Robert Hillary King, Member of the Angola Three: Ending Solitary Confinement


October 2019 Keynote Presentation:

Ending Solitary Confinement

Robert Hillary King

Member of the Angola Three


11:00am to 12:00pm

First Unitarian Universalist Church

5212 South Claiborne Av., New Orleans

(Enter via the Soniat Street entrance; inside large classroom)

Coffee will be served beginning at 10:30am

Attender brief introductions: 10:50am to 10:58am

Keynote Presentation and Discussion: 11:00am to 12:00pm

Progressive Social Justice Community announcements follow

Robert King will be bringing copies of his book and his “freelines”– special pralines that he makes himself– for folks to purchase.

A member of the Angola Three, Robert King will discuss his 29 years in solitary confinement and his work since being released in 2001 to end human rights abuses in American prison and to reform the U.S. justice system. Findings of two new reports on solitary confinement in Louisiana prisons, where incarcerated people are held in solitary at FOUR times the national rate, and how to plug into the Louisiana Stop Solitary Coalition will also be discussed.

Robert King lived in solitary confinement in Angola State Prison for 29 years. He was among the co-founders of the Angola chapter of the Black Panther Party. With Albert Woodfox and the late Herman Wallace, also Black Panthers, he is known as one of the Angola 3, men who were held for decades in solitary confinement at Angola.
Since his release, Robert King has worked as a speaker on prison reform and the justice system. He has been featured in numerous print, media and film articles and interviews worldwide including: CNN, National Public Radio, NBC, BBC and ITN. He appeared in two documentaries about him and his fellow prisoners in long-term solitary– Angola 3: Black Panthers and the Last Slave Plantation, and Land of the Free (2010). He also provided continuing support to Wallace and Woodfox in prison.

His autobiography, From the Bottom of the Heap: The Autobiography of a Black Panther (2008), was released by PM Press. He won a PASS Award for his book in 2009 from the National Council on Crime and Delinquency.

Following the destruction throughout the poorest areas of New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, King pitched in with local activists to organize communities and provide aid. Local activist Malik Rahim, and Scott Crow and Brandon Darby, both from Texas, co-founded the Common Ground Collective to provide assistance and medical care to local residents left destitute after the storm. King has spoken internationally against the use of solitary confinement and on behalf of Wallace and Woodfox while they were still imprisoned.

He has spoken at college campuses and community centers across the US, and before the Parliaments in the Netherlands, South Africa and Portugal. In December 2010, King was invited as the inaugural speaker at TEDx Alcatraz in San Francisco, delivering a talk entitled “Alone”.

Exciting news…. looks like Albert Woodfox, the other surviving member of the Angola Three, may be able to join Mr. King! Albert Woodfox just learned on Wednesday that his book, Solitary: My Story of Transformation and Hope, has just been chosen as a finalist for the 2019 National Book Award!


Robert Hillary King (born May 30, 1942[1]), also known as Robert King Wilkerson, is an American known as one of the Angola Three, former prisoners who were held at Louisiana State Penitentiary in solitary confinement for decades after being convicted in 1973 of prison murders.Robert Hillary King

NLN Robert Hillary King.jpg
Robert Hillary King at the Left Forum
New York City, 2009
Source: Wikipedia
Louisiana State Penitentiary, where King has been confined. Source: Wikipedia

Initially held at Angola after being convicted of armed robbery, King served a total of 32 years there, 29 of them in solitary. His conviction was overturned on appeal in 2001, and a new trial was ordered. The state indicted him again and he accepted a plea deal for lower charges, in exchange for time served, rather than go through another trial. He was released in 2001.

King has consistently maintained his innocence in the prison murder. He was among the co-founders of the Angola chapter of the Black Panther Party. With Albert Woodfox and the late Herman Wallace, also former Black Panthers, he is known as one of the Angola 3, men who were held for decades in solitary confinement at Angola

Source: The Gillespie Memorial Community Breakfast affords roundtable discussion, event coordination and educational programmingIt is held on the second Saturday of each month at the First Unitarian Universalist Church, and is hosted by the Church’s Social Justice Committee. Visit their Facebook page.


A native of New Orleans, who left her beloved New Orleans to spend twenty years of living in the land of Minnesota Not So Nice. Minnesota was full of opportunities but would learn that the soul of the state and the people who made it was just as icy cold as the temperatures. After the years and my 40th birthday flew by, I decided it was time to pack up my youngest child and come back to my roots, my birthplace the city that not only birthed me but gave me life. I would not be who I am without my New Orleans beginnings. I am all things that would challenge the belief of growing up in New Orleans. I was a 16yr old teen mother of a premature baby born with a severe medical disability. And only With the help of my mother, was it possible for me to BE! I was able to endure and survive the obstacles laid before my child and me. In a city that was built by my family, but did not allow for us to reap the benefits I overcame. Charity Hospital was my second home — a building filled with miracle workers who made it possible for my daughter to have life. I have lived a life of rainy days with peeks of sunshine, that are my children, including those not of my womb. I'm the proud mother of three and a grandmother of three. My dream was to live the life of the nursery rhyme of ”The Old Lady Who lived in a shoe,” and for the most part, I did. I cared for several children over the years as a special needs foster parent. I would learn that my love was not enough for some children, but I loved them through their pain. I'm not sure if I ever had a case of true love or came close to what love looks like on television, but I had my share of men and the mirage of love. I survived two abusive marriages. Though I longed to return to New Orleans on a daily bases, I must admit my move was one of the best decisions made for me. I am a college graduate; I was a successful entrepreneur. I coowned a soul food restaurant and catering company in Minnesota for 12 years. I developed the talent of creating custom cakes after the murder of my beloved cousin Melvin Paul. He survived Katrina only to go to Minneapolis six months later to be murdered over a parking spot dispute. But with the challenge of creating a simple wedding cake, I was able to find healing. I created the House of Cakes in honor of him. Minnesota life had me pretty materialistic. I worked to the point I do not remember much, but work and handing my children love money. I thought by having the big house on the hill, a husband, having a family, the ultimate provider and being involved in all things that matter, plus having the funds to match would cure me of what I was told was a generational curse of lack of everything from money, love to even self-love. But for the most part, that life poisoned my heart and soul. I was blinded by visions fed to me by the media. I was told I wasn't anything unless I was better than the Jones's. I lived being ok with a broken, bleeding heart. Life like this did not exist in my family while living in New Orleans from what I viewed with my eyes and soul. We may not have had all the things I acquired over the years, but we were happy, we were together. Family outside of New Orleans wasn't family anymore. We lived separate lives and had awkward moments when we bumped into each other in public. I hated living in Minnesota even though life their helped me in so many ways. I felt deep down the only way to repair it was to get back to my roots, my soul, my home, myself, my New Orleans. I'm here, and I love it. Even being in the so-called Blighted Area of New Orleans and not having all the financial and material security, I'm happy. I am determined that She, yes, New Orleans is a woman is just like me; together, we will overcome and will rise from all that tried to kill our spirit. Nothing like starting from the bottom and making your way back up!. I just know in my heart that New Orleans will provide for me. There's a bank account with funds in it owed to me by way of back pay for my ancestors. And I will receive my inheritance, and I will continue the traditions and customs of the old to keep the heartbeat of New Orleans beating. I'm down in the boot, living the life that feels right to me awaiting my destiny...

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