Black August is an acknowledgment and commemoration of the countless organizers, activists, and freedom fighters who sacrificed their freedom and lives in the struggle for Black liberation.
Black August takes place during August and was started in California prisons in the 1970s by Black freedom fighters who wanted to honor the lives and deaths of Black political prisoners killed by the state, bring awareness to prison conditions, and honor the tradition of Black resistance against anti-Black state violence and systemic oppression. It is a time to reflect on Black individuals' sacrifices, struggles, and triumphs who have fought against oppression, injustice, and systemic racism.
The Birth of Black August
George Jackson, a Field Marshal of the Black Panther Party, was incarcerated in San Quentin Prison, where he became an influential revolutionary. His assassination by a prison guard catalyzed the creation of Black August.
Sentenced for armed robbery at 19, Jackson spent 11 years in prison, with over seven and a half years in solitary confinement.
Despite the oppressive environment, his political fire was ignited, inspiring fellow revolutionaries and leading to the establishment of the San Quentin Prison chapter of the Black Panther Party.
Settle your quarrels, come together, understand the reality of our situation, understand that fascism is already here, that people are already dying who could be saved, that generations more will live poor butchered half-lives if you fail to act. Do what must be done, discover your humanity and your love in revolution --- George Jackson.
Facing opposition from the California prison establishment, Jackson and his comrades, including W.L. Nolen, were targeted. Nolen was assassinated, and Jackson, Fleeta Drumgo, and John Clutchette became known as the Soledad Brothers.
George's brother Jonathan staged an armed attack demanding their release but tragically lost his life and others involved. A prison guard assassinated George Jackson, and though the circumstances remain disputed, his death was undoubtedly political. The struggles and sacrifices of these revolutionaries in the 1970s sparked widespread organizing and resistance within prisons, demanding an end to racism and violence and improved inmate conditions. These events laid the foundation for the creation of Black August, commemorating the prison struggles of the past and the long history of Black resistance.
Honoring Liberation, Resilience, and UNITY for Black August
Black August gained momentum within prisons, serving as a platform for political education and organizing against systemic oppression. Incarcerated individuals used the month to engage in acts of solidarity, fasting, and study groups focused on the history of Black resistance. It symbolized unity and defiance against the dehumanizing conditions faced by prisoners, particularly Black prisoners disproportionately affected by mass incarceration.
Black August pays tribute to the courageous freedom fighters who dedicated their lives to challenging racial inequality and striving for liberation. It is a time to remember leaders like Malcolm X, Nat Turner, Harriet Tubman, Angela Davis, and countless others who fought against slavery, segregation, and racial injustice.
By learning about their struggles and contributions, we gain a deeper understanding of the ongoing fight for equality and the importance of collective resistance.
Cultural Expression and Awareness
Black August celebrates Black culture, creativity, and artistic expression. It provides a platform for showcasing the diverse contributions of the Black community to music, literature, art, and activism.
From poetry readings and music performances to art exhibitions and film screenings, the month offers opportunities to appreciate the richness and depth of Black culture while highlighting the continued need for social change.
The Continued Fight
The fight for freedom and Black liberation is ongoing, and Black August serves as a poignant reminder of the continued struggle against systemic racism and oppression. Despite progress and advancements in civil rights, racial disparities still persist in various aspects of society, including the criminal justice system, education, housing, and employment. The legacy of Black resistance and the sacrifices made by countless freedom fighters inspire us to keep pushing for social justice and equality.
Many movements and organizations continue to fight for racial equality and social justice. Black Lives Matter (BLM) advocates against racism and police violence, while the NAACP addresses racial discrimination. The ACLU defends individual rights, and Color of Change focuses on digital advocacy. The Equal Justice Initiative fights mass incarceration and wrongful convictions, and Dream Defenders empowers youth and communities of color. These groups, as well as BOSS, work towards a more equitable and inclusive future.
How BOSS Empowers Liberation and Activism
BOSS' work is focused on empowering and supporting communities hardest hit by poverty, homelessness, violence and crime - predominantly communities of color.
Our focus has been developing solutions to mass homelessness, mass incarceration, community violence and the creation of social justice programs that are tailored to meet the needs of our people through a healing justice lens - Donald Frazier, CEO | BOSS
We are on the front lines providing immediate survival needs for our people marginalized by addiction, trauma, criminality, incarceration, poverty, racism, sexism, homelessness, and all forms of violence.
The future for Black liberation holds the ultimate elimination of inhuman penal institutions because the masses of men and women imprisoned inside the United States are the victims of oppressive conditions, which are the real cause of their imprisonment. The future for Black liberation also includes reparations, access to free education, full employment, housing for all, and an immediate end to police brutality and murder of Black people.
BOSS’s Black August Block Party
In the spirit of honoring Black August and promoting community empowerment, BOSS has organized the Black August Block Party for three years, an annual event that brings people together to celebrate Black culture, resilience, and unity. This Block Party's foundation uplifts and amplifies those principles through art, culture, and political education.
The event is a vibrant platform for local artists, musicians, and vendors to showcase their talents, contributing to a lively atmosphere of creativity and community spirit. We invite scholars and leaders of the movement every year to join us to share its significance and origins.
Join us at the Black August Block party to celebrate the rich history of the Black community, honoring liberation, resilience, and UNITY for Black August, and support BOSS's mission to fight against the root causes of poverty, homelessness, incarceration & violence.