I shot this portrait of Ray Luc Levasseur, immediately prior to his speaking event at local independent radical bookstore Burning Books in Buffalo, NY on 10 September 2014. Ray Luc Levasseur is a Vietnam Veteran who then became a member of the revolutionary United Freedom Front during some of the most turbulent years in US history.

***Ray Luc DSC_0044Excerpted from Wikipedia: From 1975 to 1984 the UFF [United Freedom Front] carried out several robberies as well as bombings targeted at corporations and institutions supporting the South African apartheid regime and US foreign policy in Central America.

Levasseur was arrested on November 3, 1984.

Levasseur and six of his comrades [1] were eventually convicted of conspiracy in 1986 and sentenced to long terms. In 1987 Levasseur and all seven members of the UFF were charged with seditious conspiracy and violations of the RICO act.

After the conspiracy charge in 1986, Levasseur was sentenced to 45 years in prison, and was sent immediately to Control Unit of the supermax prison, USP Marion. While there, he refused to work for the prison labor corporation UNICOR, producing weapons for the U.S. Department of Defense.

Levasseur was released from prison on parole in November 2004 having served nearly half of his 45 year sentence.

[1] Personal Note: Richard Charles Williams, a member of the United Freedom Front, died while in prison in December 2005. In the early 2000’s I had the pleasure of meeting his son who was a freshman at the University of Vermont. After his graduation there, he moved to the Vermont countryside. I consider him to be a friend.

This was the second of a series of candid portraits I will continue to take of radical movement figures in collaboration with Burning Books.  The point of this endeavor is to document some of the people who have participated in the making of history in the ongoing struggle for freedom and justice – a history of victories, losses, mistakes and successes, that we can and should learn from.

I took the first of these series of portraits of Bill Ayers, former Weathermen and Weather Underground founder, prior to his event at Burning Books, on 21 May 2014.