Albert Woodfox: A former Black Panther Civil Rights activist died at 75 year
On Thursday, Woodfox’s death was announced by his brother Michael Mable, two of his longtime legal counsel, George Kendall, and Carine Williams. They stated that the problems brought on by the coronavirus caused his death.
Franklin KamauBreaking News: At age 75, veteran Black Panther Party member Albert Woodfox passed away after spending 43 years in a 6 foot by 9 foot cell and being confined in solitary confinement for the longest period of time in US history.
In a statement, his family stated:
“With sorrowful hearts, we write to inform you that Albert Woodfox, our partner, brother, father, grandpa, and friend, died away this afternoon as a result of COVID-19 complications.”
They also added:
“Please know that your care and compassion maintained Albert through his incredible 75 years, and we are eternally thankful for that,” the statement continued. “Whatever you called him – Fox, Shaka, Cinque or any of his other wonderful nicknames.”
In response to the treatment of black prisoners unfairly, Albert Woodfox founded the Black Panther organization.
Albert Woodfox, a 1947 New Orleans native, was a part of the notorious “Angola 3” at the Louisiana State Penitentiary. Robert King and Herman Wallace were two of the three male prisoners who were notorious for spending extended amounts of time alone.
On suspicion of armed robbery, Woodfox was imprisoned at the Louisiana State Penitentiary in 1965. The former inmates were convicted responsible for the murder of correctional officer Brent Miller in 1972, despite their long-standing assertions to the contrary.
They were allegedly kept apart due to fears that their affiliation with the Black Panther party might anger other inmates at the Angolan maximum-security prison farm.
The group came up with the concept of starting a Black Panther organization within the jail. They used it to express their opposition to the segregation of inmates and the chain gangs of black prisoners who were made to pick cotton for no pay from surrounding fields.
The Black Panther Party was connected to the Angola Three within the jail. Amnesty International and other advocacy groups thought they were being mistreated in light of this.
Albert Woodfox was subjected to cruel and pointless strip searches in addition to beatings, gassings, and other forms of torture. He suffered this for 43 years while being detained in a 6- by-9-foot cell for 23 hours each day. On his 69th birthday in 2016, Woodfox was finally freed.
In a 2019 interview with Scott Simon of NPR, Woodfox once outlined the treatment he’s received:
“Gas, however, was a common type of weapon deployed by security personnel. Thus, they would gas you whenever you protested cruel treatment or unconstitutional behavior.”
He went on:
You would likely spend at least 10 days in the dungeon after they beat you down and shackle you, depending on how serious the confrontation was. They would then open up your cell and enter.
“We made the deliberate choice to never be institutionalized. As the years passed, we worked to develop and inspire ourselves.” Solitary, a biography by Albert Woodfox, was published in 2019.
According to numerous stories, Albert Woodfox studied law and history while he was a prisoner, along with King, Wallace, and other inmates. They also prepared protests and strikes over problems like attire, working hours, racial inequity, and sexual assault in prisons.
Several years ago, he stated to sources:
“They locked me up in a cell with the express intention of crushing my spirit. Our cells were designed to be places of death. We transformed them into law schools, debate rooms, high schools, and colleges.
In 2019 Woodfox published a book he co-wrote with his partner Leslie Georg called Solitary, which described his 23-hour daily imprisonment in a small 6-by-9-foot cell. Both the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award were given to the book.