The revolutionary meaning of Black August

The revolutionary meaning of Black August

By Comrade Saint

Black August was originally created for African people to mourn the deaths of fallen revolutionaries such as the Freedom Fighters Jonathan and George Jackson, and Khatari Gaulden. Whereas Black History Month focuses on the most liberal highlights civil rights movement, Black August has direct ties to prison abolitionists, revolutionaries, freedom fighters who were about the total destruction of the colonial empire.

Black Panther Kiilu Nyasha wrote about Black August:

 ‘[it was] first organized to honor our fallen freedom fighters, Jonathan and George Jackson, Khatari Gaulden, James McClain, William Christmas, and the sole survivor of the August 7, 1970 Courthouse Slave Rebellion, Ruchell Cinque Magee. It is still a time to embrace the principles of unity, self-sacrifice, political education, physical fitness and/or training in martial arts, resistance, and spiritual renewal. The concept, Black August, grew out of the need to expose to the light of day the glorious and heroic deeds of those African women and men who recognized and struggled against the injustices heaped upon people of color on a daily basis in America.’

Historically, the month of August has been a time of earth-shaking rebellions by African people that have been maliciously swept under the rug of history in an attempt to further the grip of white power institutions.

It has been a time where we unite as a community to memorialize and celebrate our revolutionary history as a way to address this contradiction.

Aug. 28, 1971, Oakland California. Revolutionary salute as the body of  George Jackson was carried from St. Augustine’s Episcopal Church.

Self-determination is a key part of Black August. To become politically educated is to start the process of reclaiming self-determination and autonomy for African and Colonized people. To become politically educated means that we as a people must unite to self-determination in order to create real, material change for the masses.

August, historically, has been filled with revolutionary movements that force us to acknowledge the necessity of material change. By observing Black August we keep these movements alive so that we can unite around organizing to achieve that material change.  

To name a just few revolutionary events that occurred on this month:

  • Dr. Martin Luther King’s March on Washington in 1963.
  • Nat Turner’s rebellion of enslaved Africans on August 21, 1831
  • Gabriel Prosser’s revolt that lead to the execution of 25 colonized people and himself, August 30, 1800.
  • On the same day, in 1948, Fred Hampton was born.
  • Marcus Garvey was born August 17th, 1887, in Saint Anne’s Bay, Jamaica.
  • The founding of Underground Railroad.
  • The Watts Uprising on August 11, 1965.

These movements that came before us serve as a reminder that the only way forward is to burn the whole damn Colonial system down, and build up our own system in its place.

It’s time that we as a people choose self-determination. Throughout these six hundred years of colonization, negotiation and assimilation have been miserable failures. Like our principles of unity make clear, the only way to address the colonial contradiction is through a dictatorship of colonized people over their lands, lives and resources.

Join Black Hammer and help build Hammer City. The first step to revolution is getting the land back. Black Hammer is starting off Black August by announcing the leadership of Hammer City because we plan to do exactly that.

Land Back!


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