At one point in Soledad Brother: The Prison Letters of George Jackson (1970), political activist George Jackson laments his continued imprisonment and then quotes the entirety of Claude McKay’s famous sonnet, “If We Must Die” (1919). Pouring out of him, without line breaks, the poem becomes a lyric meditation on the conditions of social (and even physical) death in the carceral space. Jackson follows it by writing, “I don’t mind dying but I’d like to have the opportunity to fight back” (Soledad 103). He divines his fate elsewhere in the text, too, always with this same wish—to strike a blow against the forces that...

Article PDF first page preview

Article PDF first page preview
Article PDF first page preview
You do not currently have access to this article.