Herman Wallace, just three days after being released from prison, died on Friday morning. He was 71 years old and died after a tough battle with liver cancer. Just days ago, he made news when he was released from solitary confinement after four decades of being locked up for a crime that he did not commit.
Wallace was one of the "Angola 3," a group of inmates who protested what they said were injustices at the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola. Wallace and two other inmates were convicted of armed robbery in 1971 and sent to Angola Prison. The next year, the three men were charged with the stabbing of prison guard Brent Miller, which resulted in his death. As a result, the three of them were placed in solitary confinement and while there were no fingerprints found, they were found guilty.
In addition to Wallace, the Angola 3 was made up of Albert Woodfox and Robert King. It has been said that the targeting of these men was race related and while at the prison, Wallace founded a chapter of the Black Panthers. CNN states that both Wallace and Woodfox claim to have been targeted because of their activism with the Black Panther party. The Angola 3 was also the subject of a documentary called In The Land of The Free, narrated by Samuel L. Jackson.
23 hrs a day In a 6 by 9 cell For 42 years Released 2 days ago Dies in his sleep In a hospital bed Rest in Power #HermanWallace Forgive us
— Prison Culture (@prisonculture) October 4, 2013
I tweeted how happy I was that Herman Wallace was freed from prison after 41 years of *solitary confinement* 2 days ago. He died today.
— Selin Kara (@Selintifada) October 4, 2013
It was previously said that he was not likely to live for more than a couple months and his time was cut much shorter than that. After many years of being locked up, he was only given a few days to live on the outside, but at least he died a free man. In the decision to release Wallace from prison, the judge said on Tuesday that his petition was granted because women were excluded from the grand jury in his case four decades ago, which violates the 14th amendment of the US constitution, according to NBC News.
After 41 years in solitary confinement, #HermanWallace had just 2 days of freedom, spent in a hospital bed… Charge Louisiana w/ murder
— Rania Khalek (@RaniaKhalek) October 4, 2013
Wallace's attorney, George Kendall, said that he died at a friend's home with friends and family near his bedside. He also mentioned that "He was determined that (solitary confinement) was not going to break him." Wallace was able to prevail after a long struggle of a prison sentence and die peacefully, where he was comfortable and surrounded by loved ones, as Kendall mentioned. The other Angola 3 members have had a very different fate, with King being released in 2001, after 29 years of isolation and Woodfox's case is still pending before the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
RIP Herman Wallace of the Angola 3.. He's finally free-Those who tortured him for 42 years.. will never be free of their hatred &inhumanity
— Davey D (@mrdaveyd) October 4, 2013
Upon his return to home, he was greeted by a large number of people in the street, chanting in his honor.
Image via Youtube