Joseph Shine White Stewart: George Jackson and Seeing Ghosts, Hearing Voices

Published March 8, 2020

George Jackson

Please find below two new pieces of writing from the revolutionary North Carolina prisoner Joseph “Shine White” Stewart, one describing his introduction to the work of George Jackson and self-education and another talking about taking inspiration from the Black Panther tradition in the struggle to stay sane while in solitary confinement:

Before being incarcerated in 2012, I was unable to read beyond a sixth-grade reading level, and my writing skills were deplorable.

I was incarcerated in 2012; while being held in a county jail, I assaulted a superior officer, due to the racist remarks he had made to a New Afrikan komrade of mine. Well, this county jail had a secluded cell in the bottom of the jail that detainees called “behind the wall.” After the assault, I was placed in this cell, with no personal belongings, only clothing and limited cosmetics. On the third day, I happened to be doing push-ups and noticed a book under the bed. So I crawled under the bed to retrieve it. It was covered in dust, it had been under the bed a while.

Upon reading the cover, I assumed it was one of the many urban novels that were passed throughout the jail. I was interested in trying to read it, because the title, I assumed, was related to the lumpen organization I was a representative of. The title of the book was “Blood in my Eye” by komrade George Jackson.

Upon opening the book, I knew that this wasn’t a normal book, it felt different in my hands, I could feel a slight heat coming from the book. Flipping through the pages scared me and at first, discouraged me, due to the vocabulary used. There was no way in the world I would be able to comprehend or implement what George was preaching.

Confined to a small cell with no-one to talk to but myself compelled me to read what I could. I had gotten my hands on a pencil, so I started writing all the words I didn’t know on the walls of the cell. The walls were covered. Well, after about two months of this, a sergeant that worked at the jail asked me one night why had I written all those words on the wall? I told him I was attempting to memorize them so when I was released from “behind the wall” I was going to find a dictionary and look them up.

I spent two years in that secluded cell with no-one to entertain me but George. Since then, I have dedicated myself to self-education and to the struggle of the people.

Joseph Stewart #0802041, Central Prison, 1300 Western Blvd., Raleigh, NC 27606

Seeing Ghosts, Hearing Voices

Confined to a 6x9 tomb, a prison within a prison that was built in 1889. I hear the voices of the past captives, or is it just my mind?

I can hear the screams, the pleas, the cries caused by loneliness, neglect, deprived of liberty and life.

Am I really hearing these walls talk? Walls that close in on me daily, walls defaced with graffiti, from “I WANT TO DIE” to racist nazi signs.

As I sit here writing this, I wonder what made him want to die? Could it have been that he was unable to see the birds, the trees, the sunshine on the outside? Or the repression applied by the overseers day in and day out, from sun up to sundown.

The repression remains, it’s just applied in different ways, it’s a different time. But it doesn’t make me want to die, this repression only kindles my fire, a fire that’s burning deep within.

In the smoke that rises from this fire, faces from the past can be seen.

Look, there’s Komrade George smiling back at me. As the smoke gets thicker, more faces appear. There’s Hugo Pinell, Bobby Hutton and Fred Hampton. I can see their faces, can you?

Look closely, there’s Huey, Mark Clark, even Bunchy. At the tip of the flame, where it burns the hottest, is a face from August 31st, 2006. It’s Komrade Hasan Shakur, Minister of Human Rights. Yea, he was the shit!

Am I losing it when I hold conversations with the aforementioned throughout the night? That’s what the enemy wishes, that I would lose it. I would die before I’d give them such a delight.

I know you’re asking yourself if I am some type of Black Panther or something? I am a White Panther, it’s the same to me, that’s why the enemy hates me. But I will never “want to die.” I will never allow these walls to tame me or break me.

I stand with a clenched fist held high. I salute those who see the faces in the smoke as I do.

Dare to struggle, dare to win is the slogan. All power to the people – “I will remain among the unbroken!”

Dare to struggle, dare to win, panther love.

Joseph “Shine White” Stewart, Minister of Defense, White Panther Organization

Joseph Stewart #0802041, Central Prison, 1300 Western Blvd., Raleigh, NC 27606

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