Black August

Synopsis: Inmate activist George Lester Jackson's short life became a flashpoint for revolution, igniting the bloodiest riot in San Quentin's history.
Genre: Drama
Director(s): Samm Styles
Production: Warner Bros.
116 min

I walk alone.

I am a soldier for life.

The battle I am fighting has no ending...

...although its beginning

can start at any time.

I am always standing for something...

...and constantly fighting

to keep from falling for anything.

I am a silver fox by day

and a guerrilla by night.

I'm a soldier who has forgotten

how to smile...

...and doesn't remember laughter.

There are still dreams and debts

due to the soldiers before me.

I must be soldier, a solid soldier... order to smooth a path

for those who will follow behind me.

I live at the bottom

of one of nature's coldest seas.

I come up every now and then

and spit fire.

To struggle is to go the distance.

To win is not to care

how far one must go.


You know? And you know, he's really

helped me with my backhand.

In this case, you wanna be clear.

Maybe you might wanna take a look

at them.

Well, I may be able to.

Can I take it back with me?

- Would you pause for just a moment?

- Excuse me.

Gentlemen, come with me.

There's someone I'd like you to meet.

Mr. Genet, this is Lumumba,

Fred Bennett.

- This is Jean Genet.

- How do you do?

Please continue where you left off.

Well, Mrs. Stender was just telling us

of her background.

And after that

you were Huey Newton's lawyer.

- Yes.

- Yes. You...

You got him off?

- Yes.

- And now Mr. Jackson.

Yes, I've been working on

Mr. Jackson's case for three years.

Yes, I've read his letters.

He's very eloquent, strong.

But I'm curious, though.

Do you think he is capable of killing?

No, no, no. There is no credible evidence

that Mr. Jackson murdered that guard.

And frankly, we're gonna blow their case

out of the water. He was framed.

- Yes, I've been reading the testimony.

- Well, then...

But you didn't answer my question.

You mean, do I think he would kill

for his ideals and convictions?

Yes, I think he would.

But he did not murder his way

into San Quentin.

You have to understand...

...Mr. Jackson was sentenced


...for a $ 70 gas station robbery.

Mr. Genet, I'm sorry to interrupt.

But... So where do you think

we should go from here with this?


...if you would like,

I could have them translated.

And I can have my publisher, Gallimard,

publish them.

Oh, yes, please. I mean, that's more than

we could have hoped for.

We're hoping to use this case to start

a national movement for prison reform.

That would just be incredibly helpful

to us.

What are you doing?

I hear you say "use"

and it's not setting right.

White folks been using n*ggers

in too many ways, for too many years.

Does it make a difference if I say,

"organize around"?

Only if you're totally committed

to assisting my comrades... the fight for their lives.

Make this clear as your ass

is white and my ass is black.


"If I leave here alive,

I'll leave nothing behind.

They'll never count me

among the broken men.

But I can't say that I'm normal either.

I've been hungry too long.

I've gotten angry too often.

I've been lied to

and insulted too many times.

They've pushed me over the line

from which there can be no retreat.

- I know that... "

- I know that they will not be satisfied...

...until they have pushed me

out of this existence altogether.

I've been the victim of so many racist

attacks that I could never relax again.

I can still smile now after 10 years

of blocking knife thrusts...

...and the pick handles of faceless,

sadistic pigs...

...of anticipating and reacting

for 10 years... of them in solitary...

...I can still smile sometimes.

But by the time this is over...

...I may not be a nice person.

Just existing, life without joy...

...without any real meaning

does not appeal to me at all.

I am very tired of waking each morning...

...wondering if I will be insulted,

humiliated, injured or done to death.

Although I would not like

to leave my bones on this hill.

But if it is between that...

...and surrendering the things

that make me a man...

...the things that allow me to hold up

my head erect and unbowed...

...then the hill can have my bones.

This is one n*gger

who's positively displeased.

I'll never forgive.

I'll never forget.

They are fighting upstairs now.

It's 11:
30 a. m.

No black is supposed to be on the tier

upstairs with anyone but other blacks.

But mistakes are made.

One or two blacks end up on the tier

with nine or 10 white convicts...

...frustrated by the living conditions

or openly working with the pigs.

The whole ceiling is trembling.

In hand-to-hand combat we always win.

We lose if the pigs give them knives

or zip guns.

Lunch will be delayed today.

The tear gas or whatever it is

drifts down to sting my nose and eyes.

Someone is hurt bad.

Mike, you know the French writer,

Jean Genet?

Of course, idiot, I'm a book editor.

He's got his publisher putting out

George Jackson's letters.

Jackson's charged

with killing a guard in Soledad.

Heard of him. Yeah, how's it read?

It's fantastic. It just...

It's exactly what I've been looking for.

Play this thing down around Chopper.

If he knows you want it,

he'll tear it apart.

Okay, anybody else got anything for me?

Yeah, I got an MS from California

a couple of days ago.

The author is accused

of killing a prison guard.

- His lawyers think he's being railroaded.

- So what?

Come on, it's just another

pissed off guy in prison.

No. Well, actually, he's a cofounder of

what's known as the Black Guerilla Family.

They're on the government's list

of subversives.

- Jackson was recruited by Huey Newton...

- Okay.

All right. Is that it? Let me see it.

It's a compilation of letters to

his lawyer, mother and father...

...Angela Davis, some other women.

It's rough...

...but that could really be something.

- What do you mean rough?

Smooth out the edges. That's your job.

This is fantastic.

This could be another Soul on Ice.

How much can we get it for?

- Twenty-five thousand. Thirty thousand.

- All right, fine.

How many textbooks are you on now?

Can you fit this into your schedule?

I'm finishing two right now.

I can get started on this one right away.

All right.

But how do we know for certain

that this kid wrote the letters himself?

Okay, apparently he honed

his writing skills...

...reading various revolutionary theorists

during four years in solitary confinement.

They welded his door shut.

Sounds like a big stretch

from Fun with Physics.

I don't like those kinds of jokes.

How do we get access to this Jackson?

They can get me in

posing as a legal investigator.

All right, get on a plane, get out there.

And don't let this one get away, Dryer.

- Go get me a sandwich.

- Yes, sir.

Step through again, please.

Remove your belt, sir.

Watches please.

Don't worry about it.

You two are gonna get along fine.

It'll be a while before I can bring

Mr. Jackson down.

He is some distance away and, of course,

we have security concerns.

Thank you.


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William Brent Bell

William Brent Bell is an American screenwriter and film director, best known for his work in horror films such as The Devil Inside and The Boy. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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