It is of utmost importance that every person living in the United States understands Assata Shakur's story and how lucky we are that she, herself, wrote it out for us all to read. As a member of the Black Liberation Army, Shakur organized for a world where everyone could feel uplifted, safe, and respected. After being shot and brutally beaten by the police, left for dead on the side of the road, tortured in the hospital, and framed for murder even with medical evidence proving her innocence, Shakur was sentenced to spend her life in prison when she and her comrades managed to organize her prison break and safe arrival to Cuba as a political refugee. Her story is chilling and reads like a page-turner, depicting quite clearly the racist crackdown on Black organizers in the 60s and 70s. — Maya Bon
On May 2, 1973, Black Panther Assata Shakur (aka JoAnne Chesimard) lay in a hospital, close to death, handcuffed to her bed, while local, state, and federal police attempted to question her about the shootout on the New Jersey Turnpike that had claimed the life of a white state trooper. Long a target of J. Edgar Hoover's campaign to defame, infiltrate, and criminalize Black nationalist organizations and their leaders, Shakur was incarcerated for four years prior to her conviction on flimsy evidence in 1977 as an accomplice to murder.
This intensely personal and political autobiography belies the fearsome image of JoAnne Chesimard long projected by the media and the state. With wit and candor, Assata Shakur recounts the experiences that led her to a life of activism and portrays the strengths, weaknesses, and eventual demise of Black and White revolutionary groups at the hand of government officials. The result is a signal contribution to the literature about growing up Black in America that has already taken its place alongside The Autobiography of Malcolm X and the works of Maya Angelou.
Two years after her conviction, Assata Shakur escaped from prison. She was given political asylum by Cuba, where she now resides.
"A deftly written book . . . A spellbinding tale." —The New York Times Book Review
"A sober, restrained, but forceful recollection. . . . A must book for those interested in the 'revolutionaries' of the 1960s" —Choice
"A compelling tale of the impact of white racism on a sensitive and powerful young black woman." —Library Journal