George Jackson was assassinated in San Quentin prison on August 21, 1971. The following week, the prison released an inventory of the items in his cell – including his library of 99 books.
Before his murder, George Jackson spent over a decade in prison where he became one of the seminal organizers and thinkers of the Black Power and Black Liberation Movement and a member of the Black Panther Party. Central to his transformation into a conscious organizer, and educator were the oppressive and racist prisons he was locked up in, the collective struggle and resistance of prisoners and his unyielding engagement with learning and sharing knowledge.
To mark the 50th anniversary of his murder, we have created a resource to elevate the breadth of his intellectual curiosity and the way in which he understood and engaged the world – a main reason he was seen as dangerous to the government and prison system. Our goal is not only to reflect on his development as a revolutionary, but how he inspired others to engage, (un)learn and struggle too.
99 Books is not intended to promote a definitive view of George Jackson and his immense contributions to revolutionary politics. Nor is it an attempt to explain or uncover the events of George’s murder on August 21st, 1971. Instead, our work seeks to provide a resource to deepen our commitment to the centrality of political education to revolutionary struggle and to encourage more serious political engagement with George Jackson’s contribution to Black Liberation, the modern prison movement and revolutionary struggle.
This project received financial support from Colin Kaepernick’s Know Your Rights Camp (fiscally sponsored by the Entertainment Industry Foundation).
It would not have been possible without the perspective and labor of Andres Alegria and Matef Harmachis.
Website design and development by Ria.
All the participants who shared their reflections and memories with us: Stephen Bingham, Mat Callahan and Yvonne Moore, Eddie Conway, Angela Davis, Emory Douglas, Rachel Herzing, Walidah Imarisha, David Johnson, Eric Mann, Robyn Spencer, Bato Talamantez, and Sundiata Tate.
Ruth-Marion Baruch and Pirkle Jones Photographs and Papers. MS 20. Special Collections and Archives, University Library, University of California, Santa Cruz.
Interview with Bato Talamantez – Catherine Masud Filmmaker.