Prisoners have power in their own words

Eddie Conway, former Lieutenant of Security for the Baltimore Black Panther Party, was locked up on dubious charges and held as a political prisoner for over 40 years. Conway is part of a generation of Black radicals and revolutionaries who were imprisoned, killed, or otherwise wiped off the political map in the decades of organized reaction following the radical 60s. But their revolutionary struggle, spirit, and teachings did not disappear.

In 1980, Conway participated in and helped organize a prisoners’ educational outreach program called “Say Their Own Word,” where thinkers and scholars came to Maryland Penitentiary and spoke about topics like impending U.S. fascism, the prison-industrial complex, capitalism, increasing surveillance, and many other issues that have become even more pressing today. These speakers included Amiri Baraka, Askia Muhammad, Bruce Franklin, Nijole Benokraitis, and Charlie Cobb. As part of an ongoing series, TRNN will be speaking with these individuals about their predictions in 1980 and how they resonate today. In this installment of the series, former Rattling the Bars producer Ericka Blount interviews Conway, who is now a free man and TRNN Executive Producer.

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