August “Gerttown” Williams
Arrested at 15 years old and sentenced to die at age 16 in 1968 Jim Crow South, August Williams, also known as Gerttown, a name he was given while incarcerated because of the New Orleans community where he was born and raised, was convicted to death by an all white jury
and spent five years on death row of the largest, most notorious prison in this country and former enslaved plantation, Louisiana State Penitentiary or Angola State Prison. Known for its cruel and unusual punishment of men and Black men in particular, and, the unspeakable “Camp J”, Gerttown, a child by all accounts, had to literally fight to maintain his dignity, manhood, salvation, mental state, and innocence. In 1973, Mr. Williams was resentenced to life without parole as a result of the United States Supreme Court case, Furman v. Georgia, 408 U.S. 238 (1972), which struck down all death penalty schemes across the country. This instilled a sense of hope in Mr. Williams that there could be a possibility of him going home one day and reuniting with his family and community. So much so that he took his rehabilitation into his own hands and began taking educational classes, learning how to read and write (he only had a 5th grade education upon being incarcerated; having dropped out of school to help their mother with his sisters). Mr. Williams decided to take his rehabilitation even further, being baptized in 1998, earning over two dozen faith-based certifications and an Associates Degree from Amherst Theological Seminary in 2004. In 2007, he completed Tier Walker Training, which allowed him to assess and counsel other incarcerated men who were considering or had attempted suicide. He also served as a Nurse’s Aid in the healthcare unit and trained and mentored in physical fitness. He has received numerous accolades recognizing his outstanding contributions and achievements
to incarcerated men in Angola prison. Six times Mr. Williams applied for a pardon based on evidence (before they claimed it was lost)
and expert testimony provided by two medical doctors that he was innocent of all charges against him. And although the Pardon Board commuted his sentence each time, the Governor of the state of Louisiana refused to sign off on it. In 2017, Equality Justice Initiative represented Mr. Williams at his first parole hearing where he was finally granted parole after serving three months shy of fifty (50) years. He was 65 years old. Since his release, Mr. Williams currently serves as a BAR NONE Artist in Resident—led by homegrown New Orleanians, BAR NONE is a grassroots-minded, nonprofit organization offering people of Afrikan/African descent, who are currently and formerly incarcerated, seven elements of service: *therapeutic healing, *education, *entrepreneurship, *arts, *homes,
*community-driven justice, and *partnership— where he speaks locally and nationally about his case and his continued fight to be exonerated as he still contends, with 50 year old expert testimony to support his innocence; authoring 2 books about his life, prior to, and while incarcerated, a compilation book and documentary. To bring Gerttown to a community, college/university, facility, institution, etc., near you, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Please visit us at www.bar-none.net to stay up to date on Gerttown, sign the petition to support his exoneration and other BAR NONE community work.
Mac McKinley Phipps
In 2001, MAC was convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to serve 30 years in the shooting death of Barron Victor Jr. outside a Slidell nightclub on Feb. 20, 2000. MAC has always proclaimed that he was innocent and those that had initially gave testimony that assisted in his being convicted (his rap lyrics were also used in his trial and played a role), has since recanted their stories saying that they were coerced and threatened to give false statements to help get MAC convicted. We demand the immediate release of McKinley MAC Phipps due his innocence and the corruption that has led to him spending 18 years in prison away for his son, parents, siblings, other family members, and friends. MAC has gained a plethora of support since his wrongful incarceration, and he can use more so that the Governor of Louisiana will finally look at MACs case and release him.
Gloria Williams, Louisiana’s longest-serving incarcerated woman, is supposed to be free. Instead, she has Covid-19.
Gloria Williams has been imprisoned since she was in her 20’s. She’s now 74 years old. Over her long incarceration, she has become a mentor for the younger women at the Louisiana Correctional Institute for Women, where she is known as “Mama Glo.” The Louisiana Board of Pardons unanimously approved her clemency application in 2019. But her approved clemency application has been waiting for the Governor John Bel Edwards’ signature for nine months. Instead of being safe at home at long last with her family, she has been hospitalized with pneumonia from the effects of COVID-19.
Mama Glo should have been free a long time ago. She should not have had to face the coronavirus pandemic in prison. Tell John Bel Edwards to sign her clemency petition today.
Some of these words about Gloria Williams’ case have come from: