The Other Inauguration Celebration

For millions of people, both in America and abroad, the inauguration of a Black person as President of the United States was a moment of transcendent history, one of meaning and significance that suggests real change in a nation that has long labored under its racist history.


This was perhaps best evidenced by the vast number of people who swarmed Washington to be part of such a day.


But for half a dozen men in Pennsylvania‘s Camp Hill prison, in its SMU (Special Management Unit), the day will be remembered quite differently.


For that day marked a fit of beatings, electric stun gun (and shield) shocking, kicking, punching and other such treatment, accompanied by a rash of racist slurs by white guards against Black prisoners.


According to the Pittsburgh based Human Right Coalition (HRC), guards and staff launched an attack timed to the inauguration, to send the message, "F–k a historical day, y’all always going to be niggers!"


In an extensive 6 page report sent to members of the press, the HRC’s  Fed Up! chapter documents assaults and threats against 6 men that day: David Smith, Gary Tucker, Damont Hagan, Ronald Jackson, Willie Robinson and Jamar Perry.  Some of these men were threatened with death for daring to file suits in courts against their treatment in the unit.


On the morning of the inauguration, one high-ranking guard reportedly announced over the PA system: "He (speaking of Obama), may have won, in my eyes he’s still a nigger."  He also stated: "There will be no showers or yard today. We are going to show you niggers who runs this SMU." *


Men were handcuffed, sprayed with hot pepper mace in the face, blinded, stripped naked and beaten in retaliation for exercising their alleged constitutional right to file a civil rights suit in an American court, on the very day that Barack H. Obama was taking the oath of office, telling the assembled throng before him and the nation and world viewing it remotely, that "we do not torture."


For more information contact:


HRC/Fed Up!

5125 Penn Ave.

Pittsburgh, PA 15224


(412) 361.3022, ext. 4




{Source: * "Urgent Action Alert: 6 Prisoners Assaulted in the Camp Hill SMU on Inauguration Day, "  Human Rights Coalition, Fed Up chapter (2/17/09), posted at: http://phillyimc.org/en/urgent-action-alert-6-prisoners-assaulted-camp-hill-smu-inauguration-day}


Mumia Abu-Jamal is a political prisoner who has been languishing on death row in Pennsylvania for more than 25 years. He is the author of many books, including JAILHOUSE LAWYERS, PRISONERS DEFENDING PRISONERS V. THE USA, just released by City Lights Books, www.citylights.com

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