By Assata Shakur,

Book cover of Assata: An Autobiography

Book description

On May 2, 1973, Black Panther Assata Shakur (aka JoAnne Chesimard) lay in a hospital, close to death, handcuffed to her bed, while local, state, and federal police attempted to question her about the shootout on the New Jersey Turnpike that had claimed the life of a white state trooper.…

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Why read it?

2 authors picked Assata as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

You can’t truly know what activism, social revolution, and political freedom mean until you’ve read this book. Assata Shakur is a Black revolutionary woman who barely escaped U.S. police corruption, systemic racism, and state oppression, in order to find political asylum in Cuba. To know her story is to acknowledge how White supremacy and anti-Black oppression play out in the lives of Black Americans.

Reading this book as a teenager changed my life. If you’ve ever been to a Black Lives Matter protest and heard the chant, “It is our duty to fight for our freedom. It is our duty to win. We must love each other and support each other. We have nothing to lose but our chains,” then Assata has changed your life too. The fact that her poem has been made into a protest chant demonstrates her continuing impact on movements. This book movingly combines the personal and political. It’s a story of one woman’s radicalization, the brutal state violence she…

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