Fall 2012

Dear Friends,

Your support has made this an international breakthrough year for the Freedom Archives!

Our film, Cointelpro 101, made its way to England, Hawaii, South Africa and Puerto Rico as well as many communities and film festivals across the US. We’re also being viewed on LINK TV and Free Speech TV.

In January we will launch a major multifaceted project that highlights the history of activism to close Control Unit prisons. At least 80,000 people are held under conditions of prolonged isolation in the US. Many are in solitary confinement or in prisons like Pelican Bay in California, ADX Florence federal prison, or in so-called Communication Management Units (CMUs) where the federal government encages a majority Muslim population.

The origin of this type of torturous imprisonment began in 1985 when the US Bureau of Prisons permanently locked down USP Marion in Illinois. The Freedom Archives has teamed with Nancy Kurshan, one of the founders of the Committee to End the Marion Lockdown (CEML) to publish a book Out of Control: A Fifteen Year Battle Against Control Unit Prisons. At the same time, we are launching a website with as complete documentation as possible on the campaigns against Marion and Lexington prisons. This history becomes even more important in light of the hunger strikes in Georgia, Ohio, and California over the last many months.

You can order this new book by following the links at www.FreedomArchives.org/CEML.html
The book will ship in January 2013.

The content on the website, which also launches in January, includes audio and video materials and numerous scanned documents that can be downloaded and are not available anywhere else; they are a result of countless staff and volunteer hours, relentless work by Nancy Kurshan and Steve Whitman, and the generosity of many others who scoured basements and old files to unearth these crucial and illuminating documents and tapes. We are confident this will amount to a significant resource for the current—and growing—movement to end mass imprisonment and prolonged isolation.

The Freedom Archives is taking a stand against the control unit prison system, and it’s important to me to be part of this protest. We are creating a website that will contain crucial information and videos from inside the control units, as well as rare interviews with prisoners from Marion Prison. It’s fulfilling to be able to learn from the lessons of history by preserving the past and acting upon immediate issues in our community. Michael Rozynski, USF Intern – November 2012

We also recently completed a short, 12-minute video about long-time political prisoner, Herman Bell. Herman was a member of the Black Panther Party who went underground for several years, until his arrest in New Orleans in September, 1973. He and four others then stood trial in New York for the murder of two New York policemen. Their first trial ended in a hung jury and their second trial, based on the coerced testimony of another former Black Panther Party member who had been repeatedly tortured in New Orleans, resulted in the unjust conviction of Herman, Nuh Washington, and Jalil Muntaqim.

Over nearly four decades in prison, Herman has maintained his commitment to social transformation and demonstrated his care and compassion for the Black community behind and outside of the walls. We’ve been working on this video with Herman, his family, and one of his many supporters—Danny Glover. We will have the video available on the web in the near future and expect it will also be seen at meetings and gatherings to build support, not only for Herman’s return home, but as one powerful example of the many aging political and other prisoners who should be released to rejoin their communities.

On the video, Herman Bell’s two granddaughters say it so much more eloquently and beautifully than we ever could. They, and their generation, as well as our interns from high school and college, and the youth on our staff, are, in the deepest sense, exactly who the work of the Freedom Archives is for.

Preserve the past – illuminate the present – shape the future

It is your encouragement and support that keep us moving forward. Please contribute what you can.

You can click here to give on line! (if everyone gave $5 or $10, we’d be set for 2013)

Thank you!

I have been able to listen to cassette recordings that date back to the 1970s. I would NOT have heard this amazing history elsewhere. This internship has given me the opportunity to access material otherwise hidden from me as a history major at the University of San Francisco. The Freedom Archives has given me access to previously hidden social movement history, something that I greatly value as an African American Studies minor. Ilima Peterson, USF Intern – November 2012