By: Jitu Sadik
Beginning in August 1979 a small cadre of comrades housed in Soledad’s SHU (Secured Housing Unit), O-wing, myself, Dadisi Yero, Zaharibu, Jamani, Zezu and a few others whose names I can’t immediately recall, we initiated our first commemoration of Black August. After the death of Jeffrey Khatari Gaulden in San Quentin prison there was a long period of mourning and anger, even among those of us who had not personally known him, just as we had not personally known Comrade George Jackson and other stalwart warriors/guerillas, but their selfless acts of courage and sacrifice were known and their indomitable spirit of resistance was felt, providing motivation and inspiration to deepen our individual and collective commitment to the existing Black Liberation Movement raging across amerikkka and resistance to the immediate repression we were experiencing within the belly of the beast.
Daily Practice Several months prior to initiating Black August brothas in O-wing were encouraged to stockpile whatever nonperishable food they could and minimize their daily intake of meals to prepare themselves for the most challenging part of the tradition, fasting. We also communicated this information to comrades in Soledad’s general population who would be participating in the commemoration.
O-wing administration at that time provided all prisoners housed there with televisions. Comrades were encouraged to refrain from watching TV, smoking or engaging in any non-productive activity, and to reinforce positive and constructive revolutionary enhancing actions such as deepening our political understanding through reading, conditioning our bodies through intensified exercise, practicing self-defense maneuvers and increasing our discipline by fasting. We wore black armbands on our left arms and whenever we had the opportunity to get yard we would engage in collective exercise and political discussions.
During my stay in San Quentin’s North Block MCU (Management Control Unit) several years later, the spirit of the dragon and the camaraderie was extremely strong. Whenever we had yard and engaged in collective exercise which was referred to as the “machine,” because our numbers were greater we divided into two groups with a comrade leading each group. After completing the exercise, the machine would be called into motion (jogging) with cadence being shouted in unison.
- George Jackson stood the test, eleven years without a rest
- Malcolm X we love him dear, to his words we still adhere
- Nat Turner he was right, cuttin’ throats day and night
- Assata Shakur strong and firm, liberation on her own terms (my contribution)
- Over the wall, kill the dog
- Uhuru (Freedom), Sasa (Now)