Primary Artist: Terry Forman
Created: San Francisco Collective, 1980
Medium: Offset printed
Dimensions: 16.75″ x 21.5″
In the 1970s the federal government initiated a program called the “War on Crime,” which resulted in an explosion of the prison population. Between 1979 and 1984 the prison population in California doubled, with more than half the prison population being Black or Hispanic. Young black men were incarcerated six times more than white men. By the mid 1980s US prisons held close to 200 political prisoners; mostly made up of members of the Black, Puerto Rican, Mexican and Native American struggles.
Conditions for prisoners at San Quentin were dominated by lockdowns and overcrowding was severe (for more information see the description for the poster Stop Repression at San Quentin). This was one of many posters and demonstrations to activate people to protest the conditions of prisoners, especially Black and other people of color.
See this in-depth analysis from the John Brown Anti-Klan Committee.
Image: In the center right side, a photo collage of Black men in a prison cell, an overturned police car, Malcolm X, Assata Shakur, Jonathan Jackson and James McClain, and the Republic of New Afrika 11 in chains. On the left side of the central part of the poster is a red square with lines on it, suggesting a prison cell. On top of the cell is a photo of George Jackson, smiling and in chains.
Words: “Support the Struggle for Black Human Rights – In the Prisons and on the Streets.” “BUILD BLACK AUGUST! INDEPENDENCE FOR THE BLACK NATION! Across the left side below the photo of George Jackson,“-Free all Afrikan Prisoners of War – Support the Right of Black Prisoners to Self Defense – Combat genocide against Black Prisoners – Abolish the Death Penalty – Defeat Police Terror in Black Communities – No New Prisons.” Across the right side below the photo collage: “Build Black August Month- Black August is a month of organizing and education initiated by Black prisoners in honor of fallen Black freedom fighters – Smash White Supremacist Attacks on Black Prisoners. Demand an Independent Investigation of California Department of Corrections collaboration with the Aryan Brotherhood, Nazis, and Ku Klux Klan. – Solidarity with the Liberation Struggles of Puerto Rican, Chicano/Mexicano, and Native American Peoples.” On right edge, “Keep Assata Shakur Free!”.
Color: black and red ink on white paper
Event: Protest at San Quentin Prison, Augut 30, 1980.
Sponsors: Black August Organizing Committee and Prairie Fire Organizing Committee.
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