Repertorium: Herman’s Library

Collection Title:

Herman’s Library

Identification/URL:

http://hermanshouse.org/, digital library: https://herman.memoryoftheworld.org

Creator:

Herman Wallace & Jackie Sumell

Abstract:

Herman’s Library contains books from the list composed by Herman Wallace and collected by Jackie Surnell, currently kept at the Akademie Schloss Solitude in Stuttgart.

For over 41 years Herman Wallace, a Black Panther activist, has spent in Solitary Confinement in Louisiana’s State Prison System. In 2003 artist Jackie Sumell asked Herman a question: “”What kind of house does a man who has lived in a 6′ X 9′ box for over 30 years dream of?”” The answer to this question has manifested a remarkable project called: The House that Herman Built. Although Heman passed away in 2013, the project has transitioned from building a virtual home to building Herman’s actual dream home in his birth city of New Orleans. Until that home is built its dream library remains housed in Stuttgart.

Public Library exhibits the library, its digital version and mail correspondence between Herman Wallace and Jean-Baptiste Joly.

Acquisition Information:

Herman’s Library was lent by the Akademie Schloss Solitude with the kind permission of Jackie Sumell.

Conditions Governing Access:

Access to physical library is restricted. Access to digital library is freely available online at https://herman.memoryoftheworld.org.

Biographical/Historical Information:

Born in Brooklyn in 1973, Jackie Sumell is inspired most by the lives of everyday people. As a multidisciplinary artist her work transcends the boundaries of art and activism in an attempt to connect people in provocative and meaningful ways. Her works and research deals with America’s history of institutionalized racism, and the culture of torture in the United States through an artistic interrogation of the practice of long-term solitary confinement.

Herman Wallace, born New Orleans in 1941, was convicted of armed robbery and sent to Angola prison in 1971. In 1971 he established the Angola Chapter of the Black Panther Party with Ronald Ailsworth, Albert Woodfox, and Gerald Bryant after receiving permission from the Panther central office in Oakland. After the murder of a a prison guard, with no physical evidence linking them to the scene of the crime, the Angola’s most visible organizers of justice, Herman Wallace, Albert Woodfox and Robert King — were convicted for the murder and put in solitary. In July 2013 Amnesty International called for the release of 71-year-old Herman Wallace, who had advanced liver cancer. He was released October 1, and died three days later, on October 4, 2013.

Subjects:

prisoner’s library, political resistence