Messin’ With Major
Messing With Major
by Mumia Abu-Jamal
His name is Major — (his real name)–Major Tillery of West Philadelphia. Although he had a reputation as a gangster, in prison such things matter little. It’s as a jailhouse lawyer that he shook the prison walls in the case known as Tillery v. Owens, a ground-breaking prison conditions case where double-dealing (or the placement of four men in a cell) was declared unconstitutional. The prison medical department was declared unconstitutional and living conditions in part of the prison were declared a violation of the constitution.
Shortly after his glorious win, Major Tillery was sent to a prison in another state. Retaliation? Sure looks like it.
Several months ago, Major saw me in the library, and expressed shock at my appearance, my carriage, and my level of wakefulness. He argued with me, insisting I go to the prison infirmary.
I resisted, saying I was ok, or would be in a few days. Major said, “Dude – I’m looking at you – your skin is shedding; you are so tired you can’t stay awake. You ain’t cool, Mu!”
He went further. He walked up to the prison superintendent, warning him that if Jamal wasn’t hospitalized immediately, he might die. The warden responded, “I suggest you worry less about another prisoner, and more about yourself.” Major responded immediately: “That’s what I’m doing, cuz that’s my brother – and I want for my brother what I want for myself!”
From that day forward, Tillery was hit by daily harassments, daily shakedowns, and he was removed from his job of Peer Facilitator. He was transferred – first to the other side of the prison, and soon thereafter, to nearby SCI- Frackville. Once there, he got another surprise: he received a misconduct for drug-trafficking (of suboxone), using stamps. He was given 6 months in the hole! Here’s the only problem with such a charge. At Frackville (as in Mahanoy), all stamps are ripped off of envelopes by the mailroom before prisoners receive their mail. Tillery demanded he be charged by the State Police to prove the falsity of the charge. The prison refused to do so. Retaliation? Sure looks like it.
To make matters worse, Major Tillery, and dozens of other men, are also suffering from skin rashes and getting little relief. Major is in the hole not because of drugs, but because of something prison administrators hate and fear above all things: prisoner unity; prisoner solidarity.
On Sept. 5, 2015, Tillery will turn 65 years old, in the hole for blatant retaliation.