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Book Club Discussions > July 2018: Assata: An Autobiography

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message 1: by Courtney (new)

Courtney (ratedcee) | 34 comments Mod
Happy July :)
Stepping into the second half of 2018, The Digital Book Club will be diving into our first autobiography as a group. This month's discussion will be led by Robbin :)

I look forward to a great discussion this month!


message 2: by Robbin (new)

Robbin (curlqueenreads) | 11 comments I just want to start by saying that I’m absolutely thrilled to be this months moderator and I’m even more excited that we’re reading Assata 😩🙌🏽 Almost a year ago my line sister made me start watching Hidden Colors and as a result I keep feeling this constant thirst for knowledge. To know the truth and the real and full history of our people. Through my quest for knowledge I made a list of books that I not only wanted to read but but felt like i NEEDED to read and Assata was one of the first books on the list. I’m eager to dive right in! As usual guys while reading if you come across any excerpts or quotes that you feel like really speak to you or are significant please feel free to share ☺️


message 3: by Hawa (new)

Hawa Jalloh (hawareads) | 10 comments Hey everyone! So I’m really enjoying this month’s read so far. I’m already in the middle of chapter 5 and I’m trying to pace myself because I don’t want to finish before the halfway mark of the month. I’m at work right now, so I’ll come back with specifics of how I feel about certain parts later. One of my favorite things about this book so far is how she goes back and forth between her childhood and the incidents that took place in her adult life. The references to her childhood make her come across as a lot more relatable than I expected.


message 4: by Courtney (new)

Courtney (ratedcee) | 34 comments Mod
Robbin - I think that's dope hearing about your inspiration behind suggesting this book. I had the same urge to gain more knowledge on our culture after reading about Malcolm X, who was just simply dope and amazing! So far I am really into this read! I love how she transitions from different moments in here life, not your typical autobiography template... I appreciate that haha

Hawa - Omg, I read your comment after I typed mine haha we appreciate the same things!

Chapter 2 was most interesting to me so far because it gave an instruction to who she is and how she became such a fearful and confident activist. I believe a lot of her childhood moments prepared her mentally to deal with racism and injustices in her adult life. A lot of what she said I could connect with because it still is present today.


message 5: by Naomie (new)

Naomie | 10 comments Hey everyone.

Decided to buy the e-version of the book and I was, to simply put it...CAPTIVATED by just the first few pages of the book.

Hawa - I feel the same way. I love a good background story. I like knowing the ins and outs of someone's life. No part is too small or less important. It all matters. Everything has roots. I also enjoy when movies have this time of story line, where the go back and forth. I believe it's called non-linear storytelling.

Angela gave a BOMB foreword and as black liberation activist herself, I thought that her introducing the book was marvelous. Angela is highly respected and I loved her insight.

Assata begins the book with the NJ incident and the allegations that she had one of the state troopers. I immediately thought of Assata has powerful. She was beaten and "pigs" as she calls them probably viewed as defenseless. Even as she is trying to recover in the hospital, they still wanted criminalize and taunt her, but she remained herself.

That nurse in the hospital was blessing and a sweetheart. I appreciated her kindness and the brutalization wasn't even happening to me!

"Anytime you need me or need anything from the nurses, just press this button," she said. "Don't be afraid to use it," she added, giving me a knowing look. I could have kissed her.

(pg 49)


message 6: by Naomie (new)

Naomie | 10 comments *type not time


message 7: by Liah (new)

Liah | 2 comments Hi everybody!!
So happy to be back and be able to read again! I'm a new mom and it's been so difficult getting some me time and some rest, lol.

I love this autobiography so far! I bought the ebook version as well. I'm not too far into it but I am really inspired by Assata's thirst for life and desire to live after being put through such inhumane experiences.

I loved the quote "And I believe that a lost ship, steered by tired, seasick sailors, can still be guided home to port"

I am amazed at her resilience and her positive outlook on life despite being brutalized and tortured by law enforcement. She was targeted and demonized by the federal government, the police, and the media, and still had faith that someday, things would be better with resilience and persistence to making change.


message 8: by Robbin (new)

Robbin (curlqueenreads) | 11 comments I purchased the eBook as well but I still plan to purchase a hardcopy. I can already tell from reading so far that this is definitely a book that I want to become a part of my permanent collection.

I really don't know how to describe reading Assata besides captivating. I feel like even in the forewords you're immediately drawn in to her world. I found myself very angry the more I continued to read. The greatest crime in America as a black women is loving yourself and your people. Reading about Assata's story only reconfirmed this for me.

I definitely agree with Hawa as well in regards to all the background information Assata provides us about her life. I feel like she's walking us through the oppression and struggles that made her into the strong black woman and black revolutionary that she was. I found it very interesting. I also think that her grandparents played a major role in her ability to always be herself even in situations when facing racism and discrimination. Assata states:

All of my family tried to instill in me a sense of personal dignity, but my grandmother and my grandfather were really fanatic about it. Over and over they would tell me, "You're as good as anyone else. Don't let anybody tell you that they're better than you." My grandparents strictly forbade me to say "yes ma'am" and "yes sir" or to look down at my shoes or to make subservient gestures when talking to white people. "You look them in the eye when you talk to them," I was told. "And speak in a loud, clear voice and to hold my head up high, or risk having my grandparents knock it off my shoulders.

I remember her even telling the prison guard I was taught not to respect anyone who hasn't earned it or doesn't respect me. I LIVED for her and her witty comebacks! Haha Even in the worse situations she was herself and I loved that. I'm definitely excited to continue reading more!

There are literally a million quotes I've highlighted so far but I'll only post a few:

"Once again, the manipulation of facts by the media became a substitute for reality- none of the acquittals or dismissals was publicized."

"Black Revolutionaries do not drop from the moon. We are created by our conditions. Shaped by our oppression. We are being manufactured in droves in the ghetto streets, places like attica, san quentin, bedford hills, leavenworth, and sing sing."

"Prisons are a profitable business. They are a way of legally perpetuating slavery. In every state, more and more prisons are being built and even more are on the drawing board. Who are they for? They certainly aren't planning to put white people in them. Prisons are part of this government's genocidal war against Black and Third World people."


message 9: by Courtney (new)

Courtney (ratedcee) | 34 comments Mod
Liah --- Happy Motherhood <3 So happy for you!
That was such a great quote! A reminder to never give up even in the most trying moments of life.

Naomi --- I was so relieved when she described moments of subtle help either in prison or the hospital like it was a live play in front of me lol Such a relief because of the severity of her injuries and how disrespectful others were towards her.


Robbin --- Yessss! " The greatest crime in America as a black women is loving yourself and your people." It makes me think of the famous Malcom X quote, "The most disrespected woman in America, is the black woman. The most un-protected person in America is the black woman. The most neglected person in America, is the black woman." I think the ideal to teach our children that we can be whatever we dream to be in America has grown to be one of the most important lessons in our life because that is where our self dignity, self respect and confidence stem from.

And yes, those comebacks were always shocking and inspiring at the same time.. it was like she had no ounce of fear or regret in her and willing to stand for her personal rights... so inspiring!
Actually, I don't remember if she even cried or described a moment where she broke down emotionally, which is powerful because while I've never been to jail, I can only imagine what it does to you on an emotional level.


message 10: by Courtney (new)

Courtney (ratedcee) | 34 comments Mod
Any life lessons you all are getting from moments in her life that can be applied to any circumstances you've faced?


message 11: by Reven (new)

Reven | 9 comments Courtney,

The life lesson that stood out for me was the time when she ran away from her mother at the age of 13, lied about her age and got a job at a local bar. Although she met plenty of ppl that looked after her, she was almost gang raped by boys she met at a party. She was only at the party because she was invited by people she thought were her friends, who actually ended up leaving her stranded at the party. The way she got out of the situation was very courageous and smart. This shows how easily we can put ourselves in bad situations by trusting the wrong ppl. Her story also highlights the fact that many men and young boys thought this type of activity was fun, which is a devastating reality.


message 12: by Reven (new)

Reven | 9 comments Assata symbolizes everything that is Black Resistance to me, just as Harriet Tubman symbolizes the same for her.
I admire her courage the most and I am proud to say she is one of my heroes


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