As a direct relative of two prominent members of the Black Panther Party, revolutionary thought and family history have always been intertwined for Jonathan Peter Jackson, particularly in August.
That’s the month in 1971 when his uncle and famed Panther, George Jackson, was killed in an uprising at San Quentin State prison. A revolutionary whose words resonated inside and out of the prison walls, he was a published author, activist and radical thought leader.
Many people know February as the month dedicated to celebrating Black Americans’ contributions to a country where they were once enslaved. However, Black History Month has an alternative: Black August.
First celebrated in 1979, Black August was originally created to commemorate Jackson’s fight for Black liberation. Fifty one years since his death, Black August is a month-long awareness campaign and celebration dedicated to Black American freedom fighters, revolutionaries and self-professed radicals, both living and deceased.
The annual commemorations have been embraced by activists in the global Black Lives Matter movement, many of whom draw inspiration from freedom fighters like Jackson and his contemporaries.
“It’s important to do this now because a lot of people who were on the radical scene during that time period, relatives and non-relatives, who are like blood relatives, are entering their golden years,” Jonathan Jackson said.
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