About the Program

W.L. Nolen was one of the founders of the Black Liberation Movement in the California Prison System. Along with Comrade George Jackson, W.L. Nolen was instrumental in shaping and molding the exemplary model of undaunting resistance that many of us New Afrikans now find ourselves emulating today.

W.L. Nolen grew up in the hard-knock streets of Oakland, California, and was the younger brother to Cornell Nolen, who, like his big brother, was a phenomenal prison boxing champion. Many considered W.L. the next Marvin Hagler in the making, as the comrade was that good with his hands.

In the era of the 1960s and 1970s, the California Prison System was and remains mired in a cesspool of injustice fomented by a culture of institutional racism. Adding to this contradiction, was and is the multitude of Amerikkkanized offshoots (prisoners) who aided racist prison guards with terrorizing and attacking New Afrikan Black Prisoners – often gaining extremely favorable advantages, such as three or more racist lackeys (prisoners), given access to store-bought knives by prison guards, being let out on the tier for their recreational exercise period, where they would be allowed to attack the sole New Afrikan, also out on the tier for his recreational exercise time.

Comrades W.L. Nolen, George Jackson, William Christmas, Howard Tole, Alvin “Sweet Jugs” Miller, Khatari Gaulden, Cleveland Edwards and countless others not only successfully resisted these attacks militarily, but W.L. Nolen had the foresight to politicize these contradictions by filing a petition in the court, where the comrade asserted:

“Prison guards are complicit in fomenting racial strife by aiding white inmate confederates in ways not actionable in court, i.e., leaving cell doors open to endanger the lives of New Afrikans; placing fecal matter or broken glass in the food served to New Afrikans etc., as these material factors would be difficult to prove.” See W.L. Nolen, et. al. v. Cletus Fitzharris, et. al.

Four months later, on Jan. 13, 1970, Comrade W.L. Nolen was assassinated, shot at point-blank range by white racist prison guard Opie G. Miller. This murder was ruled a justifiable homicide, in spite of concrete evidence that the comrade was defending himself and his fellow New Afrikans from a staged racist attack on their lives, while on Soledad’s O-Wing exercise yard.

I urge the people to read The Melancholy History of Soledad Prison by Min Sun Yee and The Road To Hell by Paul Libertore in order to grasp the true historical origins of our legacy of resistance under the leadership of Comrade W.L. Nolen. CAN’T STOP! WON’T STOP!

The W.L. Nolen Mentorship Program has been constructed as a dedication towards carrying forward the legacy of Comrade W.L. Nolen.


Like George Jackson and his comrades, the mentors in the W.L. Nolen Mentorship Program have much to teach. Intellectually and politically astute, they can provide, in addition to their copious knowledge of culture and history, including what they’ve lived, they have developed uncommon self-discipline in order to withstand and resist the daily torture of solitary confinement.

W.L. Nolen Mentorship Program