Interview with Amiri Baraka

I'm sorry. In the late si--before Attica for example there's that whole prison movement around George Jackson. What are you beginning to see prisoners doing in terms of reading, in terms of being open to what's going on around the Black consciousness movement?


Like I said, there was a big connection between the movement and the prisoners because a lot of people in the movement were getting locked up, and so they would be carrying that message into the prisons, and a lot of people were locked up directly related to movement activities and so when they put them in prisons, it became, you know, a place where you could organize. And then when I was locked up in Trenton, ah, the police did everything they could to put me in solitary, I dodged that, but when I was in Newark, ah, the pen over here in Newark, Essex County pen, they put me in solitary. They never wanted to have, um, the activists in the population, you see what I mean, but it didn't matter. There were still strong ties between militant activity and the people in prison because the people in the prison would resent the fact they were in prison in the first place. Particularly if they were there around, ah, revolutionary activities. So there was a stronger tie and as the revolutionary motion began to stall out, you know the murders of Malcolm, the murders of Dr. King, the murders of, ah, wholesale murders and slaughters and Panthers and activists and lock-ups of people. Then, ah, like the movement itself you begin to get a stalling and a reactionary kind of tone sets in.