39 Years Ago: The Marin County Court Shootout

August 7th, 1970, seventeen year-old Jonathon Jackson attempted to liberate his brother, George Jackson, and the rest of the Soledad Brothers by taking hostages at the Marin County Courthouse in California at the trial of San Quentin prisoner John McClain. With the use of weapons smuggled into the courthouse, Jackson, McClain, and prisoners Ruchell Macgee and William Christmas took five hostages, including Judge Harold Haley. The police opened fired on the escape vehicle, killing Jackson, McClain, Christmas, and Haley.

Revolutionary intellectual Angela Davis was tied to the guns used by Jackson during the attempted liberation. A mass federal hunt for her was launched, eventually leading to her imprisonment.

George Jackson, Jonathon’s inspiration, is one of the most famous political prisoners from the Black Power movement. He authored Soledad Brother and Blood In My Eye, both essential readings for movement defense in the US. He was eventually assassinated in San Quentin prison on August 21, 1971.

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