Happy Birthday, Assata Shakur!

2 Posted by - January 3, 2018 - BLACK POWER, BLACK WOMEN


Assata Olugbala Shakur, also known as JoAnne Deborah Byron (married name Chesimard) is a activist and escaped U.S. citizen 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 and made the subject of a multi-state manhunt.

In May 1973, Shakur was involved in a shootout on the New Jersey Turnpike, during which New Jersey State Trooper, Werner Foerster, and BLA member, Zayd Malik Shakur, were killed. Shakur and Trooper James Harper were also wounded during the incident.

Between 1973 and 1977, Shakur was indicted in relation to six other alleged criminal incidents—charged with murder, attempted murder, armed robbery, bank robbery, and kidnapping—resulting in three acquittals and three dismissals. In 1977, she was convicted of the first-degree murder of Foerster and of seven other felonies related to the shootout.

In 2013, the FBI announced it had made Shakur the first woman on its list of most wanted terrorists. Shakur was incarcerated in several prisons in the 70s. She escaped from prison in 1979 and has been living in Cuba in political asylum since 1984. Since May 2, 2005, the FBI has classified her as a domestic terrorist and offered a $1 million reward for assistance in her capture. On May 2, 2013, the FBI added her to the Most Wanted Terrorist list and increased the reward for her capture to $2 million.

Shakur is the step-aunt of the deceased hip-hop icon, Tupac Shakur. Her life has been portrayed in literature, film, and song.

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