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Assata: An Autobiography Assata Shakur


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Axioms of Assata Shakur Quotes, Comments & Excerpts

"So many of my sisters are so completely unaware of who the real criminals and dogs are. They blame themselves for being hungry; they hate themselves for surviving the best way they know how, to see so much fear, doubt, hurt, and self hatred is the most painful part of being in this concentration camp. "Anyway, in spite of all, i feel a breeze behind my neck, turning to a hurricane and when i take a deep breath I can smell freedom"

"I have advocated and I still advocate revolutionary change"

"We had to learn that we're beautiful. We had to relearn something forcefully taken from us. We had to learn about Black power. People have power if we unite. We learned the importance of coming together and being active"

"I realized that I was connected to Africa. I wasn't just a Colored girl. I was part of a whole world that wanted a better life. I'm part of a majority and not a minority. My life has been a life of growth. If you're not growing, you're not going to understand real love. If you're not reaching out to help others then you're shrinking. My life has been active. I'm not a spectator"

"Part of being a revolutionary is creating a vision that is more humane. That is more fun, too. That is more loving. It's really working to create something beautiful."

"I think that in order to struggle you have to be creative. In my life, creativity has been something that has sustained me; it awoke my spiritual struggle."

I am an ex political prisoner, and I have been living in exile in Cuba since 1984. I have been a political activist most of my life, and although the U.S. government has done everything in its power to criminalize me, I am not a criminal, nor have I ever been one.

"i had long ago become convinced that revolution was a science. Generalities were no longer enough for me. Like my comrades, I believed that a higher level of political sophistication was necessary and that unity in the Black community had become a priority. We could never afford to forget the lessons we had learned from COINTELPRO. As far as i was concerned, building a sense of national consciousness was one of the most important tasks that lay ahead of us. I couldn't see how we could seriously struggle without having a strong sense of collectivity, without being responsible FOR each other and TO each other."

"Hip Hop can be a very powerful weapon to help expand young people's political and social consciousness. But just as with any weapon, if you don't know how to use it, if you don't know where to point it, or what you're using it for, you can end up shooting yourself in the foot or killing your sisters or brothers. The government recognized immediately that Rap music has enormous revolutionary potential. Certain politicians got on the bandwagon to attack Rappers like Sister Soldier and NWA. You've got various police organizations across the country who have openly expressed their hostility towards Rap artists. For them, most Rappers fall in the category of potential criminals, cop killers, or subversives."


A Revolutionary Woman Can't Have No Reactionary Man.

"I am a Black revolutionary woman, and because of this i have been charged with and accused of every alleged crime in which a woman was believed to have participated. The alleged crimes in which only men were supposedly involved; i have been accused of planning. They have plastered pictures alleged to be me in post offices, airports, hotels, police cars, subways, banks, television, and newspapers. They have offered over fifty thousand dollars in rewards for my capture and they have issued orders to shoot on sight and shoot to kill."

"We knew what a token was then. Today young people don't see Condoleezza Rice or Colin Powell as tokens. That's a problem."

"I realized that I was connected to Africa"

"It's moods like this that make me aware of how glad i am to be a revolutionary. i know who our enemy is, and i know that me and these swine cannot live peacefully on the same planet. i am a part of a family of field niggas and that is something very precious."

"My life wasn't beautiful and creative before I became politically active. My life was totally changed when I began to struggle."

"There is something about Sundiata [Acoli] that exudes calm. From every part of his being you can sense the presence of revolutionary spirit and fervor. And his love for Black people is so intense that you can almost touch it and hold it in your hand."

"A revolutionary woman can't have no reactionary man. If he's not about liberation, if he's not about struggle, if he ain't about building a strong Black family, if he ain't about building a strong Black nation, then he ain't about nothing."

"We can't afford to be spectators while our lives deteriorate. We have to truly love our people and work to make that love stronger."

"Our situation right now is critical. We can't run from it or hide from it. We're going to have to get down to the nitty gritty. We've got to determine who We are. Are We house niggers who are going to walk peacefully into the gas chambers, or are We field niggers, who are going to fight until we're free? We didn't come here no house niggers. We didn't come here from Afrika no punks. We didn't come here from Afrika no fools. We didn't come here no Uncle Toms, hemming and hawing, shufflin' and jiving, scratching our heads and kissing the feet of our masters. We didn't come here like that. We came here proud, strong, beautiful Afrikans. We came here with a culture, with pride, We came here knowing who We were. We came here an intelligent, sensitive people, who fought and struggled on every level from the moment that We were brought here in chains. We have got to realize who We are and We've got to realize that we've got a tradition to carry on."

"So many of my sisters are so completely unaware of who the real criminals and dogs are. They blame themselves for being hungry; they hate themselves for surviving the best way they know how, to see so much fear, doubt, hurt, and self hatred is the most painful part of being in this concentration camp. "Anyway, in spite of all, i feel a breeze behind my neck, turning to a hurricane and when i take a deep breath I can smell freedom"

"It's moods like this that make me aware of how glad i am to be a revolutionary. i know who our enemy is, and i know that me and these swine cannot live peacefully on the same planet. i am a part of a family of field niggas and that is something very precious"

"We are oppressed people in the U.S. and don't even know it. We have fewer opportunities to be doctors and lawyers as tuition increases. Our problem is that we want to belong to a society that wants to oppress us. We want to be the plantation owner. In Cuba, we want to change the plantation to a collective farm"

"I was sentenced to life plus 30 years by an all-White jury. What I saw in prison was wall-to-wall Black flesh in chains. Women caged in cells. But we're the terrorists. It just doesn't make sense."

"A woman’s place is in the struggle."

"Sisters Black people will never be free unless Black women participate in every aspect of the struggle."

"The more you understand what you're dealing with, the stronger you get. People see fear as a bad thing. Fear is healthy when you're dealing with Amerika. But when fear controls you, when you're afraid to struggle fear is a bad thing. I'm more afraid of what will happen if I don't struggle, than what will happen if I do"

"i Believe In The Fire Of Love And The Sweat Of Truth"

"If you're deaf, dumb, and blind to what's happening in the world, you're under no obligation to do anything. But if you know what's happening and you don't do anything but sit on your ass, then you're nothing but a punk" "The U. S. is becoming more hostile to Black people and other people of color. Racism is running rampant and xenophobia is on the rise"

"When you go through all your life processing and abusing your hair so it will look like the hair of another race of people then you are making a statement and the statement is clear"

"I have declared war on the rich who prosper on our poverty, the politicians who lie to us with smiling faces and all the mindless, heartless robots who protect them and their property. I am a Black revolutionary, and, as such, I am a victim of all the wrath, hatred and slander that Amerika is capable of"

"Like all other Black revolutionaries, Amerika is trying to lynch me."

"Nobody in the world, nobody in history, has ever gotten their freedom by appealing to the moral sense of the people who were oppressing them."

"They call us bandits, yet every time most Black people pick up our paychecks, we are being robbed. Every time we walk into a store in our neighborhood, we are being held up. And every time we pay our rent, the landlord sticks a gun into our ribs"

"I was like Houdini, I plotted day and night. There was no way I was going to spend the rest of my life in prison for something I didn't do."

"How dare they call us terrorists when we were being terrorized? Terror was a constant part of my life....We lived under police terror."

This is a brand new century and we need a brand new spirit and a brand new style. I make a special appeal to young people. I am not only asking you to work hard to free all Political Prisoners, I am asking you to party hard to free all Political Prisoners.

"I am asking you to raise your voices wherever you go and to chant, to rap, to sing for the liberation of Sundiata Acoli and all Political Prisoners. I am asking you to bring the spirit of freedom to discos, to nightclubs, to house parties, wherever young people gather. While you are partying and having fun, I ask you to think of political prisoners, and when you're getting down to the music I ask you to chant his or her name. I want you to chant Free Sundiata, I want you to chant Free Mumia, Free Leonard Peltier, and so on. I want you to chant the names of every Political Prisoner still behind the walls."

"Free all Political Prisoners,I send you Love and Revolutionary Greetings. From Cuba, One of the Largest, Most Resistant and Most Courageous Palenques (Maroon Camps) That has ever existed on the Face of this Planet"

"No movement can survive unless it is constantly growing and changing with the times. If it isn't growing, it's stagnant, and without the support of the people, no movement for liberation can exist, no matter how correct its analysis of the situation is."

"Unless you are addressing the issues people are concerned about and contributing positive direction, they'll never support you. The first thing the enemy tries to do is isolate revolutionaries from the masses of people, making us horrible and hideous monsters so that our people will hate us"

"Only a fool lets somebody else tell him who his enemy is....never let your enemies choose your enemies for you."

"Throughout my childhood, the name Freeman had no particular significance. It was a name just like any other name. It wasn't until i was grown and began to read Black history that i discovered the significance of the name. After slavery, many Black people refused to use the last names of their masters. They called themselves 'Freeman' instead. The name was also used by Africans who were freed before slavery was 'officially' abolished, but it was mainly after the abolition of chattel slavery that many Black people changed their names to Freeman. After learning this, i saw my ancestors in a new light."

"Our desire to be free has got to manifest itself in everything we are and do."

i must confess that waltzes do not move me. i have no sympathy for symphonies. i guess i hummed the Blues too early, and spent too many midnights out wailing to the rain."

"Although we live in one of the richest, most technologically advanced countries in the world, our reality is similar to an underdeveloped Third World country. We are a people who are truly seeking freedom and harmony"

"Peace is a rare gift. Peace of mind, peaceful sleeps, and peaceful spirits are all luxuries that few rebels can ever afford."

(A) = Written by Assata Shakur

More Resources
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Get Hands Off Assata Fliers
Statement from Assata's Appeal Attorney June 2005
Interviews with Assata
The Eyes of the Rainbow Assata Shakur Documentary The Eyes of the Rainbow Assata Shakur Documentary (Full Video)
U.S., keep your hands off Assata! Interview, part 1
U.S., keep your hands off Assata! Interview, part 2
From exile with love (Finall Call)
Prisoner in Paradise (Essence Magazine)
Assata Shakur talks to Pastors for Peace, Part 1
Assata Shakur talks to Pastors for Peace, Part 2
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Brath and Mealy Interview (Black World Today)
An Open Letter From Assata (A)
Assata: Terrorist, or Survivor of Terrorism? Mumia Audio Transcript
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M1 of dead prez on the case of Assata Shakur
Women in Prison: How It Is With Us (A)
The Fugitive: Why has the FBI placed a million-dollar bounty on Assata Shakur?
by Kathleen Cleaver
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National Conference of Black lawyers Demands: Hands off Assata
The New Jersey State Police and the Nazi Party
Letter to the Pope (A)
Message to My Sistas (A)
Critique of NBC Interview (A)
Immoral Bounty on Assata Shakur
Profiled and on the Run
The Unjust Trial
The United Nations Petition
Assata Testimony to United Nations
Tell New Jersey "I'm Innocent"
Congress Attempts to Extradite Assata
Protest U.S. House vote on former Panther
Congresswoman Waters issues statement
Message To The Black Movement
The Prison Industrial Complex
A Brief Overview Of The Black Panther Party
Political Prisoners List and Contact Information
Poetry & Music
For Sundiata (A)
The Tradition (A)
i believe in living (A)
No One Can Stop The Rain (A)
i love tha future (A)
Young Blood (A)
Assata Song (Common)
Assata Song (Paris)

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Study Material / Learning Tools
Black Panther Party for Self Defense Crossword Puzzle
HTML / Word Doc

Last Update: October 13, 2008

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