We continue to celebrate Black August, which is the annual commemoration and prison-based holiday, to remember Black freedom fighters and political prisoners and to highlight Black resistance against racial oppression. It is a time for reflection, study, and action to promote Black Liberation.
Black August began as a commemoration of the black revolutionary George Jackson in the California State Prison System, but August is important because a plethora of vital moments in the struggle for Black Freedom have anniversaries in August. Here are some events observed during Black August:
Haitian Revolution (Aug 21, 1791) – a successful insurrection by self-liberated slaves against French colonial rule in Saint-Domingue, now known as Haiti.
Nat Turner’s Rebellion (Aug 21, 1831) – a rebellion of enslaved Virginians that took place in Southampton County, Virginia, led by Nat Turner.
The Underground Railroad (Aug 2, 1850) – established by Harriet Tubman to help aid enslaved people in their escape routes to freedom.
Fugitive Slave Law Convention (Aug 21-22, 1850) – a convention chaired by Frederick Douglass, in New York to organize opposition to the passage of the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, which legalized the capture of escaped enslaved people in every state.
March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom (Aug 28, 1963) – when over 250,000 people gathered at the Lincoln Memorial to draw attention to continuing challenges and inequalities faced by Black people. Also, Martin Luther King Jr. gave his famous “I Have a Dream Speech.”
California Prison Hunger Strikes (took place in Aug 2011, Aug 2013) – Prisoners in Pelican Bay’s Security Housing Unit organized mass hunger strikes at prisons across California to protest solitary confinement and advocated for medical care.
Black August is not just a time for study and reflection; it is also a time to promote action in your community. Want to get involved? Check out some of the local non-profits we support putting in the work!
NC Black Alliance, Raleigh, NC
Emancipate NC, Durham, NC
NC CRED, Durham, NC
PHOTO: March on Washington