as the San Quentin Six (who were later acquitted of all charges).Khatari Gaulden, one of the key intellectual architects of the Black August commemorativetradition, was a prominent leader of the Black Guerilla Family (BGF) after Comrade George wasassassinated. Khatari was a leading force in the formation of Black August, particularly itshistorical and ideological foundations. Khatari, like many of the unnamed freedom fighters of theBGF and the revolutionary prison movement of the 1970s, was murdered. He was assassinatedby the malicious intent of the government to deny him medical treatment following a mysteriousaccident on the San Quentin Prison yard August 1, 1978. He was murdered to eliminate hisleadership and destroy the prison resistance movement.THE ORIGINS OF BLACK AUGUST:In the month Khataris transition, to honor him and to honor these fallen soldiers and therevolutionary vision and principles they embodied, brothers throughout the prison campsof California united together to continue their revolutionary work. They shaved their heads,wore black arm bands and in unity with the Black Muslim prisoners during Ramadan, fastedfrom Sunrise to Sunset.In August 1979, the first official Black August took place. The brothers and their familymembers, friends and supporters who participated in the collective founding of Black Augustwore black armbands on their left arm and studied revolutionary works, particularly those ofComrade George Jackson, many participated in the fasting for Ramadan. During the month ofAugust the brothers did not listen to the radio or watch television, additionally, they didnt eat ordrink anything from sun-up to sundown; and loud and boastful behavior was not allowed.Support for the prisons canteen was also disavowed. The use of drugs and alcoholic beverageswas prohibited and the brothers held daily exercises to sharpen their minds, bodies, and spirits inhonor of the collective principles of self-sacrifice, inner fortitude and revolutionary disciplineneeded to advance the New Afrikan struggle for self-determination and freedom. Black BLACK AUGUST: THE TRUE HISTORY, CULTURE AND PRACTICE By Mama Ayanna Mashama
  4. 4. Seeking Truth in the War on the Black Liberation Movement In Conversation with Dr. Mutulu Shakur August 8, 2012August therefore became a commemorative time to embrace the principles of communion,unity, self-sacrifice, political education, physical training and determined resistance. A select fewcommunity members joined them in solidarity.The intent among those who commemorated and practiced Black August was to educateourselves, our families and communities about the conditions of our family and communitymembers in prison and to create revolutionary consciousness and encourage the spirit ofresistance among themselves and our communities. This was in order to unify and continueand grow a strong prison movement to unify, resist and change the conditions in the prisons andthe conditions in our communities that were feed the growth of our people in the prisons and thevery real growth of the prison industrial comples (PIC). "It is still a time to embrace theprinciples of unity, self-sacrifice, political education, physical fitness and/or training in martialarts, resistance and spiritual renewal", while unifying, organizing and strategizing for freedomfor those family and community members behind the walls, and stop the program to havemillions of our young people on the "classroom to prison pipeline".August 1980; the Black August Organizing Committee (BAOC) held its first Black AugustCommemoration event at Marcus Bookstore in San Francisco with a revolutionary film showing,statements from prisoners, poetry and collective breaking of the fast. Members of the NationalBlack Human Rights Coalition, the New African Independance Movement, the Black Muslimcommunity and local defense committees, joined us in solidarity and unity to participate in theevent. All proceeds from the event were used to prison legal funds and to men and womenprisoners in the California penal system. It was that year that family and community memberscame together and started the practice of Black August study groups and community gardens.August 1981; BAOC held a Black August Commemorative Festival in San Antonio Park withspeakers, edutainment, book sales and free food give aways. It was that year that Black Augusthouse fundraisers and education events began. Again all fundraising proceeds were distributedamong prisoner legal funds and the brothers and sisters behind the walls.August 1982; the first official Black August demonstration in front of San Quentin. 8It must benoted that the community had held demonstrations in front of San Quentin since the year ofGeorge Jacksons death.THE BLACK AUGUST COMMEMORATION: BLACK AUGUST: THE TRUE HISTORY, CULTURE AND PRACTICE By Mama Ayanna Mashama
  5. 5. Seeking Truth in the War on the Black Liberation Movement In Conversation with Dr. Mutulu Shakur August 8, 2012Black August is a month of education, resistance and is of great commemorativesignificance for the Afrikan peoples of the Diaspora, particularly those in the U.S. andespecially the California prison isolation units, where the commemorative traditionoriginated. Black August , as noted by one our most dedicated New Afrikan Freedom Fighters,Mumia Abu-Jamal,” is a month of divine meaning, of repression and radical resistance, ofinjustice and divine justice; of repression and righteous rebellion; of individual and collectiveefforts to free the slaves and break the chains that bind us”.The tradition of fasting, studying and education during Black August was developed to helpinstill self-discipline and unity amongst its observers. The fast is also intended to serve as aconstant reminder of the sacrifices of our fallen Freedom Fighters, the conditons that our peopleface in prison and the ongoing oppression of our people throughout the Diaspora. Thecommemorative fast is from sunrise to sunset (generally from 6:00 am to 8:00 pm). The fastincludes refraining from drinking liquids and eating food of any kind. The meal to break the fastis shared whenever possible among comrades. Other forms of sacrifice are also encouraged toteach self-discipline and self-reflection, such as abstaining from sex or needless consumption(i.e. drug and alcohol use), refraining from listening to the corporate radio and watchingcorporate television . People are also encouraged to refrain from patronizing and using corporatebusinesses, gas stations, department stores, supermarkets and grocery stores. Traditionally a“Peoples’ Feast” is held on August 31st to honor the fallen and acknowledge our collectivesacrifices for the greater good.Early on, the Black August practice and tradition also observed not only the sacrifices ofthe brothers in California’s concentration camps, but to commemorate the acts of rebellionand resistance that occurred within the California Prison Camps and by other Black/NewAfrikan prisoners, prisoners of war and freedom fighters. Within the first year(s) of BlackAugust the sacrifices and struggles of our ancestors against white supremacy, colonialism, andimperialism were also included in the commemorative observation and practice. *It must beclear that the purpose of Black August as created by the founders was not to celebrate, butto observe by individual and collective fasting, studying, educating and community work,as well as political and cultural edutainment.Black August is a time to engage in self-reaffirming action to advance our struggle for self-determination and national liberation, and to commemorate actions of resistance, revolution andrebellion while promoting an understanding and awareness of what is happening to our people inprison and encouraging active and proactive acts of resistance. During Black August thecommunity is encouraged to join in the observation and commemoration. Not only are theactions of self-discipline suggested, but also community members and community organizationsare encouraged to come together, study and educate one another about resistance and liberationpast and present through studying, discussion, reading, DVD sharing, cultural edutainment, BLACK AUGUST: THE TRUE HISTORY, CULTURE AND PRACTICE By Mama Ayanna Mashama
  6. 6. Seeking Truth in the War on the Black Liberation Movement In Conversation with Dr. Mutulu Shakur August 8, 2012exercising, training and breaking fast together. Black August study groups are encouraged. It isstrongly suggested that we should write and/or visit someone in prison, to fund raise forand donate to the prisoners, political prisoners and prisoners of war.THE OBSERVATION AND COMMEMORATION OF BLACK AUGUST:To observe and commemorate Black August each individual is encouraged to:Fast for a suggested prolonged period or if really disciplined drink only water from sunrise untilafter sunset from the 1st until the 31st (Suggested hours are 8am to 6pm);Eat only one meal a day after sunset; On days called flea days, (1st, 7th, 13th and 21st), fast 24hours until next sunset.*Work out an exercise routine for each day either individually or in groups.*Do not use any drugs, smoke or ingest mind altering herbs or alcoholic beverages during theentire month.*Do not go to any corporate store for anything other than medical or health related items.*Do not watch TV or listen to radio from sunrise to sunsetDo not watch corporate television or movies at all*Do not patronize fast food or commercial eating establishments or vendors.*Eat healthy, natural and nutritious foods, beverages and meals.*Observe Black August through educational study groups, educational events, edutainment andcommemorations.*Contribute monies made from Black August events to men, women and youth in prison orprisoner legal funds*Educate your family, community and loved ones about what is happening to our people inprisons.*Visit and/or write someone in prison or jail. It is suggested to also write and support ourpolitical prisoners and prisoners of consciousness (this practice should be continued all year) BLACK AUGUST: THE TRUE HISTORY, CULTURE AND PRACTICE By Mama Ayanna Mashama
  7. 7. Seeking Truth in the War on the Black Liberation Movement In Conversation with Dr. Mutulu Shakur August 8, 2012BLACK AUGUST FASTING:Black August fasting is a New Afrikan tradition begun by the brothers inside that serves as aconstant reminder of the sacrafices made and the conditions our people have faced and still face.Fasting mentally disciplines us to control urges and the physical craving for food; fasting helpsus endure physical pain and discomfort. It is a reminder of what our Ancestars endured workingas captives in the fields of the colonizers. Ultimately physical strength can be gained from fastingif a regular exercise program is developed and continued beyond August. Also fasting increasesone’s abilities to break other addictions, like excessive cursing, and watching television. Fastingis uncomfortable at times, but it helps to remember all those who have come and gone before us.FASTING HEALTH NOTE: IF YOU ARE PREGNANT OR A BREASTFEEDINGMOTHER; HAVE HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE OR PRE-HYPERTENSIVE; IF YOU AREA DIABETIC OR PRE-DIABETIC; IF YOU HAVE A SERIOUS ILLNESS THATNECESSITATES THAT YOU TAKE MEDICATIONS; IF YOU HAVE ONGOINGPROBLEMS WITH YOUR KIDNEYS, BLADDER OR LIVER, IF YOU AREMENSTRUATING, DO NOT ABSTAIN FROM DRINKING WATER, DO NOT FASTFROM SUNRISE TO SUNSET! Instead, drink plenty of water, fruit and vegetable juices andeat small meals consisting of fresh fruit and vegetables, nuts and raw salads during the day sothat you keep yourself nourished, sustained and healthy. Do not partake of a fast without medicalsupervision or consulting with your health practicitioner.THE MOVEMENT OF BLACK AUGUST:In the early 1980’s under the leadership and practice of the Black August OrganizingCommittee (BAOC), the observance and practice of Black August spread from theconcentration camps of California and began being practiced by Black/New Afrikanrevolutionaries throughout the country .In alliance with the BAOC, members of the New Afrikan Independence Movement (NAIM)began practicing and spreading Black August during this period. The Malcolm X GrassrootsMovement (MXGM) inherited knowledge and practice of Black August from its parentorganization, the New Afrikan Peoples Organization (NAPO). MXGM began introducing theHip-Hop “generation” to Black August in the late 1990s after being inspired by the Cuban basedNew Afrikan political exile Nehanda Abiodun to start “Black August Hip Hop” benefit concertsto raise awareness about our captured and exiled Freedom Fighters, our Political Prisoners,Prisoners of War, and Political Exiles like Hugo Pinell, Ruchel Magee, Mutulu Shakur, SundiataAcoli, Sekou Odinga, the NY 3, the Move 9, Assata Shakur, and dozens more. The benefits fromthese political/cultural events go to the political prisoners and their legal funds. BLACK AUGUST: THE TRUE HISTORY, CULTURE AND PRACTICE By Mama Ayanna Mashama
  8. 8. Seeking Truth in the War on the Black Liberation Movement In Conversation with Dr. Mutulu Shakur August 8, 2012In the spirit of Black August organizations are encouraged to have political, cultural andeducational events and not celebrations or parties. Commemoration and observance is atotally different action than celebration and partying. Black August was designed and brought toour communities to educate, agitate and activate the spirit of revolution, resistance and rebellionin our people. Along with the Black August Organizing Committee, MXGM other organizationsand individuals are now observing and commemorating Black August all over the U.S. and theDiaspora including Oakland, San Francisco, New York, Philadelphia, Washington D.C., Atlanta,Los Angeles, Houston, Dallis, Austin, New Orleans, Cuba, Venezuela, Haiti, Tanzania, SouthAfrica and Brazil.A sampling of the racist oppression and “righteous rebellion” and “resistance to repression” thatdefine this commemorative month include:*The arrival of the first enslaved Afrikans to Jamestown, Virginia in August 1619;*The start of the great Haitian revolution in August 1791;*The call for a general strike by enslaved New Afrikans by Henry Highland Garnett on August22nd1843;*The initiation of the major network that conducted the Underground Railroad on August 2,1850;*Gabriel Prossers rebellion of August 30th, 1800.;*The rebellion of Nat “the Prophet” Turner on August 21st, 1831;*On August 3, 1908, the Allensworth Township for former slaves was established in California;*The March on Washington occurred in August of 1963;*The Watts rebellion of August 1965;*The defense of the Provisional Government of the Republic of New Afrika (PG – RNA) from aFBI assault in Mississippi on August 18, 1971;*The attack of the MOVE family by Philadelphia police on August 8, 1978. BLACK AUGUST: THE TRUE HISTORY, CULTURE AND PRACTICE By Mama Ayanna Mashama
  9. 9. Seeking Truth in the War on the Black Liberation Movement In Conversation with Dr. Mutulu Shakur August 8, 2012Black August is also a commemorative month of birth and transition. Dr. Mutulu Shakur (NewAfrikan prisoner of war), Pan-Africanist Leader Marcus Garvey, Maroon Russell Shoatz(political prisoner) and Chicago Black Panther Party Chairman Fred Hampton were born inAugust. The great New Afrikan revolutionary scholar and theoretician W.E.B. Dubois died inGhana on August 27, 1963. Khatari Gant the son of Original Black August OrganizingCommittee Members Mama Ayanna and Shaka At-Thinnin was murdered on August 4, 2007.REMEMBER AND COMMEMORATE THE MONTH OF BLACK AUGUST.BLACK AUGUST RESISTANCE!References:Portions of this writing were taken from historical articles written by:The Original Black August Organizing CommitteeBaba Shaka At-ThinninMama Ayanna MashamaThe Malcolm X Grassroots MovementJavad JahiFASTING HEALTH NOTE:IF YOU ARE PREGNANT OR A BREASTFEEDING MOTHER; HAVE HIGH BLOODPRESSURE OR PRE-HYPERTENSIVE; IF YOU ARE A DIABETIC OR PRE-DIABETIC; IFYOU HAVE A SERIOUS ILLNESS THAT NECESSITATES THAT YOU TAKEMEDICATIONS; IF YOU HAVE ONGOING PROBLEMS WITH YOUR KIDNEYS,BLADDER OR LIVER, IF YOU ARE MENSTRUATING, DO NOT ABSTAIN FROMDRINKING WATER, DO NOT FAST FROM SUNRISE TO SUNSET! Instead, drink plenty ofwater, fruit and vegetable juices and eat small meals consisting of fresh fruit and vegetables andraw salads during the day so that you keep yourself nourished, sustained and healthy. Do notpartake of a fast without medical supervision or consulting with your health practicitioner. BLACK AUGUST: THE TRUE HISTORY, CULTURE AND PRACTICE By Mama Ayanna Mashama
  10. 10. Seeking Truth in the War on the Black Liberation Movement In Conversation with Dr. Mutulu Shakur August 8, 2012George Lester Jackson Soledad Brother BLACK AUGUST: THE TRUE HISTORY, CULTURE AND PRACTICE By Mama Ayanna Mashama
  11. 11. Seeking Truth in the War on the Black Liberation Movement In Conversation with Dr. Mutulu Shakur August 8, 2012Black August Film Showings in Atlanta BLACK AUGUST: THE TRUE HISTORY, CULTURE AND PRACTICE By Mama Ayanna Mashama

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