Member of the Angola 3 comes to LJMU
17 October 2011
US citizen Robert King, widely believed to have been wrongfully imprisoned in solitary confinement for 29 years, this week brought the fight to free his comrades to LJMU.
Organised by the Centre for the Study of Crime, Criminalisation and Social Exclusion (CCSE) the event was the first in the Critical Research Seminar Series, with King, the only freed member of the 'Angola Three,' giving a question and answer session after a free screening of a film about the group’s struggle.
'In the Land of the Free, is directed by Vadim Jean and narrated by Samuel L. Jackson, and explains how Robert King, Herman Wallace and Albert Woodfox became incarcerated in solitary confinement after a prison guard was killed.
The three men were members of the Black Panther party, the political force which, among other objectives, aimed to improve living conditions for inmates at Angola Prison, once known as the 'bloodiest prison in America.'
They claim that, because of their involvement with the party, they were wrongly charged with the murder of the guard and faced unfair trials, with the result that they were put in solitary confinement for several decades.
In 2001, King won the right to an appeal and was freed. Since that time, King has been fighting for the freedom of his friends, who have now spent over 40 years in solitary confinement.
Speaking about the campaign, Robert commented: "It’s a self-willed commitment and it’s something that needs to be done. I’m doing it for many people, this is much bigger than Albert and Herman and they’d say the same thing.
"The bigger picture is, as the movie shows, that this is a problem which permeates society. There are people incarcerated for long periods of time within a system that prides itself on democracy. It doesn’t concur with what they say and what they actually do."
Professor Joe Sim: "This was the first of a new seminar series organised by LJMU’s Centre for the Study of Crime, Criminalisation and Social Exclusion. The series aims to provide a platform for serious political and academic debate around contemporary issues and criminal justice.
"It is our role as critical academics to be involved with and provide an opportunity for the public to listen to voices that are rarely heard and remain marginalised, especially the voices of those individuals and groups struggling around issues of social miscarriages of justice."
Among others, Amnesty International is backing Robert’s campaign. For more information, see www.amnesty.org/en/appeals-for-action/justice-for-albert-woodfox-and-herman-wallace