Check It Out!

Herman's House

July 7, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper |


From a reader:

A beautiful, moving documentary called Herman's House will be broadcast nationwide on PBS on July 8. It was written and directed by Angad Bhalla and is part of the latest (Point of View) film series. It could not be timed more appropriately, right at the start of the hunger strike that has been called by California prisoners in Pelican Bay. It tells the story of Herman Wallace, one of the Angola 3, a man who has been in solitary confinement for over 40 years in Angola Prison in Louisiana! Along with Albert Woodfox and Robert King, he formed a Black Panther Party chapter in prison, and has been paying the price ever since.

This film tells of his fight for freedom and of people he has profoundly affected, including a young white man who at age 15 was sent to Angola and spent eight years in solitary, and a New York artist, Jackie Sumell, who helped him mentally "escape" the 6' x 9' concrete cage in which he's been kept by asking him to imagine his dream house. At first he was unable to even conceive of such a project, but over time, he has imagined a house which includes a swimming pool with an image of a black panther on the bottom, a place he wants to be used as a youth center. What is striking is how in spite of the torturous conditions, Herman Wallace has never lost his humanity.

Revolution Books LA and Stop Mass Incarceration Network So-Cal co-hosted a sneak preview of this film. The audience, a mix of ages, nationalities, and backgrounds, included several women with family members in prison, a young man we met the day before who spent time in juvenile facilities, the architect who has been volunteering with Herman Wallace and Jackie Sumell to develop the blueprints for the house, members of the Revolution Club, and others. People took stacks of fliers and stickers to draw attention and support for the prisoners' hunger strike and their five basic demands, and made plans to take a life-sized replica of a solitary confinement cell to a major festival on the weekend. And many stayed to discuss and plan the upcoming van tour that the BA Everywhere Committee is organizing because what's needed to end this horror of slow genocide and bring about a whole new world is revolution—nothing less.

So spread the word widely, and gather friends and family together on July 8 to watch this powerful film, as we build the fight to bring an end to the outrageous incarceration of Herman Wallace, Albert Woodfox, and the many thousands of other prisoners who are criminalized by this system.


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