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BLM Grassroots talks importance of ‘Black August’


Black Lives Matter (BLM) Grassroots has been supporting the Black community in different ways and situations. During a recent webinar, BLM speakers talked about Black August; an update on the campaign for the Breonna Taylor case, and the recent charges brought by the Department of Justice against four Kentucky law enforcement officials.

James Farr, the moderator for the BLM Grassroots meeting, spoke about the history of Black August and why it remains a factor in African-American history today.

“It started in California because of the inhumane imprisonment of George Jackson in the San Quentin prison. From there Black men organized and created what is known as Black August,” said Farr.

Jackson was an activist but received one year to life in prison in 1960 for allegedly stealing $70 from a Los Angeles gas station. During his time behind bars, Jackson began studying ideas from Karl Marx. He started to write letters to his family explaining his frustrations and rage over systemic racism and his imprisonment.

Then in 1970, Jackson and two other incarcerated Black men were charged with the murder of a White prison guard. The same year Jonathan Jackson, brother of George, was killed outside of Marin County Courthouse after taking a guard hostage and protesting for his brother’s freedom.

On Aug. 21, 1971, George Jackson, who was incarcerated at San Quentin State Prison at the time, used a gun to take a prison guard hostage and forced him to open several cells, according to CNN. Jackson was killed in the ensuing chaos as he and several other inmates attempted to escape from prison. In showing respect to Jackson, a group of prisoners named the day he died Black August.

“The four practices of Black Friday are to train, study, fast, and fight,” said Farr as he explained the effect Jackson’s sacrifice had on the outside world. “It is the overly arching fact of being resistant to White supremacy and White domination systems.”

BLM meeting attendees also talked about Breonna Taylor, who is finally receiving the justice many feel she deserves.

A former Louisville police detective who helped falsify the warrant that led to the deadly police raid at Taylor’s apartment has pleaded guilty to a federal conspiracy charge. Kelly Goodlett added a false line to the warrant and later conspired with another detective to create a cover story. This was after Taylor’s March 13, 2020, shooting death by police began gaining national attention, according to ABC news.

Taylor was shot and killed by police officers who knocked down her door while executing a drug search warrant. Taylor’s boyfriend fired a shot that hit one of the officers as they came through the door, and they returned fire, striking Taylor multiple times.

Three other officers were indicted on civil rights charges earlier in the month and face life in prison if convicted. Goodlett was not indicted, but charged in a federal information filing, which likely means the former detective is cooperating with investigators. His sentencing date is Nov. 22.