A collection of Jackson’s letters from prison, Soledad Brother is an outspoken condemnation of the racism of white America and a powerful appraisal of the prison system that failed to break his spirit but eventually took his life. Jackson’s letters make palpable the intense feelings of anger and rebellion that filled Black men in America’s prisons in the 1960s. But even removed from the social and political firestorms of the 1960s, Jackson’s story still resonates for its portrait of a man taking a stand even while locked down.
“Soledad Brother, was released to critical acclaim in France and the United States, with an introduction by the renowned French dramatist Jean Genet, in the fall of 1970. Less than a year later and just two days before the opening of his trial, George Jackson was shot to death by a tower guard inside San Quentin Prison in a purported escape attempt. “No Black person,” wrote James Baldwin, “will ever believe that George Jackson died the way they tell us he did.”
Soledad Brother went on to become a classic of Black literature and political philosophy, selling more than 400,000 copies before it went out of print twenty years ago. Lawrence Hill Books is pleased to reissue this book and to add to it a Foreword by the author’s nephew, Jonathan Jackson, Jr., who is a writer living in California.”
Review: Soledad Brother
“Jackson gained notoriety shortly before his death in 1970 when his younger brother unsuccessfully tried to free him at gunpoint when Jackson and two others were on trial for killing a guard. Written between 1964 and 1970 while serving time in Soledad Prison for robbery, the letters reveal the brutality and racism faced by prisoners and call for unity among African Americans. This edition contains a new foreword by Jackson’s nephew Jonathan. Soledad Brother remains “recommended for most libraries” and is a solid title for Black History Month in February.
Read Soledad Brother: The Prison Letters of George Jackson online, here.