Soledad Brother Critical Essays

George Jackson


(Literary Essentials: African American Literature)

Jackson was surprisingly explicit about his ideas in spite of the fact that he was a helpless prisoner whose well-being and hopes of freedom were dependent upon the goodwill of his captors. He believed in the armed overthrow of the American government and the establishment of a socialist state. In some letters, he suggests that African Americans should have their own independent nation in North America. He distrusted white people and did not see any possibility of sharing power with them. Like Malcolm X, Jackson believed that the white race was inherently evil.

He frequently refers to the fact that Europeans had been at war among themselves and against the nonwhite peoples of the world for hundreds of years. It was his contention that African Americans were a “colonial” people treated almost exactly like most of the people who had lived under European rule in Africa. He thought that since black Africans had been brought to North America against their will, they were entitled to reparations for their pain and suffering. He believed that it was the historic mission of African Americans to lead an armed revolution against U.S. capitalism and imperialism, and it was his contention that some of the best revolutionaries were to be found in U.S. prisons.

Jackson sympathized with the North Vietnamese, who were engaged in a bloody war against a reactionary South Vietnamese government supported by the might of the United States military machine. He strongly believed that African Americans should not participate...

(The entire section is 626 words.)