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Cancer-Stricken Angola 3 Prisoner Herman Wallace Given Just Days to Live After 42 Years in Solitary

Angola prisoner Herman Wallace is dying of liver cancer after 42 years in solitary confinement. A member of the

http://mjcdn.motherjones.com/preset_51/hermanandjackiepanel.jpg

so-called Angola Three, Wallace and two others were in jail for armed robbery, then accused in 1972 of murdering a prison guard at the Louisiana State Penitentiary, known as Angola prison. The men say they were framed because of their political activism as members one of the first prison chapters of the Black Panther Party. Wallace’s supporters say he has just days to live, but his requests for compassionate release has so far gone unanswered. We speak with Jackie Sumell, a New Orleans-based artist behind "Herman’s House," a collaboration with Wallace, which is the subject of a new documentary by the same name. "I’m not sure in the state of Louisiana if compassion is part of the vocabulary of those who are in power. I always felt that compassionate release, or asking for compassionate release, was important in terms of a multipronged effort to have Herman released," Sumell says. "But there’s been 42 years of the state continuing to deny Herman’s due process. It’s incredible. He’s the longest known serving in solitary confinement in the United States." We are also joined by Malik Rahim, one of the founders of the Louisiana chapter of the Black Panther Party and a co-founder of the Common Ground Collective, which helped bring thousands of people from all over the world to help rebuild New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.

Transcript

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: We’re on the road in New Orleans, Louisiana. We’re broadcasting from New Orleans Public Television station WLAE. We turn now to look at the case of a man who’s spent more than 42 years in solitary confinement in Louisiana, believed to be one of the longest-serving prisoners who served on death row for that amount of time. He is dying now of liver cancer. His supporters are pleading for his compassionate release.

I’m talking about Herman Wallace, a member of the so-called Angola Three. He and two others were in jail for armed robbery, then accused in 1972 of murdering a prison guard at the Louisiana State Penitentiary, known as Angola. The men say they were framed because of their political activism as members one of the first prison chapters of the Black Panther Party. Herman Wallace is now 71 years old in the late stages of liver cancer. Robert King Wilkerson was released in 2001 after 29 years in solitary confinement. The third of the Angola Three, Albert Woodfox, remains in prison and says he’s been subjected to strip searches and anal cavity searches as often as six times a day.

Well, as Herman Wallace faces the end of his life, we’re joined now by two people. But first I want to turn to a clip from a new film about Herman’s collaboration with one of our guests. Twelve years ago, artist Jackie Sumell began writing to Herman Wallace, and one day she asked him, "What kind of house does a man who has lived in a six-foot-by-nine-foot box for over 30 years dream of?" Wallace wrote back with a description, and soon afterward Jackie made a commitment to build the house so Herman could either live in it upon his release, or so it could serve as a symbol of survival and hope. The two have often spoken by phone in between their visits, though Herman is now too weak to speak anymore. The calls are part of the story documented in a new film called Herman’s House that just premiered on PBS on POV. In this clip, it was Herman who comforts Jackie after the Louisiana Court of Appeals just turned down his latest appeal.

HERMAN WALLACE: Jackie?

JACKIE SUMELL: Yes.

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Comment by Bilal Mahmud المكافح المخلص on September 30, 2013 at 4:51pm

Comment by Bilal Mahmud المكافح المخلص on September 30, 2013 at 5:38pm
  1. Herman's House : Filmmaker Interview with Angad Bhalla

    POV

    Filmmaker Angad Bhalla discusses difficulties of making a film about a man in solitary confinement, and the issues at the heart of Herman's House .

    herman's found at 10:29, 15:43

  2. Herman's House : Herman Describes His Dream House

    POV

    In this clip from 'Herman's House ,' Herman Wallace, who has spent 41 years in solitary confinement, describes the dream house he "built" with artist Jackie Sumell.

    house found at 2:28

  3. Herman's House : Herman Joins the Black Panthers

    POV

    In this clip from 'Herman's House ,' Herman Wallace describes what he sees as the Black Panthers' greatest contribution to the black community.

  4. Herman's House : Herman is Arrested for Bank Robbery

    POV

    In this clip from 'Herman's House ,' Herman Wallace describes the original crime that sent him to jail.

  5. Herman's House : Prison Architects on the Modern Prison

    POV

    Three prison architects discuss the goals of their work, the modern prison facility, and the blueprints of Herman Wallace's dream house .

    house found at 0:14

  6. Herman's House : Jackie Explains the Genesis of the Project

    POV

    Artist Jackie Sumell describes why she began "The House That Herman Built."

    house found at 0:43

  7. Herman's House : Michael Musser’s Story

    POV

    In this clip from 'Herman's House ,' a young man who befriended Herman Wallace in Angola prison describes the positive influence that Herman had on his life.

  8. Herman's House : Does He Deserve It?

    POV

    In this clip from 'Herman's House ,' multiple people voice their opinions on solitary confinement and whether or not Herman Wallace deserves to be there.

Comment by Bilal Mahmud المكافح المخلص on September 30, 2013 at 5:39pm

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