Several days ago, Albert Woodfox, the last of the Angola 3, walked free.
Albert Woodfox has the dubious distinction of having spent 43 years in the Hole — solitary confinement– in the infamous prison farm and former slave plantation in Angola, Louisiana.
43 years. In a 6 x 9 foot prison cell. Twenty-three hours a day.
Oh- that extra hour? In a concrete yard, in shackles.
Since the men known as the Angola 3: Robert King; Herman ‘Hook’ Wallace, and Albert Woodfox, were convicted of the 1972 murder of a prison guard, the men were sentenced to a special kind of hell — for decades.
And this despite their innocence. King had his conviction overturned several years ago. Wallace was released in 2013 — and died two days later – of liver cancer.
Woodfox, the last man standing, spent 43 years in the Hole, perhaps the longest held solitary prisoner in the U.S. — and perhaps in the world.
All 3 men were innocent of murder — but guilty of Black resistance. Prison officials found them guilty of what they called (I kid you not), ‘Black Pantherism”, and consigned them to the Hole for decades. The men did the unthinkable: They formed a chapter of the Black Panther Party in Angola Prison!
Last November a federal appellate judge from the 5th Circuit said of Woodfox: “For the vast majority of his life, Woodfox has spent nearly every waking hour in a cramped cell in crushing solitude without a valid conviction” – Judge James Dennis
Woodfox, after a no contest pleas, goes free, after a lifetime in hell.