Albert Woodfox, who was held in solitary confinement for the longest period of time in US history, died at the age of 75 from complications related to COVID-19. After more than 43 years in solitary confinement, the former Black Panther and political prisoner was released six years ago. Woodfox wrote a prize-winning memoir, “Solitary: Unbroken by Four Decades in Solitary Confinement,” after his release. “My Story of Hope and Transformation.”
He wrote about his childhood and how his mother struggled to keep the family cared for, how he was in and out of jails and prisons as a teenager and young man, and how he became radicalized when he met members of the Black Panther Party, and went on to establish the first chapter of the organization at the Louisiana State Penitentiary in Angola to address horrific conditions at the former cotton plantation.
Not long after, he and fellow prisoner Herman Wallace were charged with stabbing prison guard Brent Miller in 1972. The two men insisted on their innocence, claiming that they were targeted because of their political activities. Woodfox, Wallace, and a third man, Robert King, were dubbed the Angola 3.
For decades, Amnesty International and other organizations advocated for their release. When his conviction was overturned in 2001, Robert King was released. Herman Wallace was released in 2013 after a federal judge threatened to imprison the warden of Angola prison if he did not release him that day. Wallace died of liver cancer a day later. However, Louisiana refused to release Albert Woodfox until his 69th birthday on February 19, 2016.
Albert Woodfox appeared on Democracy Now! several times, including his first live TV interview on February 22, 2016, just three days after his release. He returned to Democracy Now! in 2019 to celebrate the release of “Solitary.”