A collection of Jackson's letters from prison, Soledad Brother is an outspoken condemnation of the racism of white America and a powerful appraisal of the prison system that failed to break his spirit but eventually took his life. Jackson's letters make palpable the intense feelings of anger and rebellion that filled black men in America's prisons in the 1960s. But even removed from the social and political firestorms of the 1960s, Jackson's story still resonates for its portrait of a man taking a stand even while locked down.
BE, September 2, 2011 (view all comments by BE)
This August (2011) marked the 40th anniversary of George Jackson's murder. He is largely responsible for developing the analysis of the Prison Industrial Complex being an outgrowth of slavery and a genocidal colonial tool. A social prisoner who was politicized while incarcerated he contacted Huey P. Newton requesting to join the Black Panther Party. Huey readily agreed, and gave him the rank of general. Through this book of letters we witness his evolution and maturing. For example, in her autobiography Angela Davis recounts giving this book to some of her fellow inmates, and Jackson worried how they would receive it, "In the past he had seen Black women as often acting as a deterrent to the involvement of Black men in the struggle. He had since discovered that this generalization was wrong, and was deeply concerned that the other women in the jail be informed of this." Saying Jackson is a controversial figure is putting it mildly, so with so much information, and misinformation, about him available this book, in which we hear directly from him, is not to be overlooked.
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