Tag Archives: prison resistance

Big George: A Docudrama About the Lucasville Rebellion

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Recently we have been looking into our collection on prison rebellions and we’d like to share with you what we have about the Lucasville 5. A highlight of our collection is “Big George: A Docudrama About the Lucasville Rebellion,” written by Staughton Lynd tracing the history, circumstances and aftermath of the 1993 rebellion.  The docudrama uses recordings from the rebellion and other testimony, much of which was disallowed at the trials of George Skatzes, to inform the dialogue and narrative.

Following the 1993 Lucasville Prison Rebellion, five men were sentenced to death for the murder of 9 prisoners and a guard killed during the rebellion. The rebellion was a reaction to the atrocious and violent conditions of the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Lucasville, OH. The prison takeover lasted 11 days after which Namir Abdul Mateen, Siddique Abdullah Hasan, Bomani Hando Shakur,  George Skatzes and Jason Robb were targeted for their leadership roles. The Lucasville rebellion became famous for its inter-racial solidarity in a prison known for racial unease.

For me “Big George” is particularly striking for its unique form.  Lynd’s docudrama is part legal testimony and part theater.  Walking the line of theatrical entertainment and potent legal evidence, the docudrama innovatively disseminates truths and mobilizes the audience.  For example “Big George” begins with a description of the set in which the stage is split between inside the prison and the prison yard.  We are told the audience is to be seated in the prison yard while the dialogue, much of which is legal testimony, takes place. The audience then becomes both prisoner as well as jury.  The documentary part of the play demands the audience take some responsibility for the Lucasville 5’s circumstances and the horrors of the prison system.  At the same time the theatrical part of the docudrama implicates the performativity and absurdity of our justice system.   This cross-genre piece is both historically as well as emotionally informative and demands accountability and ultimately a proactive movement from the audience to support Skatzes and the Lucasville 5 and to confront our carceral system.

Check out our entire collection here.


Prisoners and Politics: from the San Quentin Six to Pelican Bay

SQ6 defendants Fleeta Drumgo; Hugo Pinell; and David Johnson stage an impromptu sit in at San Quentin in 1975 when trial jurors toured the prison
SQ6 defendants Fleeta Drumgo; Hugo Pinell; and David Johnson stage an impromptu sit in at San Quentin in 1975 when trial jurors toured the prison.


Last Wednesday we co-sponsored Prisoners and Politics: from the San Quentin Six to Pelican Bay with Shaping San Francisco. 518 Valencia was standing room only with the space packed to capacity. The four panelists all shared interesting perspectives and drew important connections between historical and contemporary prison resistance. If you missed it, or just want to hear it again, follow the link below to a podcast of the entire event. We’ve also included the approximate timing for each panelists if you want to jump around. Thanks to everyone who helped make this a great event!

Prisoners and Politics Podcast

Author of Captive Nation Dan Burger (08:00- 32:00); original member of SQ Six David Johnson (32:30-48:00); original member of SQ Six Luis “Bato” Talamantez (48:00-54:30); National Lawyer’s Guild attorney Caitlin Kelly Henry (54:30-1:12:00); Q and A (1:12:00-end).



The Movement Newspaper

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Hello everyone,

My name is Chris and over the past month I’ve been working as an intern at the Freedom Archives. I’m excited to announce its collection of the Movement Newspaper has recently undergone a comprehensive update, allowing for greater search-ability  from issue to issue. We hope that these changes makes pinpointing the periodicals that would prove to be the most useful for your needs easier to find!

The Movement Newspaper was published by SNCC (Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee) and helped inform people of the many different struggles against oppression happening globally. Initially, the paper served to keep West Coast SNCC members of the organization up to speed on the civil rights movement and voter registration work in the South. Over time, the themes present in the newspaper  evolved, and the scope of topics expanded to cover worker’s rights, Black liberation, political prisoners, anti-Imperialist efforts, global protest movements, government repression, state violence among a multitude of other themes.


I was especially struck by the richness of the collection, the paper is an excellent firsthand source filled with articles, editorials and speeches written by pioneers of and the people within the struggle. The Movement provides not only insight into the factors and issues that people have historically fought back against, but the newspaper itself illuminates the strategies and actions taken by organizers within the movements. The theories and experiences that shaped the identity of their resistance are presented in their own words.

The Movement Newspaper

For those interested in a comprehensive political education spanning multiple movements and themes; I highly recommend checking it out!!


Preservation of the Past: George Jackson at San Quentin

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One of the many things the Freedom Archives did in 2014 is we transferred George Jackson/San Quentin to digital video from a 16mm film “work print” made in 1971–1972. This extraordinary video contains never-before-seen footage from San Quentin of George Jackson. It also includes footage of Angela Davis, then in the Marin County Jail, and the powerful comments of Georgia Jackson (George and Jonathan Jackson’s mother).

Watch Film Here

This film is a powerful visual complement to our other one-of-a-kind audio materials on George Jackson and the San Quentin Six. The preservation of such amazing, previously unknown historic materials is essential to deepening our understanding of struggle and resistance, and affirms our mission.

Your ongoing support is absolutely essential to our ability to continue our work. Your help makes possible all the educational work we do: the internship program, the audio and video documentaries and books, the online resources and digital search site, and our outreach efforts from our Mission district community out to the nation and the world. Most importantly, your help ensures that this resource will be able to serve generations to come.

Donate Here

Please consider sending us a donation. You can also contribute on-line or become a monthly sustainer. Thanks very much for helping to launch our next 15 years!


Anniversary and Anarchy

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scan412My name is Katie Hanks and I am currently an intern here at the Archives. My most recent task has been diligently working on the Black Flag collection.  With our upcoming 15th anniversary on Thursday October 16th, I want to take some time to highlight this and other recent projects completed at the Freedom Archives. The Black Flag is a periodical devoted to the liberation of political prisoners involved with the anarchist movement.  Additional recent accomplishments include: releasing over 120 Black Panther newspapers and debuting a robust audio collection of recordings taken during the Free Speech Movement.  To show your support for work like this and future projects please join us at our 15th Anniversary Celebration on Thursday October 16th at the African American Art & Culture Complex on 762 Fulton Street at 7:00 p.m.

For more information click on the link below:


If you would like to show your support but are unable to attend you can donate here.

Can’t wait to see you there!



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