“Nobody in the world, nobody in history, has ever gotten their freedom by appealing to the moral sense of the people who were oppressing them.” -Assata Shakur
Assata Shakur (aka JoAnne Chesimard) escaped from prison on November 2, in the year 1979. The fbi has offered a $2 million award for the whereabouts of Assata. rbi and New Jersey police officials revealed the million-dollar bounty on May 2 of this year, the thirty-second anniversary of the New Jersey Turnpike shootout in which State Trooper Werner Foerster and Black Panther Zayd Shakur were killed. Sundiata Acoli and Assata Shakur were arrested for the murders. She stayed in the hospital a while, where she was tortured and tormented by fbi agents on a daily basis.
After being acquitted of 3 charges and dismissed of another 3 she now resides in Cuba where she is a in political asylum. The fbi has classified her as a “domestic terrorist” and she is the first woman to be placed on the fbi most wanted list.
In her book, she often mentioned that when she met other women in prison they would wonder why anyone would think she was a threat. Clearly political prisoners are more of a threat than murderers in amerikkka which is sad. Who would think that a person wanting better for her community and race would be placed on a fbi most wanted list?
Something that stood out in her story was her constant struggle growing up. She, like the author and poet Maya Angelou, ran away from home at a young age. Her struggle began early, she met so many people who spoke truth to her and made her realize what her purpose was.
One of the things she mentioned that was very striking and relatable to myself, was that she felt as though she didn’t know enough as far as knowledge of the struggle. This she proclaimed as one of her weaknesses and I profess the same. I often feel like this, therefore I attempt to stay up with current events that face Blacks in amerikkka.
I mentioned in a previous blog that she is looked at as a threat to amerikkka. However, if anyone has read her autobiography “Assata”, which is now being sold at Barnes and Noble, then one would then see that amerikkka justice system and law enforcement are the true threats. There was no way possible that Assata could have shot the officer because throughout the entire ordeal her arm was paralyzed and she couldn’t move it. The government and law enforcement are quick to call us thieves and bandits but they are the ones who stole millions of Afrikans from their native land. They are the ones that performed a Native American Holocaust. We are not the ones that invade every country for control of the entire world.
COINTELPRO was a fbi counterintelligence program that targeted Blacks during the times of the Black Liberation Army and other activisms. They murdered and arrested so many of our leaders who were only attempting to make a better life for our future. It’s a shame that in Oakland California, the same place the Black Panthers were founded, had become of gang war area.
Assata expressed how badly she was treated in the hospital and in the courtroom by the law enforcement who are supposedly put here to protect us, yet they hurt us. “We are created by our conditions. Shaped by our oppression”, she said. That is powerful and true. Of course our people will steal, kill and destroy in order to make a better living situation for themselves. All the lacking of proper health care, food and money does nothing but perpetuate GREED. Greed that is entertained by european thoughts and images that the media promotes.
Her poetry is well written and simple enough to know how she felt during her trying times in prison. How much she missed her family. In her poetry she expresses constant expression of freedom and revolution.
The day she joined the Black Panther Party, the way she described the unorganized stuff made me wonder if they had been more organized would they have had more success? She spoke of the paperwork that was scattered across the room and how the brother just let her in, not knowing who she was. One thing that was very unfortunate was her thoughts of Huey P. Newtons speeches. I believe many of the Black Panthers at the time would have never admitted that he was a bad speaker but it showed that Assata was a genuine person.
Her fight is only one fight of many. We have so much work to do, so many things to change. First change within ourselves next from the government on down.
Who knew that it is a crime for a person to have their own beliefs? So many political prisoners are in jail today because of beliefs. Mumia Abu-Jamal and so many others suffer because of what they believe and their god given right to freedom.
So many other issues mentioned in her book, I would just encourage every Colored person who has dealt with some type of oppression read her book. It’s truth. It’s insightful. It’s a beautiful story that will open your eyes to every issue the Black community is facing and maybe your own.
“The only ones who can free us are ourselves.”