assata.jpgThe idea of the Black Liberation Army emerged from unacceptable conditions in Black communities such as poverty, indecent housing, massive unemployment, poor medical care, and inferior education. Because Black people are not free or equal in this country. Because ninety percent of the men and women in this country’s prisons are Black and Third World. Because ten-year-old children are shot down in our streets. Because dope has saturated our communities, preying on the disillusionment and frustrations of our children. The concept of the BLA arose because of the political, social, and economic oppression of Black people in this country. And where there is oppression, there will be resistance. The BLA is part of that resistance movement. The Black Liberation Army stands for freedom and justice for all people. Assata: An Autobiography by Assata Shakur, Angela Davis

This Black activist’s memoir is like a freeze frame of the late 1960s and early 1970s. Though the polemical rhetoric is dated, the book is an otherwise compelling tale of the impact of white racism on a sensitive and powerful young black woman. Born Joanne Chesimard, she adopted an African name to confirm her commitment to black liberation, joined militant organizations, and was ultimately convicted of the murder of a New Jersey highway patrol officer in 1977. Her descriptions of life in prison and the vagaries of the court system are especially wrenching. Living now in Cuba as an escaped felon, she continues her utopian plea for revolution. Recommended for large libraries and specialists. Anthony O. Edmonds, Ball State Univ., Muncie, Ind.

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