Black August is a tradition that originated in California’s prisons in the 1970’s after the deaths of Jonathan and George Jackson and other incarcerated Black people who’ve sought freedom. This month has since been used to lift up organizations and revolutionaries in battle with, incarcerated and/ or assassinated by the US State apparatus as well as to prepare developing leaders for future struggle.
The Kairos Center, Donkeysaddle Projects, Highlander Center, and the Dream Defenders SunDDAy School commemorated this month with Freedom Church of the Poor sessions grounded in the experience of the Watts Uprising, the 1968 Poor People’s Campaign with Rev Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the National Welfare Rights Organization, the Original Rainbow Coalition, honoring Black veterans in the movement throughout history, the March on Washington, the League of Revolutionary Black Workers, and more. The mission of the Freedom Church of the Poor is to be a spiritual home for movement leaders and a place to help nurture moral leadership for the struggle to end poverty, systemic racism, ecological devastation, militarism, and the false moral narrative of Christian nationalism.
This pilot series is a part of a larger, multi-year project called Tell Me Something Good. Tell Me Something Good is a cultural arts project that weaves together art, culture and history to strengthen a racial and economic justice movement for these times. This project sits at the intersection of arts, organizing, and the history of struggle. It is an intergenerational project that brings together social movement elders (“OGs”), current cultural organizers, popular musicians & visual artists not yet connected to social movements, and storyteller-historians to collect living history, analyze organizing lessons, and inspire future generations of movement leaders to continue the long fight for racial and economic justice. In a time when civil rights, racial justice and social movement history are under attack, this intergenerational dialogue and creative arts project is an important intervention to help preserve and generate important lessons to build political power and achieve lasting change.