KBOO Radio interviews Robert Hillary King of the Angola 3
September 12, 2009
Robert Hillary King author and the only member of The Angola 3 to be
freed from jail joins host Linda Olson-Osterlund to give an update on
the cases of the A3 and to talk about prisons as modern slavery.
Herman Wallace and Albert Woodfox have spent 37 years in solitary
confinement. Black Panther activists, convicted of a crime they did
not commit they each have impending court cases that could free them.
They along with Robert King also have a Federal Civil Rights lawsuit
that could come down with a decision any day. Learn about these cases
Listen to the September 10 radio show here.
Robert Hillary King's new book From the Bottom of the Heap: The
Autobiography of Robert Hillary King is available for purchase from
PM Press. King's autobiography won the 2008 PASS Award, and has been
reviewed by SF Bay View, Black Commentator, Hour, Alternet, Political
Media Review, La Presse, Albany Times Union, and The Times-Picayune
In 1970, a jury convicted Robert Hillary King of a crime he did not
commit and sentenced him to 35 years in prison. He became a member of
the Black Panther Party while in Angola State Penitentiary,
successfully organizing prisoners to improve conditions. In return,
prison authorities beat him, starved him, and gave him life without
parole after framing him for a second crime. He was thrown into
solitary confinement, where he remained in a six by nine foot cell
for 29 years as one of the Angola 3. In 2001, the state grudgingly
acknowledged his innocence and set him free. This is his story.
It begins at the beginning: born black, born poor, born in Louisiana
in1942, King journeyed to Chicago as a hobo at the age of 15. He
married and had a child, and briefly pursued a semi-pro boxing career
to help provide for his family. Just a teenager when he entered the
Louisiana penal system for the first time, King tells of his attempts
to break out of this system, and his persistent pursuit of justice
where there is none.
Yet this remains a story of inspiration and courage, and the triumph
of the human spirit. The conditions in Angola almost defy
description, yet King never gave up his humanity, or the work towards
justice for all prisoners that he continues to do today. From the
Bottom of the Heap, so simply and humbly told, strips bare the
economic and social injustices inherent in our society, while
continuing to be a powerful literary testimony to our own strength
and capacity to overcome.
To learn more about King, please visit his website: www.kingsfreelines.com
37 years ago in Louisiana, 3 young black men were silenced for trying
to expose continued segregation, systematic corruption, and horrific
abuse in the biggest prison in the US, an 18,000-acre former slave
plantation called Angola. In 1972 and 1973 prison officials charged
Herman Wallace, Albert Woodfox, and Robert King with murders they did
not commit and threw them into 6x9 ft. cells in solitary confinement,
for over 36 years. Robert was freed in 2001, but Herman and Albert
remain behind bars.