Herman Wallace, Albert Woodfox and Robert King have spent a combined century in solitary confinement in Louisiana State Penitentiary, known as Angola, which is the infamous prison formerly an 18,000-acre former slave plantation. Still in prison, Wallace and Woodcock were targeted by prison officials for being members of the Black Panther Party, and were convicted of murdering a prison guard. This is a verdict they continue to challenge.
"A 2010 memoir by Wilbert Rideau, an inmate at Angola from 1961 through 2001, states that "slavery was commonplace in Angola with perhaps a quarter of the population in bondage" throughout the 1960s and early 1970s. The New York Times states that weak inmates served as slaves who were raped, gang-raped, and traded and sold like cattle. Rideau stated that "The slave's only way out was to commit suicide, escape or kill his master." Herman Wallace and Albert Woodfox, members of the Angola 3, arrived at Angola in the late 1960s and became active members of the prison's chapter of the Black Panther Party, where they organized petitions and hunger strikes to protest conditions at the prison and helped new inmates protect themselves from rape and enslavement. C. Murray Henderson, one of the wardens brought in to clean up the prison, states in one of his memoirs that the systemic sexual slavery was sanctioned and facilitated by the prison guards."
This sounds like an amazing documentary. If you cannot see the film on Wednesday night at the Contemporary Museum of Art, plan on going to Facets Multimedia, 1517 Fullerton, Chicago IL. 773-281-4114. Facets Cinémathèque screening:
Thurs., June 9 at 7 pm