36 years ago, deep in rural Louisiana, three 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.
Peaceful, non-violent protest in the form of hunger and work strikes organized by inmates, caught the attention of Louisiana’s first black elected legislators and local media in the early 1970s.
State legislative leaders, along with the administration of a newly-elected, reform-minded governor, called for investigations into a host of unconstitutional practices and the extraordinarily cruel and unusual treatment commonplace in the prison.
In 1972 and 1973 prison officials, determined to put an end to outside scrutiny, charged Herman Wallace, Albert Woodfox, and Robert King with murders they did not commit and threw them into 6×9 foot cells in solitary confinement, for nearly 36 years. Robert was freed in 2001, but Herman and Albert remain behind bars.