“Look, I Got My Life Out of this Cat”

Paul Coates Remembers Eddie Conway

Paul and Eddie at the Real News office. Photo: Susie Day.

Eddie Conway ended up living almost 44 years inside Maryland’s maximum-security prisons. Through each of those years, Paul stuck by him. Because Eddie and the people inside needed books about the Black experience, Paul started a bookstore; he published pamphlets; he founded Black Classic Press. More than anything, Paul was Eddie’s “eyes and his ears” to the outside world. For decades, Paul visited Eddie in prison, often taking with him some of his seven kids, including Ta-Nehisi, who was to become a writer.

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Susie Day has written about prison issues since 1988, when she began reporting on the cases of people charged with political protest acts, one of them, Marilyn Buck. Her book, The Brother You Choose: Paul Coates and Eddie Conway Talk About Life, Politics, and The Revolution, was published by Haymarket Books in 2020.

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