America Is the Prison: Arts and Politics in Prison in the 1970s

By Lee Bernstein | Go to book overview

NOTES

Introduction

1. Zayd Shakur, “America Is the Prison,” in Off the Pigs! The History and Literature of the Black Panther Party, edited by G. Louis Heath (Metuchen, N.J.: Scarecrow, 1976), 247–80, mimeographed article, New York, N.Y., Oct. 17, 1970. Shakur attributed the insight to Malcolm X. See, e.g., Malcolm X, “The Harlem Hate-Gang Scare,” Malcolm X Speaks (New York: Grove, 1965), 64–71. In that discussion, Malcolm X said that “our people in this particular society live in a police state” (66). New Jersey state troopers killed Shakur in 1973.

2. Angela Yvonne Davis, “I Am a Communist Revolutionary,” in Heath, Off the Pigs!, 255, mimeographed article, Black Panther Party, Los Angeles chapter, Nov. 17, 1970.

3. Eldridge Cleaver, Soul on Ice (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1968), 59.

4. Fania Jordan Davis, quoted in Bettina Aptheker, The Morning Breaks: The Trial of Angela Davis, 2d ed. (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1997), 31.

5. Ibid., 26.

6. Editorial, New York Times, Oct. 16, 1970, quoted in ibid., 24.

7. Leonard Peltier, Prison Writings: My Life Is My Sun Dance, edited by Harvey Arden (New York: St. Martin’s, 1999); Mumia Abu-Jamal, Death Blossoms: Reflections from a Prisoner of Conscience (Farmington, Pa.: Plough, 1997); Abu-Jamal, Live from Death Row (New York: Harper Perennial, 1996). Ruchell Magee and Hugo Pinell, two men associated with George Jackson, remain in prison as well. The Oakland-based Prison Activist Resource Center tracks close to one hundred political prisoners, many of whom have been incarcerated since the 1970s. For the periodically updated list, see Prison Activist Resource Center,

8. Angela Davis to George Jackson, June 2, 1970, letter read into the record of the People of the State of California vs. Angela Y. Davis; rpt. in Aptheker, Morning Breaks, 209.

9. “Entertainers Raise $38,000 for Angela Davis Defense,” New York Times, Mar. 6, 1972. See also Sol Stern, “The Campaign to Free Angela Davis … and Ruchell Magee,” New York Times Magazine, June 27, 1971, 8.

10. “Long John,” Negro Prison Camp Work Songs, recorded and produced by Pete and Toshi Seeger (New York: Ethnic Folkways Library, 1956); lyrics transcribed in Harold Courlander, A Treasury of Afro-American Folklore (New York: Crown, 1976), 407–9.

11. See also Alan Lomax, The Land Where the Blues Began (New York: New Press, 2002), 256–313.

12. “Long John.”

-185-

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America Is the Prison: Arts and Politics in Prison in the 1970s
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Illustrations viii
  • Acknowledgments ix
  • Introduction 1
  • Chapter One - We Shall Have Order 19
  • Chapter Two - The Age of Jackson 51
  • Chapter Three - What Works? 75
  • Chapter Four - We Took the Weight 99
  • Chapter Five - Cell Block Theater 129
  • Chapter Six - Radical Chic 151
  • Conclusion 173
  • Notes 185
  • Index 215
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