George Jackson Brigade
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The George Jackson Brigade, was a revolutionary group based in Seattle, Washington, which was named after George Jackson, a dissident prisoner and Black Panther member shot and killed during an alleged escape attempt at San Quentin Prison in 1971.
The members included two ex-cons: Ed Mead and John Sherman, and prison-rights activists: Bruce Seidel, Rita "Bo" Brown, and Therese Coupez. They were later joined by Mark Cook, who was the only Afro American in the group. They were involved in violent acts and claimed to use force to overthrow the United States Government or the government of the State of Washington. The group justified their actions by claiming to further the ends of a revolution of the masses to overthrow the present governmental and international business structures and to establish a system of communism. In various communiqués, the group claimed credit for bank robberies, bombings, attacks against custom houses, court houses, Safeway stores, public utilities and correction facilities.
From March 1975 to December 1977, the Seattle Brigade robbed at least seven banks and detonated about 20 pipe bombs—mainly targeting government buildings, electric power facilities, Safeway stores, and companies accused of racism.
On January 23, 1976, the Tukwila branch of the Pacific National Bank was robbed by several armed men including Mead, Sherman, Siedel, and Cook. Mead was captured, Sherman was wounded in the jaw, and Seidel was killed. Cook fled in a car. Six weeks later, Cook freed Sherman after shooting his police escort(King County Sheriff Officer Virgil Johnson) as they walked out of Harborview Medical Center, but Cook was captured the following day. Sherman remained free for two years before his recapture.
Mead was released in 1993 after serving 18 years in state and federal institutions. Sherman, who later escaped—again—from a federal prison in California, was released in 1998. Brown, Coupez, and Janine Bertram, are all free after serving four- to eight-year sentences. Mark Cook remained in prison for 24 years, until 2000.
- FBI file on the George Jackson Brigade
- What Is the George Jackson Brigade? George Jackson Brigade Information Project (online)
- The last brigadier, by Mark Worth, Seattle Weekly, July 22, 1998
- Mark Cook, Seattle Black Panther Party History and Memory Project University of Washington (website)
- Guerrilla USA: The George Jackson Brigade and the Anticapitalist Underground of the 1970s, Burton-Rose, Daniel. University of California Press, 2010.
- Creating a Movement with Teeth: A Documentary History of the George Jackson Brigade, Burton-Rose, Daniel. PM Press, 2010.