Black August isn’t for just celebrating Ourstory, it also is for reflecting on it and using it to create solutions to our issues. It is a month to focus specifically on all the New Afrikans in Ourstory that refused to be enslaved or unjustly imprisoned, or those that have lost their lives in the struggle for our humanity and historic figures and events who were birthed in the month of August. Black August is a tribute to the New Afrikan Warrior Spirit expressed by Soledad Brother George Jackson - "To the Man-Child, Tall, evil, graceful, brighteyed, black man-child — Jonathan Peter Jackson — who died on August 7, 1970, courage in one hand, assault rifle in the other; my brother, comrade, friend — the true revolutionary, the black communist guerrilla in the highest state of development, he died on the trigger, scourge of the unrighteous, soldier of the people; to this terrible man-child and his wonderful mother Georgia Bea, to Angela Y. Davis, my tender experience, I dedicate this collection of letters; to the destruction of their enemies I dedicate my life."
Realizing that they had lost their "freedom" for fighting for that freedom, many New Afrikan Revolutionaries still believed that they had not lost their humanity. So, fed-up with the inhumane treatment within the prison system, many became to fight back. One method became known as Black August. The observation of Black August began in 1978 when our prisoners started wearing black arm bands, and studying Black historical events to honor the fallen Liberation Warriors in the Marin County incident, the Soledad Brothers, and all who had been unjustly incarcerated or killed in prison. They also began fasting for the entire month between sun up and sun down to recognize the sacrifice of the fallen Black Guerrilla Family (BGF) and Black Panther Party members, and they showed restraint by not having sex, drinking alcohol, or doing drugs. Prisoners decided to live clear in honor of the fallen and imprisoned comrades of the Black Liberation Struggle.
Black August has since spread beyond prison walls to the Black community-at-large as a month to honor all those who’ve contributed to our collective progressive of our liberation struggle and all those we’ve lost unjustly to violence and systemic racism. The purpose is to come together peacefully to educate ourselves and each other about Ourstory and strategize about ways to end racial disparities and the commemorate those on the list of unjust deaths and imprisonment of New Afrikans in america by focusing on such events that took place in the month of August. Recognition of Black August also encourages us to live clean (refrain from drugs and unhealthy life practices), patronize Black-owned businesses and demand community reinvestment of them and limit radio and television that doesn’t reflect positive images of us.
Despite the unorthodox resistance that led to its creation, Black August, in its intent, serves as a time for New Afrikans (Blacks) in america to come together peacefully and heal, learn, study, grow, and practice self-discipline. It is a designated time to reflect on all of the historical Black Liberation-based events of New Africans that have occurred in the month of August. The birth of Dr. Mutulu Shakur; as well as the deaths of W.E.B. DuBois; the Jackson (Soledad) Brothers; and now John Crawford, Mike Brown, and Korryn Gaines are recognized as they all fell in August. The first documented Africans were brought to Jamestown as enslaved people in August of 1619. Martyr Nat Turner’s slave rebellion, Henry Highland Garnett’s slave strike, the Underground Railroad, the March on Washington, and the Watts & Ferguson riots were all started in August as well and are points of reflection and study.