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Break de Chains
Maker: A.P.O.W. Alliance
Date Made: 1976
Place Made: United States: California, San Francisco
Measurements: 58.5 cm x 44 cm; 23 1/16 in x 17 5/16 in
Main Subject: African Americans; Prisons & Prisoners
Materials: paper (fiber product)
"Break De Chains" Prisoners Of War Earnest Graham Eugene Allen Many prison guards assured us that if they were not successful in sending us to the gas chamber through court procedures, they would have to go back to their old traditional way of eliminating blacks, but we don't feel much pain, because we know the people are on the march. In Time We Shall Win Graham & Allen © 1976 A.P.O.W. Alliance, P.O. Box 15128, San Francisco, CA 94115 (415) 922-9213
Acquisition Number: 2002-008
Break de Chains Artist Unknown Offset, 1976 San Francisco, California 17132
Under copyright; used by CSPG for educational and research purposes only. Distribution or reproduction beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners.
In November 1973, while incarcerated in a California state prison, Ernest Graham and Eugene Allen were charged with killing a correctional officer. Graham's first trial resulted in a mistrial because the jury could not reach a verdict. After his second trial in 1976, Graham was sentenced to death, but the California Supreme Court reversed the conviction because prosecutors improperly excluded potential African American jurors. Graham and Allen "belonged to the group whose members the district attorney had excluded whereas the alleged victim was a member of the group to which [all] of the remaining jurors belong" (People v. Allen, 590 P.2d 30, 34 (Cal.1979). Graham's third trial ended in another hung jury, and he was acquitted in his fourth trial. The poster shows how the term "prisoners of war" has been used to critique racism in the prison system and society as a whole, terming prisons a form of war on people of color.