Fifty years after the founding of the Black Panther Party, we focus on an overlooked part of its history: political prisoners. Many former members are still held in prison based on tortured confessions, while others were convicted based on questionable evidence or the testimony of government informants. We host an historic roundtable with four former Black Panthers who served decades in prison, beginning with two former members of the Angola Three who formed one of the first Black Panther chapters in a prison. Robert King spent 32 years in Angola—29 of them in solitary confinement. He was released in 2001 after his conviction was overturned. Albert Woodfox, until February of this year, was the longest-standing solitary confinement prisoner in the United States. He was held in isolation in a six-by-nine-foot cell almost continuously for 43 years at the Louisiana State Penitentiary, known as Angola prison. He was released on his 69th birthday.
Fifty years after the founding of the Black Panther Party, today’s show focuses on an overlooked part of its history: political prisoners.