After an unprecedented release from solitary confinement on Tuesday, Herman Wallace died today at age 71. Wallace had spent more than 40 years in solitary, and was taken into hospice to be treated for terminal liver cancer immediately after his release.
As Colorlines reported earlier this week, Federal Judge Brian A. Jackson gave the order to have Wallace immediately released because women were excluded from his grand jury. Despite the judge’s ruling, on Thursday he was re-indicted by a West Feliciana Parish grand jury who insisted he was not innocent.
In 1972 Wallace, along with fellow Black Panther Party members Robert Hillary King and Albert Woodfox, was put in solitary confinement after being convicted of fatally stabbing a prison guard at Louisiana’s Angola Prison. They came to be known as the Angola 3, and they maintained their innocence in the guard’s death. They insisted that they had been targeted for establishing a prison chapter of the Black Panther Party in 1971. Wallace was initially imprisoned on robbery charges.
On Tuesday night Wallace was met by supporters and loved ones, including Robert King—who had been the only member of the Angola 3 to be release from prison—and artist Jackie Sumell, with whom he worked on an art project where he imagined his dream house. He would have turned 72 on October 13.