In His Own Words: Albert Woodfox interviewed by Amnesty International UK

Amnesty International UK has released a new interview with Albert Woodfox of the Angola 3. Listen to the podcast here.

Accompanying the podcast interview is a post on Amnesty UK’s blog that features an extended statement by Albert Woodfox, entitled: It’s a human right to agitate the ‘injustice’ system. Albert’s full statement is featured below:

A year ago on 19 February 2016 I walked out of a Louisiana prison a free man after serving 44 years in solitary confinement.

At that moment I became ‘famous’ as the longest serving person in solitary confinement in the world, as well as being the last member of the Angola 3 to be free.

For over 44 years – along with fellow Black Panthers Herman Wallace and Robert King – we turned our death chambers into classrooms and courts of law from which we educated fellow inmates and stood up against a violent, racist and brutal prison system which targeted us for our activism.

We believed then, as we believe now, that it is a human right to challenge and agitate the ‘injustice’ system.

The confinement the Angola 3 endured was not only cruel and unusual punishment but also torture and as a result of our case, solitary confinement was recognized as such by the UN Rapporteur on Torture in 2013 and then later by Amnesty.

Also, since our freedom, we have seen positive legislative changes curbing the use of solitary confinement – most recently in Louisiana itself.

But the spotlight was not always on the Angola 3 and I know too well what it is to be an ordinary man put into extraordinary circumstances.

And so since my release I have travelled throughout the US and to Europe with King to continue to take a stand against the flawed US prison system and against the use of solitary confinement on behalf of the political prisoners still incarcerated in the US, including seventeen Black Panthers such as Russell Maroon Shoatz and Kenny Zulu Whitmore. I also continue to take a stand in honor of Herman Wallace who stands by my and King’s side in spirit and who we deeply miss.

Since my release, one of the questions I am most frequently asked is why after over four decades of struggle I continue to take a stand after what I have been through. To a young man who asked me this in England last year, this is what I said:

    “So future generations do not have to suffer like we did.

    So that people can be judged by the content of their character and not by the color of their skin. 

    Old men like us are fighting to make sure you see victory – as one day we are going to win.”

So even when it feels like you are not going to win, when you grow disillusioned with politics which put greed before people’s human rights, when you don’t think you can make a difference – please remember that if you had not taken a stand to support the Angola 3 and joined the hundreds of thousands of activists around the world who did, I may not have been able to write this to you today.

Keep strong.

The struggle continues.

Albert Woodfox
March 2017


London, April 21: Amnesty UK Preview Screening of ‘Cruel and Unusual’ by Vadim Jean

(Event info from Amnesty UK)

When:  Thursday, 21 April 2016 from 18:30 to 21:30 (BST)
Where:  Amnesty International UK – 25 New Inn Yard, London EC2A 3EA, United Kingdom

Amnesty International UK is delighted to announce a special UK preview screening of ‘Cruel and Unusual’, a new documentary feature film telling the story of the Angola 3’s struggle for justice, fighting their unjust convictions and the cruel and unusual punishment of long term solitary confinement in Louisiana prisons. 

After decades imprisoned in a six foot by nine foot cell, Albert Woodfox’s conviction was overturned for the third time and in February 2016 he was finally released from his wrongful imprisonment having spent longer in solitary than any other prisoner in the United States.

His fight for justice and freedom has taken 43 years.

At the screening we will be joined by some incredible speakers who will share their experiences of Albert Woodfox, Herman Wallace, Robert King and their extraordinary cases:

Robert King – a fellow member of the Angola 3 held in solitary for 29 years before his release in 2001 who has campaigned ever since for the release of his comrades.

Vadim Jean – Director of ‘Cruel and Unusual’ and ‘In the Land of the Free’ a 2010 documentary about the Angola 3.

Tessa Murphy – Of Angola3.org who campaigned on Albert and Herman’s cases, and who previously led Amnesty’s international campaigning on the cases and on solitary confinement.
Sam Roddick — Campaigner and passionate supporter of the Angola 3.

Hosted by Felix Jakens from the Amnesty International UK Individuals at Risk team.

Join us as we celebrate Albert’s freedom and look ahead at the next steps in securing justice for him and the Angola 3 as their struggle against the use of long term solitary confinement in US prisons continues

London, April 21: Amnesty UK Preview Screening of ‘Cruel and Unusual’ by Vadim Jean

(Event info from Amnesty UK)

When:  Thursday, 21 April 2016 from 18:30 to 21:30 (BST)
Where:  Amnesty International UK – 25 New Inn Yard, London EC2A 3EA, United Kingdom

Amnesty International UK is delighted to announce a special UK preview screening of ‘Cruel and Unusual’, a new documentary feature film telling the story of the Angola 3’s struggle for justice, fighting their unjust convictions and the cruel and unusual punishment of long term solitary confinement in Louisiana prisons. 

After decades imprisoned in a six foot by nine foot cell, Albert Woodfox’s conviction was overturned for the third time and in February 2016 he was finally released from his wrongful imprisonment having spent longer in solitary than any other prisoner in the United States.

His fight for justice and freedom has taken 43 years.

At the screening we will be joined by some incredible speakers who will share their experiences of Albert Woodfox, Herman Wallace, Robert King and their extraordinary cases:

Robert King – a fellow member of the Angola 3 held in solitary for 29 years before his release in 2001 who has campaigned ever since for the release of his comrades.

Vadim Jean – Director of ‘Cruel and Unusual’ and ‘In the Land of the Free’ a 2010 documentary about the Angola 3.

Tessa Murphy – Of Angola3.org who campaigned on Albert and Herman’s cases, and who previously led Amnesty’s international campaigning on the cases and on solitary confinement.
Sam Roddick — Campaigner and passionate supporter of the Angola 3.

Hosted by Felix Jakens from the Amnesty International UK Individuals at Risk team.

Join us as we celebrate Albert’s freedom and look ahead at the next steps in securing justice for him and the Angola 3 as their struggle against the use of long term solitary confinement in US prisons continues

A3 Newsletter: Solitary Under Attack as 2016 Begins

(PHOTO: Tabling at the Amnesty Art for Rights event in New Orleans, December 2015)We want to send thanks from Albert and Robert to Amnesty activists for December’s Write for Rights campaign. Albert enjoyed receiving the thousands of letters and postcar…

A3 Newsletter: Solitary Under Attack as 2016 Begins

(PHOTO: Tabling at the Amnesty Art for Rights event in New Orleans, December 2015)We want to send thanks from Albert and Robert to Amnesty activists for December’s Write for Rights campaign. Albert enjoyed receiving the thousands of letters and postcar…

A3 Newsletter: Solitary Under Attack as 2016 Begins

(PHOTO: Tabling at the Amnesty Art for Rights event in New Orleans, December 2015)We want to send thanks from Albert and Robert to Amnesty activists for December’s Write for Rights campaign. Albert enjoyed receiving the thousands of letters and postcar…

A3 Newsletter: Solitary Under Attack as 2016 Begins

(PHOTO: Tabling at the Amnesty Art for Rights event in New Orleans, December 2015)We want to send thanks from Albert and Robert to Amnesty activists for December’s Write for Rights campaign. Albert enjoyed receiving the thousands of letters and postcar…

A3 Newsletter: Solitary Under Attack as 2016 Begins

(PHOTO: Tabling at the Amnesty Art for Rights event in New Orleans, December 2015)We want to send thanks from Albert and Robert to Amnesty activists for December’s Write for Rights campaign. Albert enjoyed receiving the thousands of letters and postcar…