Beyond Black History Month: The History of Black August
Black History month tends to focus on slavery, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Rosa Parks.
But Black August was born out of prison resistance movements in the 1970s, as freedom fighters like George Jackson and the San Quentin Six fought for liberation.
In solidarity, many revolutionaries utilize August as a more radical Black History moment.
August is a potent month historically - the first enslaved Africans were brought to America in August. The deaths of W.E.B. Du Bois, the Jackson brothers, and Mike Brown happened in August, as well as the births of Marcus Garvey and Fred Hampton.
Nat Turner’s slave rebellion, the underground railroad, the March on Washington, and the Ferguson riots all started in August, too.
According to political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal, “Black August is a month of... radical resistance… and righteous rebellion… to free the slaves and break the chains that bind us.”
Today, many Black revolutionaries use August to study history, practice self-discipline through fasting and gather the community to organize for Black liberation.
According to Black Opinion, “Black August is a time to embrace the principles of unity, self-sacrifice, political education, physical training, and resistance.”
Studying Black history, and organizing our communities around Black resistance and uplift is essential throughout the year. But an embrace of Black August and its values can invigorate our efforts to fight for justice!
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