Black Liberation Army (BLA) member and freedom fighter Dr. Mutulu Shakur joined the ranks of our African martyrs at 72 years old. His death has been attributed to bone marrow cancer.
Mutulu’s passing comes after finally being granted parole in November 2022 because of his declining health after having served 36 years in prison as a political prisoner of war. He was denied parole nine times before, and it wasn’t until he was diagnosed with bone marrow cancer and given six months to live that he was allowed release.
The judge who sentenced him over 30 years ago rejected his request for compassionate release in 2020. Mutulu was told he could reapply at “the point of approaching death.”
Comrade Mutulu was a relentless fighter for African Liberation who never repudiated our anti-colonial struggle for freedom. He was born in Baltimore, Maryland, and raised in New York City. As a teenager, he came into political life as part of the Revolutionary Action Movement (RAM). He subsequently joined the Republic of New Afrika and then the BLA.
Comrade Mutulu was a licensed acupuncturist and organized against the heroin epidemic placed upon our community as part of the counterinsurgency war waged during the African Revolution of the 1960s by the U.S. government. His organizing is chronicled in the documentary Dope is Death. Comrade Mutulu was the husband of Afeni Shakur and stepfather to rapper Tupac Shakur.
Mutulu’s arrest in 1981 for his alleged participation in a Brinks armored truck heist, and his involvement with his sister, Assata Shakur’s escape from prison in 1979, was part of an imprisonment sweep of African freedom fighters in the U.S. False and trumped-up charges were issued left and right as part of the U.S. government’s counterinsurgency war on the Black Revolution of the 1960s. Targeting, special crimes, surveillance, and assassinations were all factors that destabilized our Movement.
The government worked fiercely to arrest our leaders and to incapacitate the struggle for African people to be free. This is the necessary context to understand the arrest and imprisonment of Dr. Mutulu Shakur.
His release under debilitating health circumstances is a common practice by the colonial State. They lock up our freedom fighters and hold them for as long as they can. Once they’re no longer a threat, they either let them die in prison or release them back to our community at the point that they’re unable to participate in our struggle. This is why, as part of our work to overturn this social system, we raise up and work to liberate our political prisoners and prisoners of war, unjustly imprisoned for righteously struggling for the freedom of African people.
This counterinsurgency process is ongoing, as many of our brothers and sisters from the Black Power Movement still languish behind bars. The U.S. government continues its assault on anti-colonial freedom fighters exemplified by the April 18, 2023 indictment of Chairman Omali Yeshitela, Penny Hess (African People’s Solidarity Committee Chair) and Jesse Nevel (Uhuru Solidarity Movement Chair).
We will not be disparaged, but in fact, will raise up the life and legacy of Dr. Mutulu Shakur as we work to complete the Black Revolution.
Long Live Mutulu Shakur!
Free Em’ All!
Drop the Charges Against the Uhuru 3!