Black August is a time of fasting, studying, reflecting, and discipline to honor our ancestors and people in the liberation struggle. Black August originated in the slave house (prison) to honor our fallen Freedom Fighters, Jonathan Jackson, George Jackson, William Christmas, James McClain and Khatari Gaulden and sole survivor, Ruchell Magee. Jonathan Jackson was killed 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.
A year later, George Jackson, the leader and founder of the Black Guerrilla Family and the brother of Jonathan Jackson was assassinated by prison guards during a Black prison rebellion at San Quentin on August 21, 1971. In 1961 George Jackson was convicted of armed robbery, for robbing $70 from a gas station at gunpoint and at age 18 was sentenced to serve one year to life! The oppressive machine would ensure he served the maximum. As a result, brothers collectively fasted from food, liquids, drugs, and focused on unity, self-sacrifice, political education, physical training and resistance.
During the month of August, we do not just remember them, but all our ancestors. August is also a special month in Black history. For example:
- The first Africans were brought to Jamestown as slaves in August of 1619.
- Nat Turner executed a slave rebellion on August 21, 1831.
- The Underground Railroad was started on August 2, 1850.
- The March on Washington occurred in August of 1963
- The Watts rebellions were in August of 1965.
- On August 18, 1971 the Provisional Government of the Republic of New Afrika (RNA) was raided by Mississippi police and FBI agents.
- On August 8, 1978 Philadelphia police initiated a shootout against MOVE members
- Dr. Mutulu Shakur, Marcus Garvey, Fred Hampton, James Baldwin, Alex Haley, Louis Armstrong, Fidel Castro, and Charlie Parker were born in August.
- Madiba (Nelson Mandela) was imprisoned August 5, 1962
- Steven Biko was arrested for “terrorism” in 1977 which soon lead to his murder by South African police.
- Carter G. Woodson inaugurated Negro History Week August 23, 1926
- Mary McLeod Bethune founded the National Council of Negro Women August 27, 1935
- Three young civil rights workers, James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner, were found murdered in 196
- Emmett Till was murdered in 1955
This is my second year participating in Black August and I get the opportunity to share it with a community of friends and comrades. We will be reading Assata: An Autobiography, watching and reflecting on the Hidden Colors series, sharing any knowledge we have about our people, serving our communities to further the nation building process and of course fasting from a variety of things. Honoring our ancestors is very serious but it is also a time of celebration so enjoy it because you only have 31 days!