Women in Prison: How It Iz With Us

Moorbey'z Blog

Assata Shakur / Joanne Chesimard
published in The Black Scholar, April 1978

We sit in the bull pen. We are all black. All restless. And we are all  freezing.  When we ask, the matron tells us that the heating system cannot  be adjusted.  All of us, with the exception of a woman, tall and gaunt, who  looks naked  and ravished, have refused the bologna sandwiches. The rest of us sit drinking  bitter, syrupy tea. The tall, fortyish woman, with sloping  shoulders, moves  her head back and forth to the beat of a private tune while  she takes small,  tentative bites out a bologna sandwich. Someone asks her  what she’s in for.  Matter of factly, she says, “They say I killed some nigga.  But how could I have when I’m buried down in South Carolina?” Everybody’s  face gets busy exchanging looks. A short, stout young woman wearing men’s  pants and men’s…

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