The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Angola 3 Member Herman Wallace Dies

Oct 14, 2013

Herman Wallace, who spent 41 years in solitary confinement at the State Penitentiary in Angola, Louisiana, has died. Wallace and two other men, Albert Woodfox and Robert King, became known as the Angola 3 when activists against abusive prison conditions publicized their decades held in isolation.

Wallace and Woodfox were falsely convicted for the murder of a guard, Brent Miller, during an uprising at Angola in 1972.

Prison authorities claimed King was tied to the murder but never charged him. They used the murder as a pretext to keep the three in solitary confinement for decades. Because Wallace and Woodfox were known members of the Black Panthers, who stood up for the rights of other prisoners, the state of Louisiana attempted to make an example of them.

It has continued to do so, despite international support for the Angola 3 by Amnesty International and many artists and dignitaries. At least three film makers have produced documentaries about them. Woodfox’s conviction was overturned twice only to be reinstated on appeal. It was overturned a third time in March and is again being appealed.

Herman Wallace managed to gain a small taste of freedom when a U.S. district court judge ruled he should be given a new trial – when he was just days away from dying of cancer. Even while he lay dying, a Louisiana district attorney felt it necessary to indict him again. Such is the vindictive nature of the racist American system of injustice, which must attempt to silence anyone who dares to speak out against it.