Forty years ago today, the murder of a New Jersey State Trooper led to the imprisonment and conviction of Assata Shakur.
Assata was set free from Clinton Correctional Facility for Women in 1979, and lives in exile in Cuba.
To commemorate this “anniversary,” the FBI will announce today that Assata Shakur has been added to the Most Wanted Terrorist List; and that reward for her capture has doubled, from $1 million to $2 million.
In an article for the Grio, James Braxton Peterson discusses the circumstances surrounding Shakur’s imprisonment, and why so many of us still call for her exoneration.
Assata refers to herself as “a 20th century escaped slave” and her experiences with the criminal justice system and the verve with which the U.S. government prosecuted and persecuted her suggest that this reference is not exaggerated in the slightest.
She has occasionally given interviews and or written from somewhere inside of Cuba, but it is unlikely that our government will ever be able to come to terms with its own role in the violent racial conflicts of its immediate past, and thus unlikely that Assata will ever be able to live freely in her country of origin – these United States.
Assata’s status, the government’s case against, her and the moment out which all of this emerged, are signal reminders to many of us that not so long ago, members of the Black Panther Party were considered the greatest threat to the United States government; that revolutionary activists like Assata Shakur, were considered this nation’s most feared terrorists.
We can only hope that as the fight against terror creeps through the beginnings of a new century, that this nation will fight to uphold the tenets of justice above and beyond its xenophobic and racialized history.
Thoughts on the FBI’s actions today?
Thoughts on the life and legacy of Assata Shakur?
Sound off below!