Resistance: The Meaning of Black August

“Settle your quarrels, come together, understand the reality of our situation, understand that fascism is already here, that people are already dying who could be saved, that generations more will live poor butchered half-lives if you fail to act. Do what must be done; discover your humanity and your love in revolution.”

― George L. Jackson

Unlike the so-called Black History Month, a month that celebrates commercialism and a sanitized version of the history of decedents of the Afrikan holocaust, the month of Black August acknowledges the fallen comrades that die, sacrifice and struggle for the self-determination and liberation of the kkkaptive Black colony.


Black August originated in the California penal system to honor fallen Freedom Fighters, Jonathan Jackson, George Jackson, William Christmas, James McClain, and Khatari Gaulden. Jonathan Jackson was gunned down outside the Marin County California courthouse on August 7, 1970 as he attempted to liberate three imprisoned Black Liberation Fighters: James McClain, William Christmas and Ruchell Magee. Ruchell Magee is the sole survivor of that armed liberation attempt. He is the former co-defendant of Angela Davis and has been locked down for 47 years, most of it in solitary confinement. George Jackson was assassinated by prison guards during a Black prison rebellion at San Quentin on August 21, 1971. Three prison guards were also killed during that rebellion and prison officials charged six Black and Latino prisoners with the death of those guards. These six brothers became known as the San Quentin Six. Upon his release from 43 years in solitary confinement, San Quentin Six member Hugo Yogi Panell was murdered on the yard of New Folsom prison.

In the late 1970’s the observance and practice of Black August left the prisons of California and began being practiced by Black/New Afrikan revolutionaries throughout the country. Members of the New Afrikan Independence Movement (NAIM) began practicing and spreading Black August during this period. The Malcolm X Grassroots Movement (MXGM) inherited knowledge and practice of Black August from its parent organization, the New Afrikan People’s Organization (NAPO). MXGM through the Black August Collective (now defunct) began introducing the Hip-Hop community to Black August in the late 1990’s after being inspired by New Afrikan political exile Nehanda Abiodun.


Traditionally, Black August is a time to study history, particularly our history in the North American Empire.

The first Afrikans were brought to Jamestown as slaves in August of 1619.

Underground Railroad was started on August 2, 1850.

The March on Washington occurred in August of 1963.

Gabriel Prosser’s 1800 slave rebellion occurred on August 30.

Nat Turner planned and executed a slave rebellion that commenced on August 21, 1831.

The Watts rebellions were in August of 1965.

On August 18, 1971 the Provisional Government of the Republic of New Afrika (RNA) was raided by Mississippi police and FBI agents.

The MOVE family was bombed by Philadelphia police on August 8, 1978.

Further, August is a time of birth. Dr. Mutulu Shakur (political prisoner and prisoner of war).

Pan-Africanist Black Nationalist Leader Marcus Garvey, Maroon Russell Shoatz (political prisoner) and Chicago BPP Chairman Fred Hampton were born in August. August is also a time of rebirth, W.E.B. Dubois died in Ghana on August 27, 1963.

The tradition of fasting during Black August teaches self-discipline. A conscious fast is in effect from 6:00 am to 8:00 pm. Some other personal sacrifice can be made as well. The sundown meal is traditionally shared whenever possible among comrades. On August 31, a People’s feast is held and the fast is broken. Black August fasting should serve as a constant reminder of the conditions our people have faced and still confront. Fasting is uncomfortable at times, but it is helpful to remember all those who have come and gone before us.

Black August exemplifies the need for the continuous struggle self-determination and resistance against amerikkka empire and how our fallen hero’s and shero’s, have paved the road to achieve and fulfilled our destinies. It is now up to us to build a vehicle to travel down that road. We will need to build a bus so everyone has a seat toward their liberation, and this bus will not have any back seats. Everyone will be riding upfront, even if we have to build this bus sideways!