The Soledad Brothers were three African-American prison inmates: George Jackson, co-founder of the Black Guerilla Family, and Fleeta Drumgo and John Clutchette. The three were falsely accused of beating a white prison guard and throwing him from a third-floor tier to his death at California’s Soledad Prison on Jan. 16, 1970. The murder occurred just a few days after another white guard shot and killed three Black inmates by firing from a tower into the courtyard during a racial fist fight.
The Soledad brothers had recently led a hunger strike to combat the abusive, inhumane practices that led to the death of several Black inmates, when they were indicted for the murder.
Opie G. Miller, the guard who shot the three Black inmates, was exonerated in a secret trial where none of the Black inmates who witnessed the shootings were permitted to testify.
Less than a year later and just three days before the opening of his trial, George Jackson was shot to death by a tower guard inside San Quentin Prison in an alleged escape attempt. Some people called it an assassination and “No Black person,” wrote James Baldwin, “will ever believe that George Jackson died the way they tell us he did.”
The two surviving Soledad Brothers, Clutchette and Drumgoole, were acquitted by a San Francisco jury.