In May 1973, Assata Olugbala Shakur was involved in a shootout on the New Jersey Turnpike in which she was accused of killing New Jersey State Trooper Werner Foerster and assaulting Trooper James Harper. This resulted in her indictment of first-degree murder of Foerster and seven other felonies related to the shootout. A member of the Black Panther Party, she became a prime target of the Federal Bureau of Investigations Counterintelligence Program. When she joined the Black Liberation Army and went into hiding, between 1973 and 1977, she was placed on the FBI’s Most Wanted List for three bank robberies, the kidnapping and murder of two drug dealers, and the attempted murder of two New Jersey police officers.
In March 1977 Assata Shakur was convicted of murdering state trooper Werner Forrester and was imprisoned. Two years later she broke out of the maximum-security wing of Clinton Correctional Facility in New Jersey, pistol in hand, as she and three cohorts sped out of the prison grounds. In 1984 she was granted political asylum in Cuba where she has lived ever since. On May 2, 2013, the FBI added her to the Most Wanted Terrorist List, the first woman to be listed. Assata Shakur: A 20th Century Escaped Slave is the story of Assata Shakur, before she became a fugitive and since.
This book was a fast, informative read. It is about Assata Shakur who was imprisoned and later escaped and fled to Cuba. It centers around the racial tensions in America that have existed for many, many years. She was an advocate of ‘Black rights’.
It is obvious from the beginning that the author did a great amount of research in to Assata’s life. She told the story from a factual point of view, and never gave her opinion as to whether she was wrongly imprisoned or wrongly mistreated. She presented facts, and also included many quotes from Assata’s autobiography. At first the quotes threw me off, but as they kept popping up throughout the book it ended up giving more insight to the story, again without offering opinion.
Assata eventually fled to Cuba, who at the time had strained relations with America. I found the information about Cuba and after she fled, to be the most interesting part of the book. It is interesting to see how far we’ve come, and to read about their perception of racism.
Overall, a very informative, interesting book.
Barbara Casey is the author of several award-winning novels for both adults and young adults, as well as book-length works of nonfiction true crime and numerous articles, poems, and short stories. Her previous nonfiction true crime work, Kathryn Kelly: The Moll behind Machine Gun Kelly, has been optioned for a major film and television series. In addition to her own writing, she is an editorial consultant for independent publishers and writers, and president of the Barbara Casey Agency, established in 1995, representing authors throughout the United States, Great Britain, Canada, and Japan. Barbara lives on a mountain in Georgia with her husband and three dogs who adopted her: Benton, a hound-mix; Fitz, a miniature dachshund; and Gert, a Jack Russel terrier of sorts.
Connect with the author: Website
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