Primary Artist: Terry Forman
Created: San Francisco Collective, 1984
Medium: Offset printed
Dimensions: 17.5″ x 23″
Between 1980 and 1984 (the year of this demonstration), there was a 40% increase in the US prison population. Black people were imprisoned more than six times more frequently than whites, a statistic that has not improved quantitatively today. This demonstration was part of a nation-wide campaign led by the New African People’s Organization to protest prison conditions in San Quentin and other prisons across the US. San Quentin prisoners had been on lockdown on and off since 1982, spending 23.5 hours-a-day in their cells. Overcrowding was so severe that the prison set up tent camps in the exercise yards to house all the prisoners. Two person cells had four, and sometimes more, inmates. Educational and vocation programs were not available. Sanitation systems continually failed. Visiting rights were curtailed. Conflict between gangs was encouraged by white supremacist guards. In September 1984, in response to a suit by the Prison Law Office, the Judge signed a sweeping order acknowledging the conditions at San Quentin and Folsom— the state’s two maximum-security prisons—requiring them to improve sanitation, food and reduce overcrowding.
For more information about the New Afrikan People’s Organization.
Image: Drawing of a tall guard tower on the right, with a guard manhandling a Black man in shackles at center.
Words: At top left, block letters, STOP REPRESSION AT SAN QUENTIN. DEMONSTRATE at the gates of San Quentin, 101 north to Richmond Bridge exit. SAT., SEPT. 15. 2:00pm. On July 14, guards at San Quentin shot and killed a 22-year-old Black man, William Fairly. Guards are now armed with semi-automatic rifles. Electric stun guns are used on prisoners, and almost the entire prison is confined to cells for 23 ½ hours a day. Join the urgent protest! DEFEND THE HUMAN RIGHTS OF PRISONERS – NO MORE RACIST TERROR IN THE PRISONS – SUPPORT THE BLACK LIBERATION STRUGGLE”
Color: yellow and black ink on white paper
Event: Saturday, September 15 at San Quentin Prison, California.
Sponsors: John Brown Anti-Klan Committee, New Afrikan People’s Organization, Prairie Fire Organizing Committee.
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