Published in Issue 326 of The Black Commentator on May 28, 2009

By Larry Pinkney

As your writer finished reading the chilling, fascinating, and powerfully informative (recently released) book by Robert Hillary King (aka Robert King Wilkerson) titled, From The Bottom Of The Heap: The Autobiography Of Black Panther Robert Hillary King (PM Press), I found myself incensed yet again at the U.S. judicial and prison systems responsible for framing, sentencing, and imprisoning a man for over three decades in prison for a crime that he did not commit. Robert King Wilkerson’s story touches the core of, and goes beyond, that of having been a prisoner and fellow Black Panther Party member. It is the story of government and judicial abuse. It is also the story of human dignity and resilience, of determination, and ultimately of the highest form of love for humanity.

Robert King Wilkerson, though finally set “free” from the infamous Angola prison in Louisiana, after thirty one years of wrongful imprisonment (twenty nine of which were consecutively in solitary confinement), remains today steadfast as a part of the group of three U.S. political prisoners known collectively as the ‘Angola 3.’ He continues to unrelentingly strive for the rights of the other two still-imprisoned members of the Angola 3, and on behalf of the many other political prisoners inside the United States, and around the world.

The book however, is so much more than merely an important indictment of the U.S. system of injustice. It is an informative saga of struggle written with a straight forward, beautiful rawness and honesty that beckons and gently wraps itself around the reader. The brutal and unspeakable horrors and injustices of the U.S. judicial and prison systems are pitted against one man’s humanity—and this man’s humanity triumphs. His human triumph translates into our own.

This book should be read and reread. It is a book that we ourselves should turn to repeatedly for encouragement, and it should be put forth as an example to our youth be they Black, Brown, White, Red, or Yellow.

As Marion Brown former member of the Black Panther Party and Co-Founder of the A3 (Angola 3) Support Committee aptly wrote concerning the resilience of Robert King Wilkerson: “From the moment of his release, he has worked tirelessly to spread the word about the innocence and the continued plight of his two remaining comrades, both held in solitary confinement for thirty-six years. Upon his release King was quoted as saying, ‘I may be free from Angola, but Angola will never be free of me!’”

Get this book, read it, and carry on in the struggle!

In these times when the black emperor of the U.S. Empire muses about and proposes instituting “preventive detention” of people in this nation against whom there is insufficient evidence to charge and/or detain (reference article titled, Facts and Myths About Obama’s Preventive Detention Proposal by Glenn Greenwald, dated May 22, 2009 at “;” and an article titled, Obama Is Said To Consider Preventive Detention Plan by Sheryl Gay Stolberg, May 20, 2009, The New York Times), it is critical to understand what imprisonment really means. Will we now allow the empire to blatantly imprison the innocent?! Think about it. Think about the opportunity for legalized and massive government and judicial abuse that this Obama proposal is really all about.

Struggle for systemic change.

Onward then my sisters and brothers!!! Onward…

Larry Pinkney is a veteran of the Black Panther Party, the former Minister of Interior of the Republic of New Africa, a former political prisoner and the only American to have successfully self-authored his civil/political rights case to the United Nations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. In connection with his political organizing activities, Pinkney was interviewed in 1988 on the nationally televised PBS News Hour, formerly known as The MacNeil/Lehrer News Hour, and more recently on the nationally syndicated Alex Jones Show. Pinkney is a former university instructor of political science and international relations, and his writings have been published in various places, including The Boston Globe, San Francisco BayView newspaper, Black Commentator, Intrepid Report, Global Research (Canada), LINKE ZEITUNG (Germany), 107 Cowgate (Ireland and Scotland), and Mayihlome News (Azania/South Africa). He is in the archives of Dr. Huey P. Newton (Stanford University, CA), cofounder of the Black Panther Party. For more about Larry Pinkney see the book, Saying No to Power: Autobiography of a 20th Century Activist and Thinker, by William Mandel [Introduction by Howard Zinn]. (Click here to read excerpts from the book.)


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