The Spark

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

Black and Militant, 43 Years in Solitary

Jun 22, 2015

The State of Louisiana continues to hound a man who has spent 43 years in solitary confinement, 23 hours per day, 4 days a week. It objects to the release of Albert Woodfox, who was accused, along with two other inmates, Robert King and Herman Wallace, of killing a prison guard at the notorious Angola state penitentiary. The three always denied killing the guard.

For the authorities, not only were the three men black, and denying responsibility, they had joined the prison chapter of the Black Panthers. After a racist frame job, they were sentenced to life in prison.

After having spent 29 years in solitary confinement, Robert King was finally freed in 2001 and his conviction overturned.

After a campaign by Amnesty International, Herman Wallace was finally freed on October 1, 2013, after 40 years in isolation. He was 71 years old and fighting liver cancer, and was taken to a hospice in New Orleans. Despite his being near death, the State of Louisiana re-indicted him for the same crime just two days later. Wallace died the next day.

Finally, on June 8, a judge ordered the release of Albert Woodfox. The State of Louisiana appealed the decision, and won a stay of the judge’s decision, keeping Woodfox in prison during the appeal. He has already been tried twice, and both times his convictions were overturned. Despite those decisions, Woodfox is now awaiting, always in isolation, his third trial!

The evidence in his defense has been destroyed, while the witnesses against him have been discredited over the years. The widow of the guard now says she does not believe in his guilt, but the authorities refuse to listen.

The outright racist stubbornness of the authorities and their hatred toward the oppressed when they revolt illustrates the barbarism of the so-called “Great American Democracy.” Despite the torture he has suffered, Albert Woodfox has affirmed: “I thought that my cause, then and now, was noble. They might bend me a little bit, they may cause me a lot of pain, they may even take my life, but they will never be able to break me.”

Free Albert Woodfox immediately!