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First, if you haven’t heard of Assata, you should know Assata Shakur isn’t 2Pac’s mother. She actually isn’t related to 2pac, but she was really good friends with Zayd Shakur, 2Pac’s uncle. And when Zayd lost his life during their struggle for Black Liberation, Assata took Zayd’s surname “Shakur” as a respect to his memory, to his struggles. Assata is although referred to as 2pac’s godmother. 2Pac’s mother is Afeni Shakur and she was also part of the Black Liberation Army with Assata Shakur.
Assata Shakur was born JoAnne Deborah Byron, in 1947, in Jamaica. She was actively involved in black revolutionary movement in the 60’s.
In her autobiography, she spanned through her life from childhood to adulthood, her involvement in Black Liberation Movements including the Black Panther Party and Black Liberation Army, her suffocating entaglement in the U.S forces, her years and cruel experiences while she was captured and imprisoned (different prisons), till she landed in Cuba as a political refugee.
In her autobiography, Assata left some details vague including how she landed in Cuba but I understand that is for her safety and many others as she is still a fugitive .
This is a beautiful book by a beautiful, powerful woman. Her words and story made me shudder so much I had to take several breaks to really breathe, to really ponder and think. Learn more about Assata Shakur here
Here are 3 reasons of many more reasons I think you should read this.
1. Know Your History. Know Your Heroes. Know your True History, your true Heroes.
‘Nobody is going to give you the education you need to overthrow them. Nobody is going to teach you your true history, teach you your true heroes if they know the knowledge will set you free.’— Assata Shakur
Assata explained how history over the years had been distorted to the extent that she searched and searched books and books didn’t reveal Nat Turner existed.
How we’ve been made to think that Abraham Lincoln loves us so much, he fought the civil war to defend the Blacks. I was made to know that many things we know about Black History is only what our oppressors want us to know.
Assata said in her book that when she started studying the true history of Black was when she realized that Slaves actually fought to be free, unlike the way she had been taught in classrooms that it was only The Whites who fought against slavery.
Our history is important, our true history and from reading Assata’s Autobiography, You will realise history needs to be learnt and relearnt and sometimes the history you think you know may need to be unlearn.
2. Be A Change in the World.
As an African who haven’t left Africa, I have no personal experience of black oppression and racism, we basically are all Blacks here . But as a young adult, I know how it feels to be opressed by the standards society have set, to want a thinner lips and a larger hips and a prettier face and longer hair.
Assata is a revolutionary, I admire her greatly and even if I can’t at the moment be on the streets of New York chanting Black lives matter, Assata has taught in her book the need to be part of a movement that liberates people.
Oppression is in several forms, from letting people walk on your back to watching people walk on other people’s backs without doing anything. You should be part of a movement that helps mankind to live a better life, a movement that corrects social ills. A movement isn’t necessary a group of politicians or militants or students protesting. A movement starts from your own self.
“Revolution is about change and the first place the change begins is in yourself.”
“The less you think about your oppression, the more your tolerance for it grows, after a while people just think oppression is a normal state of things. But to become free, you have to be acutely aware of being a slave.”
Assata’s Autobiography will encourage you to stand up for justice, for freedom, in little ways till it becomes an impact in the world.
“If you are deaf, dumb and blind to what’s happening in the world, then you are under no obligation to do anything. But if you know what’s happening in the world but you don’t do anything but sit your ass, then you are nothing but a punk.”
3. You are Worthy, Know That. You are Beautiful, Feel That.
“..If I’ve learnt anything at all
It’s that a wall is just a wall
and nothing more at all
It can be broken down.”
—Assata Shakur, Assata: An Autobiography.
This book was the May read for the online radical reading club becausewe’veread.
To get a copy of the book if you are not opportuned to get one, check the becausewe’veread website for details here.
You can also get it on Amazon.