The People’s War Radio Show, Episode #59: Shut down the St. Louis Workhouse! Free 'em all!


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On April 4, 2021, incarcerated Africans rebelled at the St. Louis Justice Center, a city jail in downtown St. Louis. They broke the locks on their cells, busted out the windows and proceeded to throw chairs, tables and other furniture from the jail and set several fires in effort to draw attention to the inhumane conditions they have experienced.

This uprising was the most recent in a series of uprisings in local jails and prisons in the St. Louis area in the past years, including a rebellion months earlier in February.

A 2017 rebellion of inmates at the St. Louis Workhouse, a medium security prison on the North Side operated by the city of St. Louis made national news after several inmates were heard crying for help after enduring temperatures as high as 110 degrees with no air conditioning.

St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones, US Congresswoman Cori Bush, and other officials have made news recently with calls to defund the St. Louis police. Jones, Bush, and others have also focused on the St. Louis Workhouse. Jones has slated the Workhouse for closure in 2022.

In this episode of The People's War Radio Show we discuss:

  • Living conditions in the St. Louis Workhouse and St. Louis Justice Center
  • Covid-19 in St. Louis jails and beyond
  • The links between colonial-slavery and mass incarceration today
  • The Black Power Blueprint's African Independence Workforce Program as a form of dual and contending power to the colonial prison system

To discuss this with us, we are joined by Abdullah Alexander. Abdullah is a member of the African People’s Socialist Party and the Outreach Coordinator for the Black Power Blueprint.

Black Power Blueprint is a program that has refurbished buildings, built community gardens, and provides economic development for the black community of St Louis. Abdullah spent over 27 years incarcerated and now is working to build the African Independence Workforce Program which includes housing and job training for formerly incarcerated African men and women.

The People's War radio show is produced by WBPU 96.3 FM "Black Power 96" in St. Petersburg, Florida. It is hosted by Dr. Matsemela Odom and Muambi Tangu, bringing an African Internationalist perspective to the important issues of our world.

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