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I am a criminal defense attorney primarily and almost exclusively I know personally many incarcerated people Being a Black woman attorney in Mississippi some may say gives me a unique perspective of the inner workings of the system What it really gives me is nightmares and sleepless nights, disappointments and anxiety, sadness and despair, and yet, fleeting moments of hope Seriously.I know there are people who are in prison doing major time for minor crimes people doing time for crimes they I am a criminal defense attorney primarily and almost exclusively I know personally many incarcerated people Being a Black woman attorney in Mississippi some may say gives me a unique perspective of the inner workings of the system What it really gives me is nightmares and sleepless nights, disappointments and anxiety, sadness and despair, and yet, fleeting moments of hope Seriously.I know there are people who are in prison doing major time for minor crimes people doing time for crimes they did not commit and those incarcerated who are casualties of wars declared and undeclared War on Crime, War on Poverty, War on black and brown peoples I know these things to be true, up close and personal I ve just completed reading If They Come in the Morning Voices of Resistance Angela Davis, at the time, a young college professor, wrote and compiled this book while confined in a California jail cell awaiting trial for murder and other charges The book opens with an open letter written to Angela by James Baldwin in which he says we must support Angela s attempts to get justice because If they take you Angela in the morning, they will be coming for us that night It appears the book s central focus is the liberation of what she calls political prisoners As detailed in this book, political prisoners are those who find themselves incarcerated and charged with crimes as a result of their explicit political beliefs, such as Ms Davis who was targeted and vilified for her revolutionary politics Also, there are those incarcerated as a result of political policies popular and in place at a given time war on drugs and political strategies motivated by racism over policing, mandatory minimums, three strike laws These political prisoners will have multiple encounters with law enforcement many times leading to unjust treatment in the judicial system resulting in lengthy and life altering periods of incarceration This book written in the early 70s talks about the enormous inequities we face as a nation within our carceral system Here we are 40 years later experiencing the same atrocious practices and the consequences of same in our criminal justice system today Could a thoughtful reading of this literature have predicted such I suggest yes To say I am left somewhat hopeless for our current criminal justice system does not capture my sentiments There has to be a word right before reaching hopeless, right before giving up and throwing in the towel, that moment right when your stomach aches from the anticipation of the excitement and resolve of giving up, your throat almost closing, your breath almost at that final exhale when you pull back and decide that I am here, I am capable, let me try this thing onetime That is where I am, not yet hopeless but tired and convicted, exhausted but still showing up The people in this book showed up and became the cause Not perfect people, flawed, prone to error but yet righteous everymen for a righteous cause.Today s reader has the benefit of knowing Angela was indeed freed but so many others were not So we still need to take heed Free Angela Davis and all political prisoners because we know they came for her in the morning and they continue to come for the rest of us in the night Power to the people This classic anthology of letters, essays, poems and speeches captures a particularly volatile moment in American history, one in which reactionary right wing forces were re ascendant and willing to use state power to reassert their supremacy The resulting clashes over war, civil rights, women s rights and the justice system in the early 1970s were traumatic, not least for those facing the state s proclivity toward violence If They Come in the Morning gives a taste, if a fragmented and incompl This classic anthology of letters, essays, poems and speeches captures a particularly volatile moment in American history, one in which reactionary right wing forces were re ascendant and willing to use state power to reassert their supremacy The resulting clashes over war, civil rights, women s rights and the justice system in the early 1970s were traumatic, not least for those facing the state s proclivity toward violence If They Come in the Morning gives a taste, if a fragmented and incomplete one, of that trauma and chaos.Most immediately striking about this work, collected by the professor activist Angela Davis whose own brush with the law personified the alarming extents to which political opponents of civil rights groups seemed willing to go to tar and silence them, is how much of it could be printed today with only a name change or two and sound contemporary Davis and her allies rail against an unholy trinity of President Richard Nixon, FBI Director J Edgar Hoover and California Gov Ronald Reagan, and the ways in which they use police and the prisons to separate, isolate and silence elements of society they deem dangerous or terroristic The book shows concretely how seemingly race neutral laws were used to incarcerate disproportionate numbers of blacks and Latinos especially those who were poor and male.This intersection of race and class the overwhelming tendency of prisoners to be workers of color lead to another striking emphasis of Morning its leftism Davis was and remains an avowed and unashamed communist, and the prisoners whose letters she publishes join her in preaching left wing revolution as the only way to free African Americans, Latinos and the poor generally from their oppressors The radicalism of the language feels odd to modern ears accustomed to four decades of center to hard right politics being considered mainstream Nevertheless, it s hard to deny Davis arguments that capitalism and racism have too long gone hand in hand to impoverish and imprison African Americans, especially those who, like Davis, make the mistake of being too prosperous or too outspoken.Overall, the book is uneven, relying as it does on the voices of imprisoned people of varying perspectives and education levels, and for a relatively recent republication Verso s edition is from 2016 , it cries out for at least a chapter updating the particularly egregious cases of injustice Davis highlights Some of them have slipped into obscurity, and a quick Google search doesn t return immediate answers Davis own acquittal occurred after Morning s release, and no one apparently considered even mentioning that as part of maybe a foreword to the new edition Closing the book, you get the distinct sense that Davis waslikely to have been executed than found not guilty.As a historical resource, Morning is invaluable, and several essays most of them by Davis, but also an open letter written by James Baldwin really shine through, but a smaller,tightly edited volume would have beeneffective The last 50 or so pages are entirely skimmable, as the arguments slip into redundancy and tedium And really, a brief foreword or afterword updating the cases referenced in the book and bringing the timeline into the 21st century would have been incredibly helpful In the heat of our pursuit for fundamental human rights, Black people have been continually cautioned to be patient We are advised that if we remain faithful to the existing democratic order, the glorious moment will eventually arrive when we will come into our own as fully fledged human beings Angela Davis This collection of essays, letters, poems and notes from 1972 is a fascinating historical record from a period prior to the modern wave of mass incarceration in the USA It is unavoidably dated in its style and many specifics have changed, but they have changed only for the worse and this writing has lost none of its topical relevance in the intervening 55 years The core theme is the corrupt use of the criminal justice system to incarcerate and control Black Americans This is recognised as a f This collection of essays, letters, poems and notes from 1972 is a fascinating historical record from a period prior to the modern wave of mass incarceration in the USA It is unavoidably dated in its style and many specifics have changed, but they have changed only for the worse and this writing has lost none of its topical relevance in the intervening 55 years The core theme is the corrupt use of the criminal justice system to incarcerate and control Black Americans This is recognised as a flagrant updating of the system of chattel slavery whose abolition is still resented by White supremacists Black Americans have always searched for ways to defend themselves and assert their human rights and the sources in this collection used the language of Marxism to interpret this as a revolutionary struggle rooted in class interests In response, the US state and specifically J Edgar Hoover s FBI employed its criminal justice system to target and silence political activists, in blatant contradiction of the constitution and the law As a result, the country has had many thousands of political prisoners without properly acknowledging them.Angela Davis points out that since the days of slavery and the Underground Road, resistance to Black oppression has been illegal by definition She identifies in her first essay current categories of political prisoner that are hidden in plain view throughout the American justice system They include Black political activists who have been criminalised or framed and Black prisoners who have learned to be politically aware and active within the prison system More widely they include huge numbers of Black convicts who know very well they ought not to be in the prison system at all, not least because some 85% have been coerced or intimidated into pleading guilty without a trial or proper defenceNat Turner 1831 and John Brown 1859 were political prisoners in their time The acts for which they were charged and subsequently hanged, were the practical extensions of their profound commitment to the abolition of slaveryp31The battle for the liquidation of slavery had no legitimate existence in the eyes of the government and therefore the special quality of deeds carried out in the interests of freedom was deliberately ignored There were no political prisoners, there were only criminals just as the movement out of which these deeds flowed was largely considered criminalp32A deep seated ambivalence has always characterized the official response to the political prisoner Charged and tried for a criminal act, his guilt is always political in nature This ambivalence is perhaps best captured by Judge Webster Thayer s comment upon sentencing Bartolo meo Vanzetti to 15 years for an attempted payroll robbery This man, although he may not have actually committed the crime attributed to him, is nevertheless morally culpable, because he is the enemy of our existing institutions The very same judge incidentally, sentenced Sacco and Vanzetti to death for a robbery and murder of which they were manifestly innocentp30In a revealing contradiction, the court resisted the description of the New York Panther 21 trial as political, yet the prosecutor entered as evidence of criminal intent, literature which represented, so he purported, the political ideology of the Black Panther Partyp33 According to Louis S Nelson, warden of San Quentin Prison, if the prisons of California become known as schools for violent revolution, the Adult Authority would be remiss in their duty not to keep the inmates longer S.F Chronicle, May 2, 1971p40The vicious circle linking poverty, police, courts and prison is an integral element of ghetto existence Unlike the mass of whites, the path which leads to jails and prisons is deeply rooted in the imposed patterns of Black existence For this very reason, an almost instinctive affinity binds the mass of Black people to the political prisonersp42The vast majority of Blacks harbour a deep hatred of the police and are not deluded by official proclamations of justice through the courtsp42 The material in this book is sometimes aggressive and angry but often it is miserably sad It bears witness to great suffering yet it includes uplifting tales of courage in adversity The Marxist rhetoric can sound messianic and it seems that many activists truly hoped for revolutionary change but, with the benefit of hindsight, we already know that much of this energy was destined to run into the sand and that the prison situation in the USA was about to become much worse So what can we do Maybe we can start by celebrating the courage and energy of the generation contributing to this important book Then start to get angry What elseThe Black Liberation Movement is presently at a critical juncture Fascist methods of repression threaten to physically decapitate and obliterate the movement More subtle, yet not less dangerous ideological tendencies from within threaten to isolate the Black movement and diminish its revolutionary impactp43 this is a book of letters but they all talk to each other and words and thoughts flow together so I don t remember now who said what And this is a book of history but I don t know much about California s geography and Marin and Folsom and San Quentin all kind of run together for me and that s because i live in a cash insulated bubble prisons are basically one big box to me god dang it so mostly I let these missives wash over me and pretended that i d never heard of prisons before, and th this is a book of letters but they all talk to each other and words and thoughts flow together so I don t remember now who said what And this is a book of history but I don t know much about California s geography and Marin and Folsom and San Quentin all kind of run together for me and that s because i live in a cash insulated bubble prisons are basically one big box to me god dang it so mostly I let these missives wash over me and pretended that i d never heard of prisons before, and these on the run bravehearts angela davis is twenty FREAKING six are so sincerely optimistic in their talk of abolishing prisons and facing down oppression and freeing political prisoners sometimes i ll be enthusiastic about something trivial, get mocked, and think indignantly This is the worst outcome of postmodern cynicism That I can t even be excited about an all you can eat ice cream party But here s a shocker the worst outcome is actually that people can t be excited about the abolition of prisons how bout Ben Jerry s for life instead here are two Good Good quotes 1 The categories can be best simplified by reducing them to three, the overt self satisfied racist who doesn t deign to hide his antipathy, the self interdicting racist who harbors and nurtures racism in spite of their best efforts, and the unconscious racist, product of preconceived notions that must be blamed on history Too much Black blood has flowed between the chasm that separates the races, it s fundamentally unfair to expect the Black man to differentiate at a glance the self accepting racist, the self interdicting racist and the unconscious racist The apologist s term Black racism is either a healthy defense reflex on the part of the sincere Black partisan attempting to deal with the realistic problems of survival and elevation, or the racism of the government stooge organs.2 Strength comes from knowledge, knowing who you are, where you want to go, what you want, knowing and accepting that you are alone on this spinning, tumbling world No one can crawl into your mind and help you out I m your brother and I m with you, come what may, and against anything or anybody in the universe that is against you, but you ll still be alone, with your pain, discomfort, illness, elation, courage, pride, death You don t want anyone to crawl into your head with you, do you If there were a god or anyone else reading some of my thoughts I would be uncomfortable in the extreme Some us, white and Black, know how great a price has been paid to bring into existence a new consciousness, a new people, an unprecedented nation If we know, and do nothing, we are worse than the murderers hired in our name If we know, then we must fight for your life as though it were our own which it is and render impassable with our bodies the corridor to the gas chamber For, if they take you in the morning, they will be coming for us that night James Baldwin, An Open Letter To My S Some us, white and Black, know how great a price has been paid to bring into existence a new consciousness, a new people, an unprecedented nation If we know, and do nothing, we are worse than the murderers hired in our name If we know, then we must fight for your life as though it were our own which it is and render impassable with our bodies the corridor to the gas chamber For, if they take you in the morning, they will be coming for us that night James Baldwin, An Open Letter To My Sister, Angela Davis, November 1970 Of what, then, is Angela Davis guilty Of being the natural product of a society based upon racism, exploitation, and dehumanization Of her struggle for a socialist society Her accusers have locked her into their cells of silence for they fear what she professes, what she freely and courageously declares But when they cannot silence her even here, when her words echo far beyond these closed and soundproofed walls, then they seek to take her life The final solution Death.So, for her, the life the struggle, are one Not merely in conjecture, in abstract theory, but in brutal fact For her beliefs, for her life, Angela Davis stands accused Her life is at stake And yet she is innocent Innocent of the charges of murder and kidnap She stands guilty only of loving humanity and fighting with her life for the freedom of all of us The National United Comittee to free Angela Davis, November 1970 .Free Epub ♃ If They Come in the Morning ⚆ From the front and back flaps The trial of Angela Yvonne Davis in connection with the prisoner revolt by three black prisoners on August ,at the Marin County Courthouse will be remembered as one of America s most historic political trials, and no one can tell the story better than Miss Davis herself This book is also perhaps the most comprehensive and thorough analysis of that increasingly important symbol the political prisoner Of her trial, Miss Davis writes, I am charged with three capital offenses murder, kidnapping, and conspiracy My life is at stake in this case not simply the life of a lone individual, but a life which has been given over to the struggles of my people, a life which belongs to Black people who are tired of poverty, and racism, of the unjust imprisonment of tens of thousands of our brothers and sisters I stand before this court, she declares, as a target of a political frame up which, far from pointing to my culpability, implicates the State of California as an agent of political repressionI declare publicly before the court, before the people of this country, that I am innocent of all charges which have been leveled against me by the State of California On the central theme of this book Miss Davis contends that the offense of the political prisoner in his political boldness, his consistent challenges legally or extra legally of fundamental social wrongs fostered and reinforced by the state He has opposed unjust laws and exploitative, racist social conditions in general, with the ultimate aim of transforming these laws and the society into an order harmonious with the material and spiritual need and interests of the vast majority of its members Regarding his own defense, Ruchell Magee, the only prisoner who survived the same revolt and one of the many impressive contributors in this invaluable volume which includes George Jackson, Fleeta Drumgo, John Clutchette, James Baldwin, Bobby Seale and Ericka Huggins, states, For over seven years I have been forced to stay in slavery on fraudulent pleas of guilty, made by attorneys, court appointed attorneys, over my objection, over my plea of not guilty, and over my testimony of not guilty If They Come in the Morning is a collection by and about imprisoned Black American radicals which was published in 1970 It focuses on the celebrated case of Angela Davis, a former UCLA professor and accomplished intellectual, accused and later acquitted, though that s beyond the scope of this book of orchestrating a courtroom break out to free a Soledad Brother on trial for capital murder, based on apparently flimsy and dubious evidence Includes contributions from Davis, her legal team, and If They Come in the Morning is a collection by and about imprisoned Black American radicals which was published in 1970 It focuses on the celebrated case of Angela Davis, a former UCLA professor and accomplished intellectual, accused and later acquitted, though that s beyond the scope of this book of orchestrating a courtroom break out to free a Soledad Brother on trial for capital murder, based on apparently flimsy and dubious evidence Includes contributions from Davis, her legal team, and other prisoners, as well as letters of support from a variety of activists and public intellectuals including Coretta Scott King and James Baldwin, from whom the title is taken I would strongly recommend this book to anyone interested in social justice, radicalism, or African American studies If you re interested in learningabout the ways in which the state uses law enforcement as a tool for racial oppression, this is a good book to check out. Angela Y Davies makes me proud to be a Communist.I think this book strongly conveys the significance of Angela not only for the Black Liberation movement, but also for the Communist movement Even when all of the US forces conspired against her and attempted to frame her for a crime she did not commit, Angela was victorious As Black woman and as a professor of Philosophy at UCLA, to proclaim herself a Communist made Angela a symbol of resistance Reading about her trial today, as well as the i Angela Y Davies makes me proud to be a Communist.I think this book strongly conveys the significance of Angela not only for the Black Liberation movement, but also for the Communist movement Even when all of the US forces conspired against her and attempted to frame her for a crime she did not commit, Angela was victorious As Black woman and as a professor of Philosophy at UCLA, to proclaim herself a Communist made Angela a symbol of resistance Reading about her trial today, as well as the injustices outlined in this collection, in the wake of the second wave of Black Lives Matter protests, figures such as Angela Davies and other Black Panthers are an inspiration I got StoryGraph as an alternative to Goodreads, but it s too ugly to use atm