Getting ready for next Black August: Black August Memorial Commemoration Committees

by Co-Chairs Adbul Olugbala Shakur, Ifoma Modibo Kambon and Sitawa Nantambu Jamaa, BAMCC Coordinators Akili Shakur (Baltimore) and M. Ajanaku (Chicago)

Mission Statement

Contrary to propaganda fabricated by the California Department of Corrections via the Office of Correctional Safety (OCS) and the Institutional Gang Investigations Unit (IGI), Black August Memorial (BAM) is not about senseless acts of violence or gang activity. In the last five years many of us have filed civil complaints challenging the CDC criminalization of Black August Memorial (BAM) and Black August Resistance (BAR), and in every instance the CDC has failed to provide any credible evidence to support their fabricated allegations and, as a result, some judges made rulings favorable to us.

George-Jackson-Black-August-poster, Getting ready for next Black August: Black August Memorial Commemoration Committees, Abolition Now! Brotha Adbul Olugbala Shakur will be in the Bay Area next year some time. He is presently awaiting a trial date. Black August will be on trial and we will prove once and for all that Black August is not a prison gang activity, believe it or not. OCS and IGI point blank allege that the only people in society that are participating in Black August Memorial are ex-cons. The CDC, via OCS and IGI, have no problem criminalizing our people and community, and this is why it is imperative that our people show up at Brotha Abdul’s trial so OCS and IGI can see the real faces of Black August – and I dare them to call you thugs in your faces.

Many people have inquired about how they can participate in BAM. The following is only a brief blueprint that we had developed for the North Carolina, Indiana, Baltimore and Chicago BAMCC. You can take this blueprint and build your program as long as you stay within the basic principles of Black August Memorial (BAM).


It is true at the very inception of BAM in 1979 that it only commemorated those who died in the California prison system at the hands of racial oppression, e.g., Jeffrey Khatari Gaulden, known as the Black dragon, Comrade George Jackson’s successor. He died in 1978 on Aug. 1 due to deliberate medical neglect.

Contrary to propaganda fabricated by the California Department of Corrections via the Office of Correctional Safety (OCS) and the Institutional Gang Investigations Unit (IGI), Black August Memorial (BAM) is not about senseless acts of violence or gang activity.

Black August was inspired by the death of our fallen Black dragons Jonathan Jackson, William Christmas and James McClain, murdered by guards and so-called law enforcement on Aug. 7, 1970; W.L. Nolan, Cleveland Edwards and Alvin “Jug” Miller, murdered by a racist prison guard as they defended themselves against an officially-orchestrated racist attack on Jan. 13, 1970 – W.L. Nolan was the leader of the New Afrikan Revolutionary Prison Movement, and Comrade George Jackson was his successor – and then the assassination of George Jackson on Aug. 21, 1971.

No one can truly embrace the spirit of Black August Memorial (BAM) without first and foremost embracing the revolutionary spirits of these eight Black August martyrs, for they epitomize the spirit of Black August Resistance (BAR).

Now, contrary to CDC propaganda, by 1982 we began to include other New Afrikan freedom fighters who gave their lives to our struggle for freedom, who made that ultimate and unselfish sacrifice in the service of our revolutionary struggle. This doesn’t include natural causes, and this by no means diminishes the sacrifices made by sistas and brothas like Harriett Tubman or Marcus Garvey, but Black August Memorial only commemorates those who actually were killed in the service of our people. It commemorates our New Afrikan war veterans, from Martin Delaney to Bunchy Carter.

But Black August Resistance is the socio-cultural and political component of BAM. It reflects both the living and the dead from Harriett Tubman to Assata Shakur. Even Brotha Martin Luther King represented an aspect of our culture of resistance. Though he did not believe in armed self-defense, he was far from being a coward, and though he was murdered in the service of our people, he still falls under the principles of Black August Resistance, for he was not an armed combatant, which Black August Memorial was created for.

No one can truly embrace the spirit of Black August Memorial (BAM) without first and foremost embracing the revolutionary spirits of these eight Black August martyrs, for they epitomize the spirit of Black August Resistance (BAR).

By 1985 via the Black August Organizing Committee (BAOC), New Afrikan prisoners in at least 60 percent of the U.S. prison system were participating in BAM and there were annual BAM events in Oakland, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Berkeley and Richmond, California, and New York. As we celebrate the 33-year anniversary of BAM, New Afrikan prisoners in every prison system across the country participate in BAM, and there are BAM events in at least 30 different cities across the country, as well as Canada, Mexico, Cuba, Haiti (before the tragic earthquake), just to name a few. These are facts which we intend to present in our upcoming civil trials.

Black_August_Organizing_Committee_dragon2, Getting ready for next Black August: Black August Memorial Commemoration Committees, Abolition Now! Every local BAMCC can make the necessary adjustments to their programs and events based on the conditions in their jurisdiction, finance in particular, as long as those adjustments stay within the guiding principles of BAM. In the last 20 years, BAMCC coordinators have taken liberty to alter the basic tenets of BAM and as a result weakened the very pillar which fortified the intent and purpose for BAM and BAR.

Many coordinators started arbitrarily adding names to our New Afrikan War Memorial, names of individuals who are still alive. Protocol is clear in this matter. First of all, no local BAMCC can just add names to the Black August Memorial without collective consensus and NO living revolutionary activist is eligible to be commemorated during BAM. Both Kwanzaa and Black History Month have been commercialized and bastardized because they lacked structural enforcement. BAM will not fall prey to subjective and arbitrary emotional reasoning.

There exist two official committees: Black August Commemoration Committee and Black August Organizing Committee (i.e., their national offices) that are responsible for securing the legacy of BAM. Without this oversight, our people 20 years from now can end up commemorating Barack Obama for being the first Negro puppet to perform at the White House. My people, BAM will not become a disfigured pastime. We have strict protocols designed to preserve the integrity of BAM and BAR. Both Black History Month and Kwanzaa have been hijacked and economically exploited by people and institutions who don’t give a damn about us or our history. BAM will NEVER become a hijacked plane being influenced by kapitalist terrorists or Negro bandits with intent only to transform BAM into a commercialized venture for the purpose of financial gain!

The following additional protocols are mandatory, every local BAMCC is required to incorporate these protocols within their local jurisdictions:

  1. NEVER borrow money from a bank or any outside kapitalist institution to fund BAM events or local BAMCC.
  2. NEVER allow a drug dealer or a criminal element to be a member of the local BAMCC.
  3. Only known and standing members or activists from within the New Afrikan community can form and/or join the local BAMCC, and they must be New Afrikan (Black) and live in our community.
  4. Any BAMCC member or supporter who introduces any idea or proposal that is criminal in nature is to be immediately removed from the process. Do not allow yourself to be entrapped discussing illegal activity. BAM will not be reduced to a medium for covert illegal activity, nor is BAM rooted in kapitalist principles.
  5. Every local BAMCC will establish clear lines of communication with local BAMCC across the country.
  6. Every activity and event conducted by the BAMCC and its support network will be legitimate, legal and transparent.
  7. Every local BAMCC will study all material and literature dealing with the government-sponsored COINTELPRO.

These protocols are designed to secure the integrity of BAM and BAR so it won’t be hijacked or co-opted like Kwanzaa and Black History Month. It is each and every one’s responsibility to defend the legacy of BAM and not allow our subjective thought process to influence our interpretation of BAM and BAR.

The following brief draft would facilitate the local BAMCC to organize their BAM programs and events within the established guidelines promulgated by the National BAMCC:

  1. Every BAM coordinator is to develop a local Black August Memorial Commemoration Committee (BAMCC) which will consist of (a) executive coordinator, (b) deputy coordinator, (c) treasurer, (d) program coordinator, (e) BAM support network.
  2. Fundraising for BAM starts Sept. 1 and continues until July 30 of the following year. Under NO circumstances will the local BAMCC accept any funds, donations or grants from government-sponsored programs, law enforcement, drug dealers or any type of criminal enterprise. Note: the local BAMCC will seek out Black-owned businesses to sponsor some of their annual events.
  3. The BAMCC will develop a program schedule during the months of May and June and distribute it in July, at least two weeks before Aug. 1.
  4. The Black August Memorial program schedule will consist of:
    1. A brief introduction to both BAM and BAR and explain why it is imperative for our people to participate in BAM.
    2. A program calendar that will list all the BAM events and locations that will be held across the city.
    3. A program schedule for each family and individual to follow. For example, we fast from sunrise to sunset the entire month of August. Those who are not physically able to complete the entire fast can make the necessary adjustments, but fasting is required throughout the month of Black August. There are also four days of resistance, the 1st, 7th, 13th, 21st. On these days we make the ultimate sacrifice. We fast the entire 24 hours on the days of resistance, from midnight to midnight, and we exercise every six hours during that 24-hour period, 12 midnight, 6 in the morning, 12 noon, 6 in the evening and 12 midnight. Being in prison we are able to do this program; out there with school and/or work, each person can modify their program. The exercise every six hours program is optional for those who are not physically capable, but the 24-hour fasting on the four days of resistance are mandatory for those with no health concerns, and exercising at least once a day is mandatory during BAM. We encourage people to exercise between 1 and 6 in the morning.
    4. Aug. 27 is Flag Day. On this day, everybody participating in BAM will be required to display the Red, Black and Green. The coordinators will teach and/or provide literature on the history of our flag. Each participant will be required to display our flag in front of their homes, apartments, housing projects and businesses providing that they own the business, as well as a Red, Black and Green bumper sticker on our vehicles. The goal is equally to have our people displaying our flag 365 days a year.
    5. Black August Resistance (BAR) Forum: At least two to three times a week, the BAM coordinators will hold these forums where they will teach our people about our history of resistance, e.g., Nat Turner, David Walker, Denmark Vesey, Martin Delaney, Harriett Tubman, Gabriel and Nanny Prosser, Tunis Campbell, Marcus Garvey, Robert Williams, Assata Shakur, Malcolm X, George Jackson, Bunchy Carter, Deacons for Defense, Blood Brotherhood, Black Liberation Army, Black Panther Party, Revolutionary Action Movement, just to name a few. Mainstream schools don’t teach this aspect of our history.
    6. Black August Memorial Book Fest: Months before BAM, the BAMCC will request people to donate Black history books, as well as books in the following subjects: math, science, green technology, horticulture, business. The BAMCC coordinators will give away these books during the Black August Memorial Book Fest, which will be held once a week during BAM. The people will be required to take care of the books because they will be asked to donate that same book back to the BAM Book Fest the following year.
    7. Adopt-a-POW (political prisoner project): Once a week during BAM the BAMCC will hold an adopt-a-POW/political prisoner event, where people can send a POW/PP a card of encouragement or, if they are above the age of 18, they can become a pen pal.
    8. During BAM the local BAMCC will hold the following classes throughout the entire month of August: (1) first aid, (2) physical fitness, (3) health and safety, (4) self defense, (5) how to eat healthy, (6) horticulture, (7) swimming, (8) business, (9) finance, (10) green technology, (11) science and chemistry, (12) math, (13) Black history, (14) Swahili, (15) family, (16) community, (17) fatherhood/manhood, (18) motherhood/womanhood, (19) safe sex, (20) HIV/AIDS, (21) teenage pregnancy, (22) Ujima, collective work and responsibility, (23) Ujamaa, cooperative economics, (24) anti-drugs and alcoholism, (25) how to survive a natural disaster or crisis. The BAMCC coordinators will develop the schedule for each class.
    9. Miss Black August Pageant. The Miss Black August Pageant will be held on the 29th of August every year. The participants will be between the ages of 13 and 21. The Miss Black August Pageant will be a natural Black beauty contest: no weaves, no perms, no extensions, no dyed hair, no make-up, no color contact lenses, no fake nails, no breast implants, no cosmetic surgery. Everything must be natural. The sistas will compete in the following competitions: (1) natural hairstyles, (2) no spoken word profanity or the use of the word “nigger,” (3) talent competition, (4) Black history pop quiz. No swim suit competition. The coordinators will determine first, second and third place awards.
    10. Community Organizing Forum.
    11. Physical Fitness Competition: At least two or three times a week, brothas and sistas between the ages of 13 and 15, 16 and 18, 19 and 25 will compete in a number of athletic events. The brothas will compete against other brothas, and sistas against sistas. NO co-ed competitions. The competitions will consist of the following: On Monday, how many push-ups can you do in five minutes, how many burbies you can do in five minutes. On Tuesday, how many pull-ups can you do in five minutes? How many dips in five minutes? On Wednesday, how many sit-ups in five minutes? How many squats in five minutes? You can also have flag football, basketball, chess as well as an essay competition, just to name a few. At the end of BAM we will tally up all the scores; the winner in each group will receive a certificate – the Dragon Torch certificate which symbolizes fitness, physical discipline, mental strength, positive competition and our future generation of guardians of our right to be free!
    12. Black August Memorial Feast: On the 31st of August, we end Black August Memorial with a feast. This feast is a celebration of the renewal of our spirit, strength and mind – preparing for the difficulties to come. Each individual or family and community will pledge to (1) rebuild our New Afrikan communities; (2) work tirelessly towards a lasting Black unity; (3) end Black-on-Black violence (note this can be accomplished without working with or for the cops or government)l; (4) end teenage pregnancy, HIV/AIDS, drug addiction, alcoholism, illiteracy, unemployment, police brutality, self-hate, cultural ignorance, poverty in our communities, the Black criminal/gangsta mentality, recidivism, the use of the word “nigger,” “bitch,” “whore”; (5) help our Black women that are involved in prostitution, strip clubs or pornography; (6) support our New Afrikan POWs and political prisoners; (7) support Black August Memorial every year. This is not mere rhetoric; we will measure our success every year to determine the validity of our pledges!
  5. Black August Memorial Dragon Security Staff: At least three months prior to BAM, we will select and train our security staff. They will consist of brothas and sistas between the ages of 18 and 45. NO cops. We can secure our own events. NO GUNS or WEAPONS will be allowed to enter into any of our BAM events. Only BAM security staff with proper licenses will be allowed to carry a weapon.
  6. NO OUTSIDE businesses will exploit the Black August events. We will only employ Black businesses and/or Black-friendly businesses, providing that they donate their time and/or resources back to the community and BAM!
  7. NO COPS or political officials will participate in the organizing or coordinating of BAM or its events. They will not be eligible to join the local or national BAMCC.
  8. NO ONE that promotes kapitalism can join the local or national BAMCC.
  9. NO ONE engaged in criminal or drug activity can join the local or national BAMCC.
  10. NO brotha who is exploiting or abusing our New Afrikan (Black) women and girls can join the local or national BAMCC.

Black_August_Assata_poster, Getting ready for next Black August: Black August Memorial Commemoration Committees, Abolition Now! My people, in conclusion, let me reiterate the point illustrated in Brotha Sitawa Nantambu Jamaa’s article in the August issue of the Bay View. Contrary to popular myth, you don’t have to be a member of the New Afrikan Independence Movement to identify yourself as New Afrikan. Our historical reality has qualified us as New Afrikans.

We are not the same Afrikans that came from the Motherland. We are in fact descendants from a New Afrikan that has evolved within the construct of our historical reality. As New Afrikans, we represent all that is Afrikan, from Afrika to Cuba. We embody the Ibo, the Wolof and the Ewe, jut to name a few.

On many of the slave plantations, there were slaves from different tribes and nations forced by circumstances to amalgamate into a New Afrikan. What was meant to destroy us gave birth to a new people, a new culture, a new nation. Thus, the New Afrikan!

We live in a society that spends every waking minute trying to completely acculturate our identity as a people. We are who they say we are. Well, I have news for them, we are who WE say we are and we are New Afrikans in spirit, blood and culture.

Send our brothers some love and light: Abdul Olugbala Shakur, s/n J. Harvey, C-48884, PBSB SHU D4-112, P.O. Box 7500, Crescent City, CA 95531; Ifoma Modibo Kambon, s/n D. Burnett, B-60892, PBSB SHU D4-103, P.O. Box 7500, Crescent City, CA 95531; Sitawa Nantambu Jamaa, s/n R. Dewberry, C-35671, PBSP SHU, D1-117, P.O. Box 7500, Crescent City, CA 95531.