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Albert Woodfox attends his birthday party as a free man, happy to ‘give others hope’

February 20, 2016

by Wanda Sabir

Friday, Feb. 19, Albert “Shaka” Woodfox, the only member of the Angola 3 remaining in prison, was released after nearly 44 years in solitary confinement. His release ended the longest documented time spent in solitary confinement by any prisoner in U.S. history.

Beaming joy and power, Albert Woodfox greets family and supporters the day of his release, on Feb. 19, 2016. – Photo: AP

Beaming joy and power, Albert Woodfox greets family and supporters the day of his release, on Feb. 19, 2016. – Photo: AP

Footage of Woodfox’s release from Feliciana Parish Detention Center shows him walking with his brother Micheal’s arm around his shoulder, then in the car fielding questions about his release, thoughts about solitary confinement, Angola State Prison and freedom, until his brother announced, “I am taking him away now.” Woodfox stated that he wanted to visit his mother’s gravesite. He had not been allowed to attend her funeral when she died.

Saturday, Feb. 20

In a phone conversation this morning with Robert King, the first of the Angola 3 to win his freedom, Woodfox described the wait at the Feliciana Parish Detention Center in St. Francisville, La., yesterday as “hot, but worth it.” Standing outside the prison reminded King, he said, of his release 15 years ago, also in February, Feb. 15, from Angola State Prison located in the same parish up the road a bit.

King said the crowd wasn’t huge yesterday, but it was mighty (smile). It’s a great day for justice today and Woodfox’s release – on his 69 birthday – “gives others hope.”

Earlier that month, Ashé Cultural Arts Center had scheduled a screening of the film, “Panther: Vanguard of the Revolution,” directed by Stanley Nelson, at 5:30 p.m. to celebrate Albert Woodfox’s birthday that day, Feb 19. The panel assembled that evening included Robert King, Theodore Quant, Malik Rahim and Parnell Herbert. When the news of Woodfox’s release that day was announced to the audience and that the newly released comrade would come by later that evening, people stayed after the screening and discussion.

Malik Rahim, who had regenerated support in the ‘90s for his Black Panther comrades, the Angola 3, and rescued Robert King when he was stranded by the Katrina flood, joyously announces the arrival at his own birthday party – planned to be celebrated once again without him – of Albert Woodfox. Beside Albert is his brother, Michael Mable, who picked him up at the prison, and, at right, Parnell Herbert, a childhood friend of Albert, who wrote the acclaimed stageplay, “Angola 3.” The party, held the evening of Albert’s release, Feb. 19, was held at the Ashé Cultural Arts Center in New Orleans. – Photo: Max Becherer, AP

Malik Rahim, who had regenerated support in the ‘90s for his Black Panther comrades, the Angola 3, and rescued Robert King when he was stranded by the Katrina flood, joyously announces the arrival at his own birthday party – planned to be celebrated once again without him – of Albert Woodfox. Beside Albert is his brother, Michael Mable, who picked him up at the prison, and, at right, Parnell Herbert, a childhood friend of Albert, who wrote the acclaimed stageplay, “Angola 3.” The party, held the evening of Albert’s release, Feb. 19, was held at the Ashé Cultural Arts Center in New Orleans. – Photo: Max Becherer, AP

The evening turned into an actual birthday party for Woodfox, whose entrance was greeted with tears, shouts, foot stomping and much joy. At Ashé were Woodfox’s comrades in the struggle for liberation, human rights, dignity and freedom.

The party was as much his as theirs and for that reason that much sweeter, ‘cause NOLA folks know how to throw down (smile). The felicitations continue for Woodfox this afternoon, Feb. 20, with another party hosted by King’s family with barbecue and more birthday cake.

Friday, Feb. 19

As we drove down to Chowchilla to visit with incarcerated women at the Central California Women’s Facility, the largest women’s prison in the state, I called King to see if he expected Woodfox to walk out free that day. He was cautiously optimistic at 6 a.m. PT, so the big smile in the text he sent me after the court released Woodfox (several hours later) was celebrated that afternoon by the California Coalition for Women’ Prisoners’ visiting team as we debriefed over a late lunch at 4 p.m.

Freedom is a constant struggle

Yet, Woodfox’s release was not without stipulations, the main one was to not contest his conviction for the murder of prison guard Brent Miller, which carried a 42-year sentence. His release gives him credit for “time served.” It is the same with Robert H. King, who put his right – not left – hand on the bible when he agreed to the false terms offered, so he would, as Albert did, walk free.

The compromise or last judicial word is not the last word, because Albert Woodfox, Robert King and Herman Wallace’s trials, sentencing, confinement and the context of their release – Herman just two days before his death – shows without a doubt how immoral the American judicial system is. Justice is not a part of its system nor is truth.

Punishment, often cruel and unusual punishment, not human dignity and rehabilitation, are implicit goals of incarceration. Therefore, the conclusion of this chapter of the Angola 3 story is proof that the entire system needs dismantling.

Woodfox’s victory is a victory for all of us. Without a doubt, his freedom from physical bondage is the kind of shift in the wind which should lift our sails and increase our resolve to continue the fight until All of Us – those in minimum and maximum incarceration – are freed from such tyranny.

Dr. Frances Cress Welsing said we are at war, that the systemic killing and incarceration of Black men and boys is central to a strategic battle being waged by a white supremacist system looking to continue racial dominance.

For mainstream coverage, see:

Bay View Arts Editor Wanda Sabir can be reached at wanda@wandaspicks.com. Visit her website at www.wandaspicks.com throughout the month for updates to Wanda’s Picks, her blog, photos and Wanda’s Picks Radio. Her shows are streamed live Wednesdays at 7 a.m. and Fridays at 8 a.m., can be heard by phone at 347-237-4610 and are archived at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/wandas-picks.

4 thoughts on “Albert Woodfox attends his birthday party as a free man, happy to ‘give others hope’

  1. فكرتنا

    حكم العادة السرية في الاسلام

    هل تعلم لماذا يحب الرجل الطيز و الترمة‬

    صدمة لكل البنات : كيف تعرف أن زوجتك كانت تمارس العادة السرية

    ‬بالفيديو شاب يشعر بالميول للمثلية الجنسية اللواط شاهد ماذا أجابته هبة قطب

    أسباب و علاج الضعف الجنسي عن الرجال‬ ؟

    كنيازة || أسرار الرعشة الجنسية الافريقية

    دوام العلاقة الجنسية ساعتان

    الشيخ الكبيسي مص الذكر و لحس القضيب حلال بين الزوجين

    هدايا عيد الحب افكار هدية عيد الحب جميلة

    عيد الحب و رسائل عيد الحب 2016 Valentine's day‬

    رسائل عيد الحب 2016 و قصة عيد الحب الفلانتين Valentine's day

    Reply
  2. Renaldo Ricketts

    Bacteriological and psychological warfare against Black people world wide added 4 new photos.
    February 21 at 9:45pm ·
    The main stream media is part of the prison and military industrial complex. Now once you figure this out, you'll understand the underexposed truth. Speaking of human right violation,what this country did to the Angola 3 is a travesty, a classic case of human right violation derailment. They have the audacity to talk about human right violation in China and around the world, uncle scam you needn't look any further than your own back yard. The United Snakes of Amerika gets on its high horses and condemn other nations for the same crime they are guilty of and worse. They are the most hypocritical nation on earth, the plight of the Black man is living proof, looks at the statistical break down, 12 % of the population and 65% % of the jails, if this was China you'll hear them screaming in the UN at the top of their lungs as to how China treats a minority in their nation like cattle, tantamount to genocide. How long must Black people endure this mark of death and dehumanization in this contemptuous country, time and time again
    Black people's rights are violated and taken for granted, let us not forget they were relegated to a a fraction of a person in the "con-stitution" as 3/5 and the fraction has never been corrected. What they did to the Angola 3 goes beyond anything short of human torture, for over 40 years, this country should be ashamed of its sordid history and clear violation of the Geneva Convention on political prisoners. What they did to Albert Woodfox is so disgusting, the main stream press glances over it as thou it was a walk in the park 43 years in solitary confinement is cruel and unusual punishment to put it mildly. How can Amerika live with itself as it continues to defile Black and Brown people as human chattel, sure we got a president but power doesn't trickle down, the only thing that ever trickles down is uric acid. When and how are we going to correct the human degradation of non white people, in the United Snakes of Amerika. The time has run out on putting band aids on a heart attack, we must continue to fight for other prisoners and make uncle scam responsible for murder and torture here and around the world!

    Reply
  3. Renaldo Ricketts

    Prisons, if I remember correctly, they were developed by the church as a form of rehabilitation. To their dismay it wasn't. The idea I am sure was a noble one, after all religion,had the cure for salvaging souls and freeing man of his sins.The first prisons,were run by monks, no talking as allowed, this drove the prisoners insane after a few years, the men became very difficult to handle, the overseers of the prisons fell on the shoulders of the law. The church experiments were deemed a dismal failure, it failed to change he mental state of the confined men. It turned them into maniacs, the mental torture of not being able to speak drove almost all the men out of their minds. This social cocktail was a disaster waiting to fail. Imagine no human contact being isolated and told to pray as a form of rehabilitation. One could safely say the church's idea were out of touch with reality.

    The current system doesn't offer much solace, it's also design to torture not rehabilitate, you're there to be punished is the mentality of the unjust system ,hence a system of degradation. The assault on the psyche is detrimental to the prisoners mental state. You're suppose to get out of jail and become a law abiding citizen after being abused in a corrupt system for decades. This is not only foolish but absurd. Why do you think recidivism is 90% ; 9 months after being released on parole over 90 % of parolees end up behind bars. The system doesn't have a safety net program to introduce the maligned back into society. If you have a daily diet of torture and degradation what do you expect to happen when you create a monster locked in a cage and release him, a mild mannered reporter who works for the daily planet, come on folks,we need a reality check at this juncture. The system is designed to make you a worse human than when you came in, are we connecting the dots in this test tube. This is pure fantasy to think you can do this to a human being and produce a productive citizen. The pla e is so corr
    Prisons, if I remember correctly, they were developed by the church as a form of rehabilitation. To their dismay it wasn't. The idea I am sure was a noble one, after all religion,had the cure for salvaging souls and freeing man of his sins.The first prisons,were run by monks, no talking as allowed, this drove the prisoners insane after a few years, the men became very difficult to handle, the overseers of the prisons fell on the shoulders of the law. The church experiments were deemed a dismal failure, it failed to change he mental state of the confined men. It turned them into maniacs, the mental torture of not being able to speak drove almost all the men out of their minds. This social cocktail was a disaster waiting to fail. Imagine no human contact being isolated and told to pray as a form of rehabilitation. One could safely say the church's idea were out of touch with reality.

    T, is the he current system doesn't offer much solace, it's also design to torture not rehabilitate, you're there to be punished is the mentality of the unjust system ,hence a system of degradation. The assault on the psyche is detrimental to the prisoners mental state. You're suppose to get out of jail and become a law abiding citizen after being abused in a corrupt system for decades. This is not only foolish but absurd. Why do you think recidivism is 90% ; 9 months after being released on parole over 90 % of parolees end up behind bars. The system doesn't have a safety net program to introduce the maligned back into society. If you have a daily diet of torture and degradation what do you expect to happen when you create a monster locked in a cage and release him, a mild mannered reporter who works for the daily planet, come on folks,we need a reality check at this juncture.
    The system is designed to make you a worse human than when you came in, are we connecting the dots in this test tube. This is pure fantasy to think the prison industrial complex is going to change at this rate itls being run,impossible. This is why this country is building more prisons than colleges, in Sweden they are closing prisons; not enough prisoners, they actually have programs to reintroduce a person back into society and not torture them into submission and practice their barbarism on them ! In California we have people on death row on life support system makes no sense, but since when has torture chambers made any sense. Write your con-gress person and tell them how you feel about a billion dollar system that doesn't work. How the human psyche survives in prison is prisons is beyond my pay grade.

    Reply

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