Aug 22, 2008

Remembering Black August

By Rasheed Shabazz

The hot summer month of August is notorious in the Black community. From neighborhood cookouts indicating the end of summertime to the rise in hood shootouts resulting in increased inner city homicide rates. August is a month of significance.
For many Africans in America of the revolutionary persuasion, August has another significance: Black August.

Rebellious Nature of Black August:

• First enslaved Africans brought to Jamestown, Virginia in August 1619
• Henry Highland Garnett, a militant abolitionist, called for a general slave strike
• August Birthdays: Marcus Garvey, Dr. Mutulu Shaur, and Fred Hampton, Sr.
• The Underground Railroad started on August 2, 1850
• March on Washington was held August of 1963
• Prophet Nat Turner planned and executed an uprising beginning August 21, 1831
• Watts Rebellion (riots) held August of 1965 in LA
• The MOVE family bombed by Philadelphia police August 8, 1978
• George Jackson was assassinated by San Quentin guards August 21, 1971
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“Black August originated in the concentration camps of California to honor fallen Freedom Fighters,” according to the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement (MXGM). Honoring George Jackson, his brother Jonathan Jackson, William Christmas, James McClain and Khatari Gualden. Jonathan was gunned down outside the Marin County Courthouse on August 7, 1970 attempting to liberate McClain, Chrismas and Ruchell Magee. Magee is the sole survior of that uprising and has been on lockdown for 40 years.
George, who was assassinated by San Quentin guards August 21, 1971, is the founder of the Black Guerilla Family (BGF).
In August, many refrain from listening to the radio or watching television in commemoration of Black August. There is also a tradition of a Ramadan-like fast in which a “conscious fast” is in effect. In the spirit of sacrifice and discipline, many do not eat or drink from sunrise to sunset.
“Black August fasting should serve as a constant reminder of the conditions our people have faced and still confront,” says MXGM.
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