Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
- For the British politician of the same name, see: George Jackson (MP)
Born in Chicago, his family moved to Los Angeles when he was 14. Several juvenile convictions resulted in spending time in the Youth Authority Corrections facility in Paso Robles. Jackson was convicted and imprisoned as a felon at age 18.
While at San Quentin State Prison in 1966, he founded the Black Guerrilla Family, a Marxist revolutionary organization. The original goal of the gang was to eradicate racism, to maintain dignity in prison and to overthrow the United States government.
On January 13, 1970, along with Fleeta Drumgo and John Clutchette, he was charged with killing a guard in retaliation for the murder of three black activists at the California's San Quentin prison. He was incarcerated in the maximum-security cellblock at Soledad Prison. Jackson and the other two inmates became known as the "Soledad Brothers."
In August 7, 1970, George Jackson's 17-year-old brother Jonathan burst into a Marin County courtroom with a machine gun, freed three San Quentin prisoners and took Judge Harold Haley as a hostage to demand freedom for the three "Soledad Brothers." However, Haley, prisoners William Christmas and James McClain, and Jonathan Jackson were killed by police fire as they attempted to drive away from the courthouse. The case made national headlines.
Isolated in solitary confinement for 23 hours a day, Jackson studied political economy and radical theory and wrote two books, Blood in My Eye and Soledad Brother, which became bestsellers and brought him world-wide attention.
On August 21, 1971, Jackson was gunned down in the prison yard at San Quentin in what officials described as an escape attempt/riot involving two dozen other prisoners. In his possession, he had a 9mm automatic pistol alleged to have been smuggled into the prison by attorney Stephen Bingham. (Bingham was acquitted of charges related to the incident in 1984.) According to the Soledad guards, it was discarded after the alleged escape attempt, but no record was ever made of the weapon's destruction. Some other prisoners who witnessed the event claim that there was no weapon and that Jackson had not been planning any escape or rebellion. What is known is that three corrections officers and two inmates were tortured and killed by Jackson and several accomplices prior to Jackson's final standoff with the authorities.
- "The concept of nonviolence is a false ideal. It presupposes the existence of compassion and a sense of justice on the part of one's adversary. When this adversary has everything to lose and nothing to gain by exercising justice and compassion, his reaction can only be negative."
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