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Black RevolutionaryWilliam Patterson and the Globalization of the African American Freedom Struggle$
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Gerald Horne

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780252037924

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252037924.001.0001

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“I Am a Political Prisoner”

“I Am a Political Prisoner”

(p.141) 10 “I Am a Political Prisoner”
Black Revolutionary

Gerald Horne

University of Illinois Press

This chapter looks at Patterson's imprisonment in Danbury, Connecticut. He estimated that “30 percent of the prison population is Negro” in Danbury, and they, along with those who were Jewish, were segregated. What particularly agitated him was the overrepresentation of Negroes behind bars. The plight of his fellow inmates presented Patterson with an immediate dilemma. The high-court ruling had yet to trickle down to this federal facility, so Jim Crow reigned. If he spoke out, “especially against segregation,” then that “would surely be un-American-subversive. I am not afraid to speak out,” he assured, “but I don't seek further victimization.” During his time of imprisonment, his mail was censored, then he was barred from writing anyone other than his spouse and his daughter. He was also subjected to “quarantine,” shielded from others, though not in solitary confinement. This meant no visitors and seven letters per week.

Keywords:   prison population, prison segregation, high-court ruling, Jim Crow

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