What is Black August
"August is a month of injustice and divine justice, of repression and righteous rebellion, of individual and collective efforts to free the slaves and break the chains that bind us"
Black August originated in the California penal system to honor fallen Freedom Fighters, Jonathan Jackson, George Jackson, William Christmas, James McClain and Khatari Gaulden. Jonathan Jackson was gunned down outside the Marin County California courthouse on August 7, 1970 as he attempted to liberate three imprisoned Black Liberation Fighters: James McClain, William Christmas and Ruchell Magee. George Jackson was assassinated by prison guards during a Black prison rebellion at San Quentin on August 21, 1971 .Khatari Gaulden was a political activist who worked with the Black Panther Party for Self Defense. While in prison, he organized after George Jackson's assassination. Gaulden was killed in the prison infirmary.
During Black August, emphasis is placed on sacrifice, fortitude and discipline. Black August is a time to embrace the principles of unity, self-sacrifice, political education, physical training and resistance. Also Black August is a time to study history, particularly our history in the North American:
- The first Afrikans were brought to Jamestown as slaves in August of 1619, so August is a month during which Blacks/New Afrikans can reflect on our current situation and our self-determining rights.
- In 1843, Henry Highland Garnett called a general slave strike on August 22
- The Underground Railroad was started on August 2, 1850.
- The March on Washington occurred in August of 1963
- Gabriel Prosser's 1800 slave rebellion occurred on August 30
- Nat Turner planned and executed a slave rebellion that commenced on August 21, 1831.
- The Watts rebellions were in August of 1965.
- On August 18, 1971 the Provisional Government of the Republic of New Afrika (RNA) was raided by Mississippi police and FBI agents.
- The MOVE family was bombed by Philadelphia police on August 8, 1978.
August is a time of birth: Dr. Mutulu Shakur (political prisoner & prisoner of war), Pan-Africanist Black Nationalist Leader Marcus Garvey, Maroon Russell Shoatz (political prisoner) and Chicago BPP Chairman Fred Hampton were born in August. August is also a time of rebirth: W.E.B. Dubois died in Ghana on August 27, 1963.
The tradition of fasting during Black August teaches self-discipline. A conscious fast is in effect from 6:00 am to 8:00 pm. Some other personal sacrifice can be made as well. The sundown meal is traditionally shared whenever possible among comrades. On August 31, a People's feast is held and the fast is broken. Black August fasting should serve as a constant reminder of the conditions our people have faced and still confront. Fasting is uncomfortable at times, but it is helpful to remember all those who have come and gone before us, Ni NkanMase, if we stand tall, it is because we stand on the shoulders of many ancestors.