Dr. Mutulu Shakur and Some History
In light of all of the talk of war, and the American state, it can be
guaranteed that the internal wars within the US will be ignored.
Even the antiwar Americans do not have much to say about the
historical foundation of the US state: genocide of Indigenous and
But to speak of the ongoing wars against the national minorities (a
United Nations term that abstractly defines us) in the USA is
The real social crime, however, is the forum that lets the ones
resisting explain. Freedom of speech is a cruel joke, you see, if you
are going to criticize America from a standpoint of denying that it
has sovereignty over your people. To do that in America will mean you
will be called a terrorist.
In fact, this writer types this from exile, as a banned person though
I was born in the US and I am sometimes called African American. I
will however present to you, the reader, the story of someone I am
confident appreciates being given a bullhorn to be heard.
Living, organizing for unity and extending his 57 year old hands to
end the youth killing themselves is Dr. Mutulu Shakur. Even though he
is constantly shuttled to and from one end of the continental US to
the other inside the Prison Nation, he will not stop. Long
ago, "youth activists" had been bought off to look the other way. Or
people simply made a career out of pretending the predicament is the
fault of the young women and men themselves.
Why is Dr. Mutulu Shakur doing this? And what is his fight?
First, his experience as a 1960s activist, in the throes of mid and
late 60's struggles, Dr. Shakur became aware of, and defended himself
and others from intense US military attacks. Written largely out of
the history of this period are the influential New York City Black
Panther Party for Self Defense chapter founders and daily staff such
as Zayd Malik Shakur and Lumumba Abdul Shakur. Dr. Shakur, Afeni
Shakur, and someone called Assata Shakur, also in the collectively
named extended family, were energetically providing teamwork to
address drug dependency, illiteracy, police attacks, malnutrition and
In Harlem and various sections and boroughs of America's largest
city, the free of charge Black Panther Party health and Free
Children's Breakfast Program drew the attack by the government.
Sickle Cell Anemia, a disease affecting many Black and Brown people
was dealt with with a mobile van in some cities. Out of the houses
and even the hospitals came the people seeking compassionate medical
help. The foundation of the Nation of Islam's drug kicking program
was built upon and Dr. Shakur was a prominent official at Lincoln
Detox. Because the women and men were determined to defend these
grassroots efforts to be self sufficient, the state began a furious
rush to destroy the Black Panther Party, the Brown Berets, Young
Lords and other organizations national and local.
It must be said that in the year that Martin Luther King was
assassinated in Memphis Tennessee, 1968, the US government schools
did not have a breakfast program for impoverished youth. Instead,
nationwide, whether through direct military raids (and often after
spreading degrading and discrediting information) the White House
stopped sympathetic churches, commercial food outlets and social
figures from supporting the Free Breakfast Program begun by the Black
As the US government systematically began jailing, killing and
imprisoning (also forcing some persons into exile) the Black Panther
Party, the Republic of New Afrika and various formations, it also
presented a free breakfast program-after the example of the Black
Panther Party for Self Defense. Its informants into the Black Panther
Party even appeared `in uniform' before a US investigative committee
to denounce the Party as armed robbers and extortioners. The full
monolith of persecution hit the young (few were over age 35) and the
communications medium of corporate/government television and print
media added to the racist portrayal of the Black Panther Party.
Although this was a global discrediting thrust, the Black Panther
Party support system reached as far as Havana, Cuba, Copenhagen,
Denmark and Algiers, Algeria. After two years, (1969-1971) though,
the NYC police and the FBI COINTELPRO (counterintelligence by US
federal police) had failed in a massive roundup of Panthers and a
fusillade of criminal charges: the Panther 21 were acquitted of 156
counts of attempts to destroy property including food stores.
Hundreds of the young people who had answered a call to freedom arms,
took a stand to stop police terror and American sanctioned poverty
were killed and imprisoned. By the mid seventies' the Party had been
marginalized. But the new forms of underground armed wings such as
the Black Liberation Army formed and fought on-the US government had
never stopped waging war. The public may have been oblivious, but Dr.
Mutulu Shakur and others battled on, trying to save communities
ravaged by drugs, and the underworld often supported by police. He
would one day be charged by the government with helping Assata Shakur
to reach the shores of Cuba.
Dr. Mutulu Shakur today is held in the prisons that now hold new
generations of youth trapped in a violent and drug infused world that
is US society. He was captured and sentenced to 6 decades in prison
in 1986. 21 of his 57 years have been behind iron bars. Other former
New York City Black Panther chapter members have faced different
fates after the government fractured and shattered an important part
of the Black Movement for Justice.
Abdul Majid is in US prisons since the early 1980s. He is 58.
Zayd Malik Shakur was shot to death by New Jersey state police in
1973. He was in his thirties. He was a legendary defender of the
early Black Panther Party chapter in New York City.
Assata Shakur is in exile in Cuba and is accepted as a seeker of
political asylum. She fled after 6 years in America's prisons and
then lived underground in the US. The former Black Panther Party
member is 60 this year.
Sundiata Acoli one of the longest held political prisoners in the US
at 70 years old (35 years not including earlier imprisonment). The
former computer professional joined the New York City Party chapter
in its initial stages.
Dhoruba bin Wahad is 63. He was one of the Panther 21 and following
this was targeted by the FBI and sentenced to 25 years to life in
1973 and was released in 1990 when the government's case (FBI
COINTELPRO frame-up) fell apart. He is based in Ghana, West Africa.
Afeni Shakur, the mother of the murdered hip hop great Tupac Amaru
Shakur (1971-1996), is 60 this year and had been a key defendant with
professional legal abilities in the Panther 21 case.
Lumumba Abdul Shakur was murdered at the time of Dr. Mutulu Shakur's
intensified FBI targeting, in 1985. He was in his forties and had
stood firm in the first days as a founder of the NYC Party chapter.
He figured prominently in fighting off charges in the Panther 21 case
and was at one time the husband of Afeni Shakur.
Dr. Mutulu Shakur strives on with his legal cases and has a parole
hearing in June 2007.
For more information on support for Dr. Mutulu Shakur see
18 May 2007