About the Author

Kevin Epps

Kevin Epps presents a selective snapshot of the untold Black experience at Alcatraz. Epps pushes through the fog of history and unearths shards of contemporary relevance to the black community serving time in Alcatraz. “The Black Rock” is a riveting, gut-wrenching read. Follow Epps as he uncovers the raw research on the Black prisoners within the confines of Alcatraz prison.

“The Black Rock: The Untold Story of the Black Experience on Alcatraz.” The Black Rock chronicles the role of African-Americans at Alcatraz, the first super-maximum-security prison, and examines the lives of a few African-American prisoners who were important figures in the history of “The Rock” from the 1930s to the 1960s. The book highlights the truth about the perseverance, sufferings, and resilience of the African-Americans who experienced Alcatraz during this time of racial prejudice and discrimination. Interviews with historians, archival footage, photographs, and re-enactments were used to present an entirely new perspective on the most feared prison of its time.

Epp’s long-time fascination with Alcatraz as a resident of Bayview Hunters Point led him to ask if there were any black prisoners there. Following the success of his critically acclaimed “Straight Out of Hunter’s Point” in 2002, Epps enlisted local historian John Templeton, and the quest to tell the stories of these oft-forgotten black prisoners was on.

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Chapters

THE BLACK ROCK: The Dark side of Alcatraz

Chapter 01

What crimes did they commit to be in Alcatraz, the worst prison in the world, and how were they treated? I wondered what did those unlucky souls do to get locked up in Alcatraz. I now had a different lens to look at and examine Alcatraz. I knew what it was like being caged up, degraded, because I have been incarcerated. Alcatraz was nothing to commemorate.

Chapter 02

During the era of Prohibition, Alcatraz became the prison for the most feared prisoners, Gangsters, and Mobsters, many of who had frequently escaped local and state prisons or bribed corrupt local officials.

Chapter 03

Who are the real public enemies?

Alcatraz and Al Capone are as linked in public imagination as identical twins although he only spent five years there. A case could be made that the prison was created for him in 1934.

Why Read It?

THE BLACK ROCK: The Dark side of Alcatraz

The book is a must read, it’s a human story of indignation, and fight for survival and desperation, that chronicles the inhumanity and mistreatment against blacks by the cruel American Injustice system.

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