The former Black Panther and member of the Angola 3 reflects on how he turned his cell from a place of confinement to a space for personal growth

My wrists were handcuffed to my waist by a leather strap. These restraints would become standard for me for decades to come. They walked me to a car and I got in. A captain next to me started elbowing me in my chest, face, and ribs. They drove me to a building just inside the front gate that housed the reception center and death row. Inside was a cellblock called closed cell restricted, or CCR: another name for solitary confinement. In the stairwell they beat me viciously. I couldn’t fight back or defend myself because of the restraints.

My body was badly bruised from being beaten but I was still able to move around the cell on my own. I walked to shake off the pain. The cell was 9ft long and 6ft wide. I could take four or five steps up and back the length of the cell.

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