One of the 'Angola 3' delivers message of hope to ex-convicts

Published: Oct. 21, 2017 at 8:28 PM CDT|Updated: Oct. 22, 2017 at 10:17 AM CDT
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SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - The man who spent 43 years in solitary confinement before his release from Angola State Penitentiary is telling his story to others.

We caught up with Albert Woodfox during his visit to northwest Louisiana on this Saturday afternoon, Oct. 21.

He became the third and final member of the 'Angola 3' to be released.

"If you remember nothing about me remember the strength of the human spirit," said Woodfox.

They were called the Angola 3 because they would each spend decades in solitary confinement after the stabbing death of 23-year-old prison guard Brent Miller in 1972. Their convictions came despite a lack of physical evidence linking them to the guard's murder.

"Brent Miller could come down from heaven and get on the witness stand and say, 'this man did not kill me. And they still would have found me guilty," Woodfox explained.

For Woodfox, it would take 43-years and a lot of media attention about the case before he was ultimately released almost two years ago after a plea deal on lesser charges.

Now, he spends at least some of his time speaking to groups like this one, called V.O.T.E. in Shreveport, which helps ex-convicts.

The executive director says Woodfox was a hero and leader to fellow prison inmates, like him, at Angola.

"He would send word out about books to read. He would say, 'hey you guys, know that you're in prison. Know that this is not a summer camp. He would keep us conscious," added Davis.

Now, when Woodfox speaks to groups, he delivers one strong message: Never give up.

That's something he learned after all those years in that small cell.

"It took a tremendous amount of strength and courage for me not to become insane," revealed Woodfox.

Woodfox said he'll keep spreading the message of hope to groups like this across the country as long as he can.

It was Amnesty International that called for Woodfox's release, making him the third and final member of the Angola 3 to be released from prison in February of 2016.

This story has been updated with the corrected name of Albert Woodfox.

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