Glossary: Black August

Former Black Panther Party member Assata Shakur. The first woman on the FBI's Most Wanted List. Image Courtesy of breakthechains.info.

Former Black Panther Party member Assata Shakur. The first woman on the FBI’s Most Wanted List. Image courtesy of breakthechains.info.

“August is a month of meaning, of repression and radical resistance, of injustice and divine justice, of repression and righteous rebellion, of individual and collective efforts to free the slaves and break the chains that bind us.” – Mumia Abu-Jamal

Happy Black August! This month, we celebrate the men and women who have performed brave acts of anti-racist resistance that have contributed to the freedoms we have today. Originating within the confines of California state prisons in honor of the San Quentin 6, this month-long celebration and includes community and cultural events, activism, fasting, reflection, and education.  Throughout Black August, organizations such as the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement and Critical Resistance also shed light on efforts to free political prisoners and end mass incarceration.

New York’s Brecht Forum is hosting a Black August Film Festival that includes a showing of the global anti-apartheid documentary, “Have You Heard from Johannesburg.” More details about tickets and location can be found on their website.

by Lauren Silver

The FBI vs. People of the United States

Richard Aoki gives Black Power salute at Black Panther Party rally.

Beloved Japanese-American Black Panther Party member Richard Aoki was recently accused of being a FBI informant by investigative journalist Seth Rosenfeld in his new book, Subversives: The FBI’s War on Student Radicals, and Reagan’s Rise to Power.  Aoki passed away in 2009 and is therefore unable to defend himself against these accusations.  However, a number of activists and scholars, including Professor Diane Fujino, Aoki’s biographer, question whether Rosenfeld presents conclusive or even sufficient evidence to support his claims.