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From the Open-Publishing Calendar
From the Open-Publishing Newswire
Indybay Feature
View other events for the week of 5/23/2006
Angola 3 Night
Date Tuesday May 23
Time 8:00 PM - 10:00 PM
Location Details
Station 40
3030B 16th Street
Event Type Speaker
Organizer/Author
King Will Do His Thing

Tuesday May 23rd
8:00 pm

Station 40
3030B 16th Street


Robert King Wilkerson will speak about his experience as a political
prisoner and his life since his release, including recent work in his
home town of New Orleans.

Robert King Wilkerson, one of the prisoners known as "the Angola 3,"
was released from the Louisiana State Penitentiary on Feb. 8, 2001,
after spending 29 years in solitary confinement for a murder he did
not commit.

Wilkerson, 58, was convicted of the 1973 murder of a fellow Angola
prisoner despite the fact that another man confessed and was convicted
of the murder. After two prisoners who testified against Wilkerson —
the only evidence ever presented against him — retracted their
testimony and revealed that it had been coerced by prison officials,
the United States Court of Appeals in December issued a ruling that
almost certainly would have led to his release.

In response, in what his supporters characterized as a face-saving
move, the state offered Wilkerson a plea bargain, which he accepted.
Six hours later, to the cheers of a throng of family and supporters,
Wilkerson walked out of Angola a free man.

He has pledged to dedicate his life to winning freedom for Albert
Woodfox and Herman Wallace, the other two members of the Angola 3, and
for all of the other innocent men with whom he was incarcerated for
the past three decades.

"I may be free of Angola, but Angola will never be free of me," Wilkerson said.

Woodfox and Wallace have also been held in solitary confinement for 29
years. They were convicted of the 1972 murder of an Angola prison
guard — a murder that they have unwaveringly claimed they did not
commit. In recent years, new evidence of their innocence has surfaced.
Even though the new evidence was suppressed at the time of their
trials, they have thus far been unable to win justice from the courts.

Wilkerson, Woodfox, and Wallace have always believed that they were
framed by prison officials because they organized the Angola chapter
of the Black Panther Party. Prior to being placed in solitary
confinement, the men led campaigns to end prisoner rape, improve race
relations, and ameliorate conditions at the slave
plantation-turned-prison.

All three men entered prison on unrelated robbery charges and quickly
joined the prisoners' rights movement that was sweeping the country in
the late 1960s. In the ensuing years, the men continued their activism
from within solitary confinement by organizing hunger strikes,
educating other prisoners, and by becoming highly-skilled jailhouse
lawyers.

The American Civil Liberties Union is currently pursing a federal
lawsuit alleging that the men's 29-year stay in solitary confinement
amounts to unconstitutional cruel and unusual punishment.

Now that he is free, Wilkerson plans to travel and speak out against
the imprisonment of Woodfox and Wallace and the continuing growth of
the American prison-industrial complex.

He also makes and sells a kind of candy that he perfected during his
time behind bars, a vegan kind of pralines called Freelines.

Scott Fleming, one of the lawyers for the Angola Three, will give a
brief update on the legal position of the case.

There will also be a short film (6 minutes) about the day King walked
free in February 2001 and the subsequent Second Line party in the
Sixth Ward of New Orleans.

For more information about the Angola Three:

http://www.prisonactivist.org/angola/history.html
Added to the calendar on Friday May 19th, 2006 10:41 PM
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