In 1980, TRNN’s Eddie Conway helped organize a prisoners’ educational outreach program called “Say Their Own Word,” where thinkers and scholars came to Maryland Penitentiary and spoke about topics like impending U.S. fascism, the prison-industrial complex, capitalism, increasing surveillance, and many other issues that have become even more pressing today. These speakers included Amiri Baraka, Askia Muhammad, Bruce Franklin, Nijole Benokraitis, and Charlie Cobb. As part of a series, TRNN will be speaking with these individuals about their predictions in 1980 and how they resonate today.

Charlie Cobb: ‘Protest is necessary… but it is not sufficient.’

Forty years ago, longtime civil rights activist and journalist Charlie Cobb spoke to prisoners at the Maryland Penitentiary as part of the “To Say Their Own Words” program. Four decades later, Eddie Conway speaks with Cobb about the news industry, internationalism, and how the world has changed since 1980.

TRNN’s Eddie Conway: Prisoners have power in their own words

Forty years ago, Eddie Conway spoke to fellow prisoners at the Maryland Penitentiary as part of the “Say Their Own Word” program, which he helped organize as an inmate. A free man now, Conway reflects on the program and the ongoing struggle against the carceral state.

The US has been moving toward fascism since Goldwater

Forty years ago, Askia Muhammad spoke to prisoners at the Maryland Penitentiary about imperialism and the stifling of dissent as part of the ‘Say Their Own Word’ program. Eddie Conway interviews him 40 years later as he draws parallels to the 2020 election.

Prisoners worked closely with librarian Brenda Vogel, who wrote the grant that funded the “To Say Their Own Word” project. Brenda Vogel was one of the project directors, along with Eddie Conway, a former member of the Black Panther Party and political prisoner during that time. Their leadership is an example of the synergy in community organizing that transcends prison walls.

Eddie Conway

Executive Producer

Eddie Conway is an Executive Producer of The Real News Network. He is the host of the TRNN show Rattling the Bars. He is Chairman of the Board of Ida B's Restaurant, and the author of two books: Marshall Law: The Life & Times of a Baltimore Black Panther and The Greatest Threat: The Black Panther Party and COINTELPRO. A former member of the Black Panther Party, Eddie Conway is an internationally known political prisoner for over 43 years, a long time prisoners' rights organizer in Maryland, the co-founder of the Friend of a Friend mentoring program, and the President of Tubman House Inc. of Baltimore. He is a national and international speaker and has several degrees.