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human & civil rights | prisons & prisoners

KBOO Radio interviews Robert Hillary King of the Angola 3

Robert Hillary King, author and the only member of The Angola 3 to be freed from jail joins host Linda Olson-Osterlund to give an update on the cases of the A3 and to talk about prisons as modern slavery. Herman Wallace and Albert Woodfox have spent 37 years in solitary confinement. Black Panther activists, convicted of a crime they did not commit they each have impending court cases that could free them. They along with Robert King also have a Federal Civil Rights lawsuit that could come down with a decision any day. Learn about these cases and more.
Listen to the radio show
Listen to the radio show
Read more about his book "From the Bottom of the Heap: The Autobiography of Robert Hillary King"

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In 1970, a jury convicted Robert Hillary King of a crime he did not commit and sentenced him to 35 years in prison. He became a member of the Black Panther Party while in Angola State Penitentiary, successfully organizing prisoners to improve conditions. In return, prison authorities beat him, starved him, and gave him life without parole after framing him for a second crime. He was thrown into solitary confinement, where he remained in a six by nine foot cell for 29 years as one of the Angola 3. In 2001, the state grudgingly acknowledged his innocence and set him free. This is his story.

It begins at the beginning: born black, born poor, born in Louisiana in1942, King journeyed to Chicago as a hobo at the age of 15. He married and had a child, and briefly pursued a semi-pro boxing career to help provide for his family. Just a teenager when he entered the Louisiana penal system for the first time, King tells of his attempts to break out of this system, and his persistent pursuit of justice where there is none.

Yet this remains a story of inspiration and courage, and the triumph of the human spirit. The conditions in Angola almost defy description, yet King never gave up his humanity, or the work towards justice for all prisoners that he continues to do today. From the Bottom of the Heap, so simply and humbly told, strips bare the economic and social injustices inherent in our society, while continuing to be a powerful literary testimony to our own strength and capacity to overcome.

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