The trial of Angela Yvonne Davis in connection with the prisoner revolt by three black prisoners on August 7, 1970 at the Marin County Courthouse will be remembered as one of America's most historic political trials, and no one can tell the story better than Miss Davis herself. This book is also perhaps the most comprehensive and thorough analysis of that increasingly important symbol — the political prisoner. Of her trial, Miss Davis writes, "I am charged with three capital offenses — murder, kidnapping, and conspiracy. My life is at stake in this case — not simply the life of a lone individual, but a life which has been given over to the struggles of my people, a life which belongs to Black people who are tired of poverty, and racism, of the unjust imprisonment of tens of thousands of our brothers and sisters."
"I stand before this court," she declares, "as a target of a political frame-up which, far from pointing to my culpability, implicates the State of California as an agent of political repression....I declare publicly before the court, before the people of this country, that I am innocent of all charges which have been leveled against me by the State of California."
On the central theme of this book Miss Davis contends that "the offense of the political prisoner in his political boldness, his consistent challenges — legally or extra-legally — of fundamental social wrongs fostered and reinforced by the state. He has opposed unjust laws and exploitative, racist social conditions in general, with the ultimate aim of transforming these laws and the society into an order harmonious with the material and spiritual need and interests of the vast majority of its members."
Regarding his own defense, Ruchell Magee, the only prisoner who survived the same revolt and one of the many impressive contributors in this invaluable volume which includes George Jackson, Fleeta Drumgo, John Clutchette, James Baldwin, Bobby Seale and Ericka Huggins, states, "For over seven years I have been forced to stay in slavery on fraudulent pleas of guilty, made by attorneys, court-appointed attorneys, over my objection, over my plea of not guilty, and over my testimony of not guilty."