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Mightier than Metal, Sturdier than Concrete: Robert King and Albert Woodfox on the Struggle of the Angola 3

Saturday, April 7, 2018

All Beta Main programs are free.
114 W. 4th St., Los Angeles, CA 90013


Dr. Robert King and Albert Woodfox are the two surviving members of the Angola 3, the world-renowned trio of prison reform activists (Herman Wallace, died on October 4th, 2013, three days after his release) exonerated after enduring decades of solitary confinement at Louisiana State Penitentiary—the largest maximum-security prison in the U.S. and former slave plantation known as “Angola.”

King spent 29 1/2 years in solitary confinement before his release in 2001. Woodfox, the longest-serving prisoner to be held in solitary confinement in U.S. history, spent 43 years in solitary confinement before his release in 2016. Prior to their time in solitary confinement, King, Woodfox and Wallace jointly established a prison chapter of the Black Panther Party at Angola and led peaceful nonviolent protests against the racist and cruel conditions inflicted upon prisoners.

King and Woodfox will be discussing their experiences in an extended conversation about their campaign for the abolishment of solitary confinement and freedom for all political prisoners. Moderated by artist Rigo 23, long time supporter within the International Coalition to Free the Angola-3, this conversation will occur inside the exhibition Rigo 23: Ripples Become WavesThe exhibition takes its title from a quote by King, “The deeper they bury you, the louder your voice becomes. You throw pebbles into a pond, you get ripples; ripples become waves; the waves can become a tsunami.”

This program is open to all and is presented in conjunction with the exhibition Rigo 23: Ripples Become Waves. The exhibition will be open during the program. All Beta Main exhibitions and programs are FREE. 

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Dr. Robert King is a prison reform activist and the first of the Angola 3 to win his freedom after serving twenty-nine years in solitary confinement of a 31-year sentence. He was a member of the Black Panther Party in Angola, Louisiana, the only official chapter of the BPP in the country. In the seventeen years since his release in 2001, King’s life’s focus has been to campaign against abuses in the US criminal justice system, the cruel and unusual use of solitary confinement and for the freedom of the then remaining imprisoned, Angola 2, who are now all free. In 2012, King received an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge, UK for his achievements as a civil rights campaigner and has traveled the world sharing his testimony with parliaments in Europe, Africa, and South America.  He is the author of his autobiography, From the Bottom of the Heap.

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Albert Woodfox is the last of the Angola 3 to be released.  He was released on his birthday, February 19th, 2016 after his conviction had been overturned a total of three times, spanning the years between 1992-2015.  Motivated by the many years it took to be heard, Albert has made a life-long commitment to continuing his activism and advocacy on behalf of all those wrongfully imprisoned due to the multiple abuses of the criminal justice system, prosecutorial misconduct, missing or false evidence, bad science, and racism. As a former member of the Black Panther Party he hopes to be a voice for the voiceless who suffer under brutal prison conditions.  He is currently writing a book slated to publish late 2018.


Rigo 23 lives in Los Angeles and works globally. He has exhibited his work internationally for more than 20 years, placing murals, paintings, sculptures, and tile work in public situations where viewers are encouraged to examine their relationship to their community and their role as unwitting advocates of public policy. Rigo’s works live both as artworks and thoughtful public interventions and have been the subject of solo exhibitions at the Roy and Edna Disney/CalArts Theater (REDCAT) and the Fowler Museum at the University of California, Los Angeles; the New Museum and Artists Space, New York City; and the Museo de Arte Contemporanea, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. His work has been included in theKochi-Muziris Biennale, India; Aichi Triennial, Japan; Shenzhen Hong-Kong Bi-City Biennial of Urbanism and Architecture, China; Auckland Triennial, New Zealand; Lyon Biennale, France; 2006 Liverpool Biennial, United Kingdom; and 2004 California Biennial, among others. Rigo received his BFA from the San Francisco Art Institute and his MFA from Stanford University.

On Monday, April 9, 2018 Robert King and Albert Woodfox will also be in conversation at the Library Foundation of Los Angeles. More information here.