On September 9th, 2015, after days of lockdown and other unusual restrictions on their movement, inmates at Donaldson Correctional Facility in Bessemer, Alabama, rushed the unlocked door of the dining hall en-masse and occupied it before taking over the common area of the dormitory and refusing to lock down.
The prison had been placed on lockdown status after a snitch reported to the administration that a network of inmates had a “hit list” of guards they intended to attack in retaliation for the guards’ particularly violent and belligerent treatment of inmates.
What follows is an account of the rebellion from a prisoner who took part in it:
“The guys in the block eventually got sick of [being on lock down] enough to start talking about taking action. Ahhh MAN! It felt so good to walk around the block (when they did let us up) and hear everyone talking about running it on the CO’s! Black, white, Blood, GD [Gangster Disciple], young, old, 205, 334, Mobile, Birmingham. None of the things that kept us divided seemed to matter anymore. Everyone had identified one common enemy.
You know me being me. I’m trying to organize this collective resentment into some kind of demonstration. First I was just telling guys not to lock down so they could escort us to the dining hall one tier at a time, but nobody was complying and at one point when the door to the main hall was buzzed open guys just rushed it and marched to the dining hall 98 deep. I was right up front yelling “we ain’t locking down.” “Fuck the police.” We in the dining hall rapping Boosie!!! When we all finally did go back to the dorm the C.O.’s were about 30 deep, but they were scared to death! LOL! They by this point were asking us to lock-down. My brother and dearest comrade was asking officer Heflin, “Man, what we got to lock-down for? We haven’t done shit!” Officer Heflin (one of them wanna-be bad asses) grabbed him by his arm and was trying to pull him into the hall where most of the officers were standing. I said, “Hell naw! Ain’t nobody going no where!” I grabbed him by his other arm and pulled him back in. All of the other officers started spraying mace everywhere. It turned into a royal rumble!!!
Long story short… In the end they came in with back up and most guys ran to their cells. Only me and six others were left fighting. When I tell you them [guards] kicked our asses!! It was fun at first, but when they got us in handcuffs and into the infirmary they took turns kicking our ass! No exaggeration, the Warden (Specks) and Cpt. White participated in this! Warden Specks had big Snead hold my comrade up so he wouldn’t fall ‘cause by this point he was only semiconscious, and began slapping and punching him. While all of this is going on you got nurses walking back and forth as if nothing is even happening.
I would be all day explaining everything that took place and has continued to take place to us as a result of the incident that happened 9-9-15. They have us in a special 8 man cell block where we only have contact with C.O.s. Many of the same ones who we got into it with. I don’t know if you can help or not, but if you can I need it!!! I’m tired bruh. I can’t take this shit no more. Real talk! These clowns threw away all my mail that was in my cell, pictures, legal mail, books, literally everything that I had in my box!”
Keep an eye out for updates on the struggle of these prison rebels and for opportunities to express your support and solidarity for what they’re fighting for.