We Want Freedom: A Life in the Black Panther Party

Mumia Abu-Jamal, Author
Mumia Abu-Jamal, Author South End Press $40 (176p) ISBN 978-0-89608-719-4
Reviewed on: 05/01/2004
Release date: 05/01/2004
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In this polemic-cum-history, Abu-Jamal,""the world's most famous political prisoner,"" offers a celebratory look at the origins and accomplishments of the Black Panther Party, of which he was a member in the 1970s. The author, now on Pennsylvania's Death Row for the murder of a policeman, mounts a wholly unreconstructed defense of the Oakland-based group as""a bona fide revolutionary organization of global import."" He seeks to place the Panthers within the noble tradition of African-American armed resistance, invoking slave rebellions and the names of Nat Turner, John Brown and Frederick Douglass. The BPP was not criminal or sexist, he declares, but a positive force for change that fell victim to the""viciousness"" and""lawlessness"" of the FBI. In contrast to this often hectoring tone, a charming note of humor creeps in with Abu-Jamal's interspersed recollections of life as a 16-year-old revolutionary.
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