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Assata Shakur
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4.47  ·  Rating Details ·  9,406 Ratings  ·  518 Reviews
This presents the life story of African American revolutionary Shakur, previously known as JoAnne Chesimard.
Published (first published 1987)
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Jun 09, 2013 Rowena rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a brilliant autobiography about an amazing and resilient woman. I’ve heard Assata Shakur’s name several times over the years but I knew next to nothing about her. It was only when earlier on this year her name resurfaced when she became the only woman on the FBI’s most wanted list that I decided to read the book to learn what all the brouhaha was about.

This is one of the most riveting books I have ever read. I experienced so many emotions when reading this book. For the first part of th
i believe in living.
By Assata Shakur

i believe in living.
i believe in the spectrum
of Beta days and Gamma people.
i believe in sunshine.
In windmills and waterfalls,
tricycles and rocking chairs;
And i believe that seeds grow into sprouts.
And sprouts grow into trees.
i believe in the magic of the hands.
And in the wisdom of the eyes.
i believe in rain and tears.
And in the blood of infinity.

i believe in life.
And i have seen the death parade
march through the torso of the earth,
sculpting mud bodies in its p
The issue with deriving the majority of knowledge I deem of worth from Tumblr is the all too often reactionary invalidation coupled with my intake. While I acknowledge that all my development via moral, academic, and raison d'être channels can be invariable traced back to some post or another, and that the only thing of value I've wrested from a college education thus far was a voracious appetite for establishing my own systems of academic credibility, my gut reaction is still pull apart the Int ...more
Sep 18, 2011 Calvin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
on how slavery is legal in the u.s. p.64-5
The Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution says:
Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.

Well, that explained a lot of things. That explained why jails and prisons all over the country are filled to the brim with Black and Third World people, why so many Black people can't find a job on
Assata Shakur's conviction in a joke of a trial for a murder she clearly did not commit has not been reversed. She escaped from prison and she lives in Cuba, still a fugitive. The story of how the hell this outrage came about and above all persists is necessary because it outlines so lucidly how the white supremacist capitalist state actively opposes the struggles for liberation and justice and simply peaceful survival of African American people at all costs, whatever politicians say.

Aside from
Nov 29, 2008 Ciara rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: feminists, black panther historians, people who want a good memoir
i don't think i really need to explain that this book is awesome. it is the autobiography of assata shakur, who was in the black panther party & eventually arrested, charged with murder. she made a baby with a fellow defendant during the trial & gave birth while shackled to a gurney. some comrades busted her out of prison & she escaped to cuba, where she lives to this day. this book covers her childhood, growing up female & black, becoming aware of racism & sexism, & the ...more
This book turned into a dnf for me. I wanted to love this book soooooo bad. I pushed myself as far as I could to read until the end however, I just couldn't. While I respect Assata and all that she did for the African-American race, I was unimpressed by her memoir.

When it comes to memoirs or books based on individuals coming of age, I like to read these books to figure out what the protagonist or subject of the book learned from everything that happened to him/her. For the majority of Assata's s
I was just thinking about this book, and I realized that it opened my eyes to much of the daily injustices that millions suffer from in my country. Looking back, because I read this right after moving to Baltimore and before the uprising , it contextualized the violence and anger that exploded in my adopted city. I'm eternally grateful to Assata Shakur and her challenging autobiography. (Also, I've definitely grown as a writer since this review...) – 5/25/16
I bought this book months
This is the compelling autobiography of one of America's great modern New Afrikan revolutionary women. It's engaging, and generally well written, although there are a few parts where the narrative stumbles due to gaps--but the author is a wanted woman and she has plenty of secrets to keep.

The chapters alternate, with the even chapters telling the story of Assata's youth and maturation, and the rest documenting her later life, beginning with the story of that infamous NJ Turnpike shootout.

Even t
How did she survive? She spent YEARS in solitary confinement, housed in conditions that were legally judged to be cruel and inhumane. Repeatedly indicted for felonies she was not guilty of, accusations that were ridiculous. Something like 6 times (before she was found guilty in a kangaroo kourt) she had been acquitted, and had cases thrown out - because the fake story they cooked up was too stupid for any jury to fall for - even the racist, all white ones. But with those small “victories” went p ...more
Paul Gordon
Jan 06, 2008 Paul Gordon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is both a wonderful read, and extremely thought-provoking. Although it deals with the Black Power movement in the 1970s and 1980s, it is painfully relevant to current debates over government control such as the Patriot Act. Assata Shakur was wrongfully imprisoned as part of the FBI and US government attacks on the political organizations of people of color. She offers in this book a scathing indictment of the prison system (a system which has only grown worse and more powerful), and of ...more
Jan 08, 2012 Shanae rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am compelled to review this autobiography so harshly that I am afraid I might make unfounded assertions about this memoir that may be completely false, but these are all my opinions. I was thoroughly unimpressed with the autobiography and came to the conclusion that I do not know why it was written - seriously. I do not know what Shakur's contribution to the Black Panther Party (BPP) was nor do I fully understand her contribution to the Black Liberation Army. She was an absentee mother, I do n ...more
Quickly moved from the middle to the top of my to-read list with the surprising and disturbing addition of her name to the FBI’s “Most-Wanted Terrorists” list earlier this month. The short version of her story is that she was a former Black Panther and BLA member, convicted of murdering a New Jersey state trooper under highly dubious circumstances. She was eventually broken out of prison and, later, fled to Cuba, where she was granted asylum and continues to live today. The long version is descr ...more
This was an incredible biography about a black lady who was part of the 60s/70s panther movement in America. She is currently the only women to be on the FBIs most wanted list. She’s the God mother of Tupac Shakur. Her world took a turn for the worse when she and some of her “revolutionary” friends were travelling in a car through a New Jersey turnpike when they were pulled over for a very minor car related violation. Within minutes some of her colleagues were dead, as was one of the cops and As ...more
Jan 03, 2014 Vicky rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Vicky by: Jackie pushed this up my priority list
In my head I have reversed the order of the last two sentences of Assata's autobiography so that it reads: "The cowboys and bandits didn't own the world. There was no doubt about it, our people would one day be free."

I can't believe I read this over a period of 4 months. I just finished it tonight, and I attended a book club discussion for it last month when I was only around chapter 10 or so. The best thing about this story is how Assata inspires a feeling of you being able to participate in t
Dec 11, 2012 Bryan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is perhaps so far the greatest book I've read in a long, long time. Her writing style is so subtle and nonchalant, yet so suburb. You can tell that she has a great personality, filled with intense emotions. Her words can make my heart cringe with sadness, rage with anger, or shake with laughter. Along with her general writing, it's also her poetry that lights up the darkness inside.

"Rhinocerous woman
who nobody wants
and everybody used.
They say you're crazy
cause you not crazy enough
to kneel
Jan 05, 2016 Shakeia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thanks to not having a single thing to do at the office, I was able to sit and read this in just a few hours. Assata's strength is shown in the very beginning of the book when she details the way she was treated during and after her arrest by New Jersey state troopers. Her childhood was an interesting one, and like many of us, she came of age during her college years.

She mentions how Black people are taught to hate Black features such as "nappy hair" and wide noses and how, as kids, they used t
Mar 09, 2016 Lulu rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love Assata's spirit and mind. This was a wonderful read. I would love to have a conversation with her over dinner.
Tiffany Tucker
Jul 13, 2015 Tiffany Tucker rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So hard to rate...more here later
Lumumba Shakur
This is the autobiography of one of the most influential women in the Black Power Movement. Though Elaine Cleaver and Angela Davis are famous due to their outspoken natures and media attention they were able to garner as feminine spokespersons of the movement, Assata Shakur was a grassroots leader in New York who stayed out of the limelight - until the FBI attempted to portray the Black Panther Party as a criminal organization and the emergence of the Black Liberation Army. Being an active membe ...more
There was some really intense and triggering stuff in this book, and I had a couple of anxiety attacks over it during the week I was reading it (I'd recommend skipping chapter six entirely). However, it's still a very important work and one of the best books I've read this year. I'd been wanting to learn more about Assata Shakur for a while, and this was a good place to do so. The back-and-forth chronology she uses in her chapters is really interesting, because it lets the reader get a deeper un ...more
Mar 26, 2012 Alysia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was an eye opener for me. I had no idea who Assata Shakur was before this book. I have heard about Angela Davis and other members of the Black Panther Party as well as the parties contributions to the communities they organized. But this was my first time hearing of her and I am so glad I read this book.
In the beginning of this book it took me a few minutes to get used to her writing style. Lower case "i" and lower cases for names and places she would never give the honor of upper cas
Oct 25, 2011 B-MO rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: police, activists
Shelves: political-stuff
An amazing woman with true morals, courage, intelligence, endurance, and great writing skills. The horror's she went through would have broke most. She was able to keep her head up, and STILL keeps her head up from CUBA where she lives free today after being broke out of prison by the Black Liberation Army.

Assata really allows you in her mind as she faces decisions; showing perspective. One great example of this is the scene where she decides to get pregnant even though she knows the chances ar
Chuck Kinsey
Jul 03, 2013 Chuck Kinsey rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Since I am only slightly younger than Ms Shakur, I have lived through the periods of which she writes. My personal experiences, being white and suburban, were quite different. However, I can attest from first-hand experience and observation that the treatment she describes is not likely an exaggeration.

While I don't share her conclusions, I certainly empathize with her.

What I find remarkable is that white radicals of the '60s have been either forgiven or their deeds officially forgotten by the
Sara Salem
Dec 20, 2014 Sara Salem rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the most honest and touching autobiographies I have read. You can't help but love Assata and the way she easily talks about how she feels and what she went through. Again it's shocking what the Black Liberation Army and Black Panthers went through, a history that a lot of Americans don't even seem to be aware of. The Communists and the Black Panthers, probably the two biggest threats the U.S. faced last century judging from the way they were brutally decimated.
Maya B
Great read.this was one of the books that I wanted to read and kept putting it off for years. I loved how Assata spoke of her personal life and makes the reader understand why she feels the way she does about humanity. the struggles that she speaks of 20 years ago is so relevant right now and it's very sad that after all these years we have not made much progress as a society. this book left me speechless.
May 27, 2015 Melodie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Must read for any revolutionary. Very down-to-earth, very honest, very informative. All the things I ever look for in a book. Should be on everyone's top 10. Loved it! Learned so much!
Sepehr Razavi
Mar 14, 2016 Sepehr Razavi rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Nobody in the world,nobody in history, has ever gotten their freedom by appealing to the moral sense of the people oppressing them." p. 139
Nov 23, 2016 Lucrezia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
Solitamente i libri che devo leggere per l'università o per la scuola non mi piacciono mai e di solito è una reazione al fatto che sono obbligata a leggerli.
Invece, questo libro mi è davvero piaciuto. Non leggo quasi mai le autobiografie, ma per la mia tesi è stato necessario immergermi nella vita di alcune donne di colore, tra le quali Assata Shakur.
La sua autobiografia è qualcosa di estremamente sconvolgente. Come quella di Angela Davis, che non ho ancora recensito, ma lo farò, anche questa sa
Back when Barack Obama was running for President in 2008, a controversy erupted over remarks his pastor Jeremiah Wright made that were deeply critical of America. This led then Senator Obama to give one of the most remarkable speeches I've ever heard a presidential candidate give. I kept thinking about that speech as I read this book. After acknowledging the real sources of pain and anger Wright felt, Senator Obama said this:

"they [Wright's comments] expressed a profoundly distorted view of thi
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Assata Olugbala Shakur (born JoAnne Deborah Byron, married name Chesimard) is an Black civil rights activist who was a member of the Black Panther Party (BPP) and Black Liberation Army (BLA).

Between 1971 and 1973, Shakur was accused of several crimes, none of which had sufficient evidence to back them. However, knowing that she would not be able to prove her innocence, she escaped prison and fled
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“People get used to anything. The less you think about your oppression, the more your tolerance for it grows. After a while, people just think oppression is the normal state of things. But to become free, you have to be acutely aware of being a slave.” 183 likes
“It is our duty to fight for our freedom.
It is our duty to win.
We must love each other and support each other.
We have nothing to lose but our chains.”
More quotes…