50 years ago, a 17-year old brought 3 guns into the Marin County Courthouse on August 7, 1970 in a bold act of resistance. With the assistance of three prisoners, James McClain, Ruchell Magee, and William A Christmas, Jonathan Peter Jackson took a judge, a deputy district attorney, and three jurors hostage in exchange for the freedom of the Soledad Brothers—3 Black prisoners charged with the murder of killing a prison guard at Soledad State Prison—including Jonathan’s older brother George Jackson, Fleeta Drumgo, and John Clutchette. Jonathan was gunned down by the state.
“Right now, we are in a peak cycle. There’s tremendous energy out there, directed against the state. It’s not all focused, but it’s there, and it’s building. Maybe this will be sufficient to accomplish what we must accomplish over the fairly short run. We’ll see, and we can certainly hope that this is the case. But perhaps not. We must be prepared to wage a long struggle. If this is the case then we’ll probably see a different cycle, one in which the revolutionary energy of the people seems to have dispersed, run out of steam. But – and this is important- such cycles are deceptive. Things appear to be at low ebb, but actually what’s happening is a period of regroupment, a period in which we step back and learn from the mistakes made during the preceding cycle.”