These Incarcerated Revolutionaries Found Liberation, Even Behind Bars

illustration of the angola three
Zain Murdock
August 15, 2022

Herman Wallace. Albert Woodfox. Robert King. Known as the "Angola Three," these men formed the Black Panther Party's first official incarcerated chapter. All were convicted of murders they didn't commit and sentenced to die in Louisiana's Angola in 1973 - the biggest and "bloodiest" prison in the U.S.

Organizing behind bars, Wallace, Woodfox, and King created an education program, conducted training in hand-to-hand combat, and provided commissaries for those in need. All while they were in solitary confinement! But that wasn't all.

They also supported newly incarcerated men, hoping to save them from the rampant sexual abuse in Angola. And together, The Three initiated a 45-day hunger strike - forcing prison officials to provide more sanitary eating conditions and better food. 

Their efforts lasted for decades until the last of them, Woodfox, was released in 2016.

One prison warden even admitted Woodfox was kept in solitary for so long because he was "still trying to practice Black Pantherism" and could revolutionize other incarcerated men. To prison officials, the Angola Three were major threats incapable of "rehabilitation." 

How many Black radicals are still imprisoned for that same reason?

This country will do anything to punish and brutalize Black people with minds of their own. But the Angola Three reminds us that we can ALWAYS find ways to liberate ourselves despite the highest limitations.

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