Autobiography by Assata Shakur Assata Shakur was born on July 14, 1947 her real name is Joanne Deborah Byron, after she was born her parent divorced. She was living with her mother, aunt and her grandparents in Wilmington North Carolina. As a child she spent time working with her grandparents in a restaurant they own by the beach. Her grandparents instilled in her the love for written word, and she spent a great deal reading to satisfy her imagination. Her family tried to infuse in her a sense of dignity, “you are as good as anyone else”, also not to let anyone said that they’re better than her.
Shakur never like her real name Joanne she felt that she was not an African American and she should go back to Africa, because of this she thought of a name that will mean something and that’s how she became Assata Shakur. Her school was segregated, but in her case the teachers took more of an interest because they lived in the same neighborhoods. Ay school dance no one would dance with her, a boy name Richard Kennedy who was in her class told her that “if you give me a dime , I will dance with you, which she didn’t do, and she was the only one not dancing.
After coming out of high school, she became involved with the Black Panther and thrown in the mix of black power and revolutionary Politics. After leaving the Black Panther, she became a leader for the Black Liberation Army. The beginning of the book talks about the events which lead to her being railroaded through the New York Federal Penal System. On May 2nd, 1973, Assata Shakur, Sundiata Acoli and Zayd Shakur were stopped on the New Jersey turnpike by two white Police Officers. After pulling over the side of the road, the three were order to get out of the car and order to stand with their hands in the air.
Zayd Shakur was killed and an exchange of bullets began in which one of the white officers was also killed, according to testimony from official experts, Shakur at the time held no gun and her hands were up in the air, as was ascertain from the wounds that she received. While laying in a hospital bed, near death and barely holding on to consciousness, several bullets having entered her body including one lodged in her clavicle which neurologists state was the reason why it was impossible for her to have been holding a gun, she was handcuffed to her bed and charged with the murders of both Zayd Shakur and the white officer killed at the scene.
The media campaign against her was competently crafted on the part of the government and its associates. She was portrayed in the media and posters were placed throughout the country (including Black communities where she was being heralded as a hero) that labeled her as “armed, dangerous, and of the criminal element”(adjectives similar to those used to describe Angela Davis by Richard Nixon). Indeed, she was caught in the hands of the white, racist government. Alas, to show how contrived this campaign against Shakur was, after her arrest she was tried six times on six different sets of charges and acquitted each time.
In 1977, before an all-white jury (this fact alone is enough to tell these people to go to h***), she was convicted of the murder of Zayd Shakur and the white police officer that was present at the scene. In the mid-80s, with the help of some wonderful people, she escaped and eventually emerged in Cuba. Here she declared, “I am a 20th Century escaped slave. ” Indeed, she is free, but she daily suffers from the separation from her family, her loved ones, and all that exile brings. t doesn’t matter how many letters Christy Todd Whitman writes to Fidel Castro or how money they place on her head, they never get their hands on Assata Shakur. This woman is one of the finest and most exemplary personifications of personal integrity and the wealth of human spirit that I have ever encountered. Her book was a wonderful experience for me. Not only is Shakur a humanitarian and an activist for the betterment of all humanity, she is a poetic soul, which she demonstrates in the book with the wonderful verses that she has composed over the years, their beauty, their integrity, their meaning.