Jonathan P. Jackson
Jonathan Peter Jackson
June 23, 1953
|Died||August 7, 1970 (aged 17)|
Marin County, California, U.S.
|Cause of death||Shooting|
|Known for||Marin County courthouse incident|
Jonathan Peter Jackson (June 23, 1953 – August 7, 1970) was an American revolutionary, and extremist, who died of gunshot wounds suffered during his armed invasion of a California courthouse. At age 17, Jackson stormed the Marin County Courthouse with automatic weapons, kidnapping Superior Court Judge Harold Haley, prosecutor Gary Thomas, and three jurors. Escaping with the hostages, Jackson demanded the Soledad Brothers' immediate release from prison. The Soledad Brothers, a group of African American inmates facing charges for allegedly throwing a white prison guard to his death at San Quentin, included Jackson's elder brother George Jackson. None of the Soledad defendants were at the courthouse on the day of the attack.
In an ensuing shootout, Jackson and Judge Haley were killed, along with two inmates already in the courtroom, who had readily joined the attack; prosecutor Thomas was paralyzed and one juror was seriously injured. The guns that Jackson used were registered to political activist Angela Davis, who previously formed a committee supporting the Soledad Brothers. Davis stood trial for alleged involvement in the kidnapping and was acquitted of all charges in June 1972.
Jackson was the youngest of five children born to Lester and Georgia Bea Jackson. Raised in Pasadena, California, he attended St Andrew's School from 1965-67 for grades seven and eight, La Salle High School for ninth grade (1967–68), and then Blair High School through his junior year.
George Jackson includes passages in his 1971 book, Blood in My Eye, which he attributes to his brother Jonathan. These passages figure prominently in the development of the elder Jackson's theory of revolutionary praxis.
Marin County incident
On August 7, 1970, Jackson brought a satchel containing three automatic firearms, registered to Davis, into the Marin County Hall of Justice, where Judge Haley was presiding over the trial of San Quentin inmate James McClain.
Once inside Judge Haley's courtroom, Jackson drew an automatic gun, and, aided by McClain and Black Panther inmates Ruchell Cinque Magee and William Arthur Christmas, took Judge Haley as well as Deputy District Attorney Gary Thomas and three female jurors hostage.
Jackson and the other kidnappers bound the hostages with piano wire and used psychological torture to enforce compliance. The militants proudly encouraged responding journalists to document their actions as they loaded the hostages into a rented van, with the intent of transporting them to a nearby radio station where they would demand that the Soledad Brothers be released. Responding police fired on the van that Jackson was driving in an attempt to end the attack. During the shootout, Jonathan Jackson, Christmas, McClain, and Judge Haley were killed, while Magee and Deputy District Attorney Thomas were seriously injured.
Jackson's son, Jonathan Jackson Jr., was born eight and a half months after his father's death. A monument on the premises to Judge Haley was the target of a follow-up attack perpetrated by the Weather Underground terrorist network in October of the same year.
In popular culture
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- Nas pays tribute to George and Jonathan Jackson in his song "Testify" from his untitled album.
- Hasan Salaam references to George and Jonathan Jackson in the song "Get High Riddum" on the album Tales of the Lost Tribe: Hidden Jewels (i.e. "I fight for my freedom like George and John Jackson").
- Dead Prez mentions Jonathan Jackson in the songs "I have a dream too" and "Over" from their mixtape "Revolutionary But Gangsta Grillz "
- Chris Iijima of the band, Yellow Pearl, wrote a song "Jonathan Jackson" in the album A Grain of Sand: Music for the Struggle by Asians in America.
- (Jeffery Cain) wrote and recorded the song "Whispering Thunder" on his similarly named album in 1971 a powerful message about the event and its meaning.
- The 2007 film Black August about Jackson's elder brother George also dramatizes the Marin County incident.
- California Deaths, 1940-1997
- Aptheker, Bettina (1969). The Morning Breaks: The Trial of Angela Davis. Cornell University Press. ISBN 0-8014-8597-5.
- Timothy, Mary (1974). Jury Woman. Palo Alto, California: Emty Press. Retrieved July 12, 2010.
- Blood in My Eye (1971), pp. 11-12, 20, 23-24, 46, et. al.
- Millies, Stephen (August 3, 2009). "Long live the spirit of Jonathan Jackson". Workers World Newspaper.
- "Justice: A Bad Week for the Good Guys". Time. August 17, 1970.
- Associated Press (August 8, 1970). "Courtroom Escape Attempt/Convicts, Trial Judge Slain". Sarasota Herald.
- "San Francisco Bay View » Jonathan Jackson Jr.'s foreword to his Uncle George Jackson's 'Soledad Brother' (1994)". February 18, 2018. Archived from the original on February 18, 2018. Retrieved February 8, 2019.
- Graaf, Beatrice de (March 15, 2011). "Evaluating Counterterrorism Performance: A Comparative Study". Routledge. Retrieved October 14, 2018 – via Google Books.
|Wikiquote has quotations related to: Jonathan P. Jackson|
- FBI Docs Jonathan Jackson FBI File