This activity engages a vow written by Ulysses McDaniel, a prisoner who was involved in struggles for racial justice inside and who became terminally ill while locked up at San Quentin. It involves closely reading two texts: 1) an article written by George Jackson about Ulysses, and 2) a statement commemorating the life of George Jackson following his death, issued by incarcerated members of the Seventh of August Movement–a group which George helped found after the death of his younger brother and revolutionary, Jonathan Jackson. The activity encourages reflection upon the legacy and unifying force of organized resistance inside, and its capacity to overcome barriers of enclosure and isolation imposed by the state.
For the first 5-10 minutes, have the class read Ulysses’ Vow aloud together and share any initial thoughts or reactions to the text. Then break the class up into two groups. The first group will be tasked with reading, analyzing, and discussing the George Jackson article; the second group will read, analyze, and discuss the Message from the Seventh of August Movement. After 20 minutes of group work, participants will come back together for a large group discussion, and share reflections on the significance of Ulysses’ Vow. As an optional closing activity, have participants craft their own vow (details and discussion questions can be found in the Activity Handout below).