What to TX Prisoners is Your Fourth of July?
To commemorate the independence of the United States of America,
Texas prison kitchens are fired up earlier than usual. The
traditional Fourth of July meals are prepared by unpaid prisoners
(can you say slaves?) whose only incentive for the extra work is
leftover mashed potatoes and an extra oven-barbecued soybean patty,
if they are lucky.
By afternoon, Texas prisons are bustling with activities. But today
the activity is not the thousands of slaves in the cotton fields.
No, the hoe squads, which are normally sweating in the fields while
being watched by their armed overseers on horseback, are resting
Instead, volleyball nets are brought out and tournaments are
organized around the basketball and handball courts. The big men
work up a sweat on the weight pile, encouraged at times by female
prison guards proudly displaying American flag patches on the
shoulder of their confederate- colored uniforms.
The American flag itself is flown at high mast along side the Texas
flag for all to see. Even the men living in super max segregation,
isolation, and sensory deprivation the death row population who is
not privy to the day's celebration- -can climb up to the small slit
of a window high in the back wall of their individual cage and watch
those flags rip in the wind.
Despite the irony, not enough of Texas' 160,000+ slaves seem to
question the purpose of a celebration of independence in a prison.
Prisoners were obviously not a consideration when the Declaration of
Independence was written.
In fact, the reality is that prisons are neocolonial concentration
slave camps. For the plantation to run smoothly, the master is
dependent on the docility and ignorance of the inmates/slaves.
In Texas prisons, where the population is disproportionally Black
and Latino, rehabilitation and educational programs are rare to
nonexistent. The only thing a prisoner is guaranteed to learn how
to be a better criminal, guaranteeing their return to enslavement,
again and again.
For most prisoners, the July 4th holiday signifies a moment of
relief, a day to eat, drink and be merry.
For the 367 Texas death row prisoners, the Fourth of July is simply
a day closer to our impending execution.
God Bless America?
By Howard Guidry; #999226
Innocent on TX Death Row
Prison Activist, Organizer,
Poet and Panther
In 1995, an 18-year-old Howard Guidry was coerced by HPD to sign a
confession to a crime he knew nothing about. Guidry is still death row,
he is appealing for support. Like Malcolm X and George Jackson, Guidry has educated himself in prison. Now in his 30's, he possesses knowledge, courage &
integrity. He is ready to join the struggle on the outside. Guidry
wants to fight for change for all poor & oppressed people,
not only in the criminal justice system but also in capitalist
society in general.
Send letters of encouragement to Howard at:
Howard Guidry # 999226
3872 FM 350 South
Livingston, Texas 77351