August will always be a very special month! “Black August” is a commemoration of fallen revolutionary leaders in Black history and the diaspora of Afri’k’an peoples. The ’31 day salute’ includes activities, fasting (usually ending with a ‘peoples feast’), reflection, and education. Black August is active.* It not only reflects on history, those who sacrificed, those unjustly killed or left for dead. It’s also a united front in the present calling for discipline of the mind and body, sharing information, resistance to oppression, and knowing you’re not alone. Recognized around the word, its founders were united brothers of revolution in the California prison system during the 1970s.
The concept is based on political, ideological, cultural, and organizational principles—but there’s definitely differences from the likes of Kwanzaa and “Black History Month” where the active, armed, strategic and sacrificial resistance for liberation often gets lost:
“This is not something created from the outside and I never learned this in school. It highlights our militant revolutionary history which, even with the set people we always hear about, get ‘white washed,’ like Harriet Tubman. No one ever talks about her taking up arms and holding white slave masters at gun-point during her ‘freeing the slaves.’ I respect and like Kwanzaa, but the Seven Principles can also be interpreted differently, and by yourself you might not know exactly what to do. Black August is something where we know everyone is doing the same things for the same reasons.” – Kasim O. Gero
August 1st, 7th, 13th, and 21st are highly honored days. On these ‘FLEA days’ the fasting, physical activity, education and reflection get more intense and specific people are honored. FLEA and ‘non-FLEA days’ encourage doing without television, drugs and alcohol:
“The FLEA days are essential as they help to build unity, and remind us of our collective self sacrifice. We unite with like minded, kindred freedom-fighting spirits, because we are collectively doing something in common, which let us know that, we are not alone in this struggle, regardless of where we might be; i.e. in prison, or economically, culturally, and spiritually drained.” – Kijana Tashiri Askari
Questions for sisters/brothers wanting to participate via One New Afrikan Nation Toward Black August Memorial:
- What is Black August?
- How did the concept of Black August originate?
- What is the significance of Black August to the Black community?
- What are the politics of Black August?
- How is Black August viewed as a viable social concept?
- Why should people support Black August?
- Who is W.L. Nolan?
- Who is William Christmas?
- Who is George L. Jackson?
- Who is “Joka Khatari” Gaulden?
- What is Black August Resistance?
Significant Days of August via Malcolm X Grassroots Movement:
- August, 1619 – The first Afrikans were brought to Jamestown as slaves
- August 22, 1719 – Haitian Revolution begins
- August 30, 1800 – Gabriel Prosser’s slave rebellion
- August 1822 – Denmark Vessey is imprisoned and murdered
- August 21, 1831 – Nat Turner planned and executed a slave rebellion
- August 22, 1843 – Henry Highland Garnett called a general slave strike
- August 2, 1850 – The Underground Railroad begins
- August 21, 1850 – Fugitive Slave Law Convention
- August 25, 1925 – The Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters & Maids
- August, 1963 – The March on Washington
- August, 1965 – The Watts Rebellion
- August 18, 1971 – The Provisional Government of the Republic of New Afrika (RNA) raided by Mississippi police and FBI
- August 8, 1978 – The MOVE family bombed by Philadelphia police
Birth and Rebirth
- Dr. Mutulu Shakur (political prisoner)
- Pan-Africanist Black Nationalist Leader Marcus Garvey
- Maroon Russell Shoatz (political prisoner)
- Chicago Black Panther Party Chairman Fred Hampton
- W.E.B. Du Bois died in Ghana on August 27, 1963
- Afeni Shakur
- Wanjiru Nyamaru-Amau Mau General
- Yuri Kochiyama
- Harriet Tubman
- Vicki Garvin
- Amy A. Garvey
- Ella Baker
- Sandra Pratt
- Dr. Betty Shabazz
- Queen Nzinga of Angola
- Sojourner Truth
- Kathleen Cleaver
- Rose Kabuye of Rwanda/Uganda
- Assata Shakur
- Winnie Byanyima of Uganda
- Angela Davis
Download the “Black August Resistance Educational Pamphlet” by Malcolm X Grassroots Movement here.
Special Thanks to George Jackson University, who we stand in ‘organizational solidarity’ with!
and Damu Katika Chimurenga, artist of the work above!