The New Abolitionists

(Neo)Slave Narratives and Contemporary Prison Writings

Edited by Joy James
Introduction by Joy James

Subjects: Social And Cultural History, Criminology, American Studies, African American Studies
Series: SUNY series, Philosophy and Race
Paperback : 9780791464861, 379 pages, July 2005
Hardcover : 9780791464854, 379 pages, July 2005

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Table of contents




Pancho Aguila
Folsom, August 11th: A Question of Races




Joy James
Democracy and Captivity


Part I: Penal Democracy


1. Dachine Rainer and Holley Cantine
Prison Etiquette

2. Bernard Phillips
Notes on the Prison Community

3. Jalil Muntaqim
The Criminalization of Poverty in Capitalist America (Abridged)

4. Bill Dunne
Control Unit Prisons: Deceit and Folly in Modern Dungeons

5. Raymond Luc Levasseur
Trouble Coming Every Day: ADX—The First Year

6. Paul St. John
Behind the Mirror's Face

7. Tiyo Attallah Salah-El
A Call for the Abolition of Prisons


Part II: Gendered Captivity


8. Assata Shakur
Women in Prison: How We Are

9. Susan Rosenberg
Women Casualties of the Drug War

10. Angela Y. Davis
Reflections on the Black Woman's Role in the Community of Slaves (Abridged)

11. Prince Imari A. Obadele (Shemuel ben-Yahweh)

12. Ed Mead
Men Against Sexism


Part III: Revolt


13. Little Rock Reed
The American Indian in the White Man's Prisons: A Story of Genocide

14. Imari Abubakari Obadele I
A People's Revolt for Power and an Up-Turn in the Black Condition: An Appeal and a Challenge

15. Prince Imari A. Obadele (Shemuel ben-Yahweh)
To My Baby's Children

16. Antonio Fernandez (King Tone)
King Tone's Diary

17. Yaki (James Sayles)
Let's "Gang-Up" on Oppression: Youth Organizations and the Struggle for Power in Oppressed Communities

18. Mumia Abu-Jamal
A Life Lived, Deliberately


Part IV: Dialogues in Resistance (Interviews)


19. An Interview with Charles Baxter, Wayne Brown, Tony Chatman-Bey, H. B. Johnson Jr., Mark Medley, Donald Thompson, Selvyn Tillett, and John Woodland Jr. (with Drew Leder)
Live from the Panopticon: Architecture and Power Revisited

20. An Interview with Angela Davis (with Leslie DiBenedetto)
On Prisons and Prisoners

21. An Interview with George Jackson (with Karen Wald)

22. An Interview with Geronimo ji Jaga (Elmer Pratt)
(with Heike Kleffner)

23. A Conversation with Viet Mike Ngo (with Dylan Rodríguez)
"You Have to be Intimate with Your Despair"

24. An Interview with Marilyn Buck and Laura Whitehorn (with Susie Day)
Cruel But Not Unusual—The Punishment of Women in U.S. Prisons

25. An Interview with Shaka Sankofa (Gary Graham)
(with Larvester Gaither)

26. Alan Berkman on Prison Health Care (as told to Susie Day)
Engaged in Life

27. An Interview with Philip Berrigan (with Amy Goodman and Jeremy Scahill)
It's Too Bad the Soil Couldn't Cry Out from the Blood Shed Upon It


Appendix 1: The Attica Liberation Faction Manifesto of Demands and Anti-Depression Platform

Appendix 2: Attica: Thirty Years Later

Selected Bibliography

About the Editor


Writings by twentieth-century imprisoned authors examining confinement, enslavement, and political organizing in prison.


This collection of essays and interviews provides a frank look at the nature and purposes of prisons in the United States from the perspective of the prisoners. Written by Native American, African American, Latino, Asian, and European American prisoners, the book examines captivity and democracy, the racial "other," gender and violence, and the stigma of a suspect humanity. Contributors include those incarcerated for social and political acts, such as conscientious objection, antiwar activism, black liberation, and gang activities. Among those interviewed are Philip Berrigan, Marilyn Buck, Angela Y. Davis, George Jackson, and Laura Whitehorn.

Joy James is the John B. and John T. McCoy Presidential Professor of Humanities and College Professor in Political Science at Williams College. She is the author of Resisting State Violence: Radicalism, Gender, and Race in U.S. Culture, and her edited works on incarceration and human rights include States of Confinement: Policing, Detention, and Prisons and Imprisoned Intellectuals: America's Political Prisoners Write on Life, Liberation, and Rebellion.