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Alabama’s Holman Prison bans the Bay View for being ‘racially motivated,’ subscriber declares hunger strike

March 26, 2017

by Michael D. Williams

When a prison or prison system bans a publication, it must send a notice to both the subscriber and the publisher saying why, and the reasons must be constitutional. This censorship notice from Holman Prison, while it comes closer to compliance with the law than no notice at all, fails to define “racially motivated,” and was not sent to the Bay View, the publisher. If you are a subscriber who missed a paper and suspects censorship, press for a notice that you and the Bay View can appeal. Contact outside supporters to call and encourage the warden to release the withheld papers.

The Alabama Department of Corrections (ADOC), specifically W.C. Holman Correctional Facility, has openly declared war against the SF Bay View National Black Newspaper. The administration of this prison has informed me that your newspaper is no longer allowed in this prison because your paper is “racially motivated.” See Exhibit A.

Michael D. Williams (right) has an extraordinary story, outlined in several articles in the Birmingham News, the city’s daily newspaper, at al.com. In 2012, they reported on his business, which had “an agreement with the city of Birmingham to offer its ‘waterless’ car washing services in 12 Birmingham Parking Authority parking garages and lots.” He’d hired six employees, including Alejandro Harris (left above). Successful Black businesses are feared as a competitive threat by powerful whites and become a target for destruction. – Photo: Mike Oliver, Birmingham News

I’m going to fight with all my might in protest by going on a hunger strike until they lift this racist, ignorant and illegal ban prohibiting the SF Bay View National Black Newspaper from coming into this prison and/or prison system as a whole!

The medical staff here at Holman has informed me that I’ve been found to have congestive heart failure as well as high blood pressure. Well, if this is my last stance, then I’m going to go out fighting, and I believe with all my dying heart that the Bay View is worth fighting and dying for!

I’m going to fight with all my might in protest by going on a hunger strike until they lift this racist, ignorant and illegal ban prohibiting the SF Bay View National Black Newspaper  from coming into this prison and/or prison system as a whole!

I pray that you print this letter so all the other prisoners across the state of Alabama and around the country know what is being done here at Holman Prison and/or with the ADOC – banning the Bay View – in hope that if they feel and believe as I do that they will also take a stance in this just and worthy cause.

Prison officials want prisoners to be weak, stupid, dumb and afraid. This is why they don’t want prisoners armed with such mighty artillery as the Bay View, which opens the eyes and minds of its readers and instills courage in our hearts.

The Bay View helps us as prisoners to stay focused and never to view nor accept being confined to a “cage” as “home.” No, this is not my home, nor do I live here.

No, I was brought here in handcuffs, leg shackles and belly chains against my will! I’m confined to a cage like a wild or domesticated beast.

No, I am not a beast. I am a man! I am a father, I am a brother, I am a son, I am a grandfather and a great grandfather.

I am a man who’s been created in the image of God! I am a king! I am African!

Bay View, I am fighting for me, but also I am fighting for you. I need your help in our fight and battle.

In my heart roams a Black Panther till the day I die!

Your brother and friend, Michael D. Williams

P.S. Bay View, you have been posting and spreading the word as to what’s been going on here at Holman Prison and within the ADOC in general. This is why the administration has declared war against you by way of banning your publication out this prison and prison system. Keep up the good work! Thank you, Bay View!

Send our brother some love and light: Michael D. Williams, 133193, W.C. Holman CF SHU L20, Holman 3700, Atmore AL 36503.

In September 2013, as Birmingham celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Movement, a story told of Williams’ protest to protect the star in the sidewalk outside the Booker T. Washington Insurance Building that was the headquarters for legendary Black businessman A.G. Gaston. A white buyer had marked the star for removal, but Williams notified the Birmingham City Council, who condemned the plan. As Williams protested outside the building, al.com quoted his reason: “It means so much to me because I wouldn’t have anything if not for Dr. Gaston,” Williams said. “I built my business on the philosophy of A.G. Gaston: ‘Find a need and fill it.’ When I was a kid I couldn’t go to the YMCA, but I could go to A.G. Gaston Boys and Girls Club.” – Photo: Frank Couch, Birmingham News

“This protest was held during the week of the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Movement held there in downtown Birmingham. Just a mere three to four blocks away, everyone was watching as the exhibit honoring the four little Black girls who had been murdered in the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing was unveiled,” Michael writes. “While they were celebrating, I was standing alone in protest against the removal of the historical landmark, Dr. A.G. Gaston’s sidewalk star.” – Photo: Frank Couch, Birmingham News

Protester Michael D. Williams writes, “The very rich and powerful white men who had bought the building didn’t want the star of a Black man in front of their bulding.” Note the X cut into the pavement at the top of the star marking it for removal. “Fifteen days later,” he continues, “on Oct. 2, 2013, the city of Birmingham totally and completely destroyed my company and all that I had built. Six months later I was confined to a prison cell with a 20-year sentence for a crime I never committed.” As Bay View publisher Dr. Willie Ratcliff observes, “Blacks have been beaten, lynched and blackballed throughout our history in America for being ‘uppity’ enough to own our own business and hire our own people.” – Photo: Frank Couch, Birmingham News

One thought on “Alabama’s Holman Prison bans the Bay View for being ‘racially motivated,’ subscriber declares hunger strike

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