Assata's Autobiography Essay

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  7
Wordcount:  1662 Words
Date:  2022-03-27

Assata Olugbala Shakur was a black woman who was born on 16th July 1947. She is a former member of the Black Liberation Army, who was convicted of a high degree murder of Werner Foerster, a State Trooper during a shootout that took place in 1973 in New Jersey Turnpike. (Shakur, 16). Assata was also a target of the Cointelpro which was a counterintelligence program of the Federal Bureau of Investigations which was targeting the members of the Black Liberation group and activists. Assata was able to escape from the prison on November 2nd, 1979 where she later resurfaced in Cuba where she was granted political asylum. Assata Shakur was a problem for the government. During this period, there was a problem of racial discrimination and prejudice that Assata and others were against.

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Assata, in their struggle for the freedom she portrays the United States of America as a nation with a lot of racial discrimination. (Shakur, 16)The move of Assata evidences this as she explains in her biography about the rise of a revolution that was spearheaded by activists which would carry out various methods in the attempt to air their grievances. The movement comprised primarily of black Americans who were standing up for equality. These activists were becoming the targets of the FBI where it would falsely convict them for various criminal acts such as robbery, murder and other criminal acts. It would also kill the activists to destabilize the powerful movement by the blacks. Assata hates the way the rulers and the wealthy whites want to enslave them to make the wealth as well as protect their wealth. We can get this evidence from her words when she said, "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." (Shakur, 16).Assata explains that there was a time when the FBI successfully convicted of assassinating a police officer in 1977 when the resistance had taken a new turn. Assata's ability to escape from a similar case remains a symbol of resistance as well as defiance. (Shakur, 16). The evidence of the killing both medical and forensic was overwhelmingly in her favor since the investigators could not find traces of her fingerprints on the gun residue. The forensic finding could also not give evidence of fingerprints on the gun that they believed was used to kill the cop. Additionally, her injuries that she sustained from three bullets shot at her would incapacitate her to shoot the policeman. However, despite all the findings being in her favor, the government of America would continue to consider her a threat to the security of the country. The FBI considered her as one of the most wanted terrorists. This paints a picture of violence and disregard of the rights of the blacks.

Through the experiences of Assata and other activists as according to the biography, it invites us into a direct and keen look into the mechanism of power as well as the steps that the United States of America was putting into place to uphold its winners and subjugate the losers. Through these experiences, one can be able to see how the government was misusing its powers to violate the marginalized group of the blacks. She also creates an image of how the police with the backup from the FBI were operating with impunity intending to put to an end the Black Nationalist hate groups.

The officials of the government of the US were using a language that was offering an essential case study in the denigration as well as the systemic power. The rift that was between the images the public had about Assata and her eloquence and compassion is evident throughout her autobiography. The police, as well as the media, would use words like a 'threat' and 'an enemy of the state' was portraying a reductive image of a desperate woman fighting for her freedoms, justice, and equality.

Assata's commitment to uniting the black and motivate them into standing up for their right remained unshaken. (Shakur, 16). She boldly says this to her supporters; "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." These were powerful words that she used to motivate and give strength to her fellow blacks to continue fighting for their rights, freedom as well as equality.

Assata represents the blacks in America in a bold way that motivates them and continues encouraging them to stand firm and fight for their justice. Even though she was going through great persecution by the government, her braveness cannot be underrated as she did not show any sign of giving up. She faced ruthless encounters with the police, false accusations and none of these would weigh her down. "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." (Shakur, 16). These were her words which were to encourage her people to remain focused on the struggle toward the realization of justice and equality for the black.

In the current world acts of racism are still present in countries such as Russia, Germany, Britain, France, and the United States. Research statistics indicate that racism has been on the decline; for instance, only 10% of people in Europe are racist (Macedo and Gounari, 2015). However, this can be misleading as it is not easy to determine who is prejudiced by administering questionnaires as most people would not tell the truth about themselves. Evidence indicates that racist people tend to show annoyance when other races try to demand equality, they deny that there is discrimination against other races, and finally, they dislike when minorities receive affirmative action. (Berry, and Mary Frances 95). As per the autobiography of Assata, racism has severe consequences as a significant number of people have lost their lives while fighting for equal treatment. In the modern day, racist people tend to hide their attitude and behavior due to the strict laws against racism that most countries of the world have enacted.

The current laws that most countries in the world formulate to curb the problem of racism have gone a long way in helping out. However, this issue has not been settled fully as we can reveal racism through the actions, behaviors, and attitudes of people towards the race that they think is inferior to them. Racism can also be seen in the systems and institutions such as schools, and universities. Sometimes it is difficult to reveal it at all as not all racism is blatant. For instance, someone may look through a list of job applicants and decide not to invite some applicants for an interview because of having specific surnames that portray the race of that applicant. This is racism which one might not be able to reveal because one would think that such applicants did not meet the qualifications. Racism is, therefore, more than just words or visible actions. It includes several other barriers that tend to prevent people from enjoying the dignity and equality that every man is entitled.

The suffering of black under the government of the United States of America was evident throughout the autobiography of Assata. This evidence is boosted by more pieces of evidence of these happenings in the book "Where Do We Go from Here." The book depicts images of an unjust government which was divisions based of the skin color where this prejudice affects the lives of the black people that were living in the United States of America during the 1950s to 1970. The writer begins by saying, "I am concerned about justice; I am concerned about brotherhood and truth." (King Jr, Martin Luther 16). This is enough evidence that those were things that were not being practiced during those times.

The book brings out the hatred that was directed to the black people. Mistreatment of the blacks including police brutality and impunity that was directed to the black and was evidenced in this book. Additionally, Assata paints pictures that are strikingly similar to what the writer of 'Where Do We Go from Here'. In both scenarios acts of brutality, impunity by the police is depicted. The blacks being imprisoned for no reason were rampant during this time. This is an indicator of the injustice that was being practiced on the blacks.

I have experience with a racist after visiting my white friend. We are good friends, and I was welcomed well at their home we ate and had drinks. My friend's mother came in and joined us at the table where we were having a light talk with my friend. Her mother made a remark that I found racial when she referred to the blacks as people who are poor due to their inability to think critically, and she said that the blacks would remain to worship the white due to their thinking deficit. This statement was offending, and I had to leave the room although my friend followed me to apologize on behalf of her mother. Racism is real, and it exists even in the modern world that we live.


In conclusion, there is some hope even in direst environments. The creativity of the people, as well as sensitization on unity, respecting each other and ensuring equality, are excellent moves that activists and other movements have come up with are likely to ease the problem. Viable legislations against racism are also helping but most importantly; the problem will only get a solution if the people embrace each other, accept and integrate.

Works Cited

Berry, Mary Frances. Black Resistance/White Law: A History of Constitutional Racism in America. Penguin, 1995.King Jr, Martin Luther. Where do we go from here: Chaos or community?. Vol. 2. Beacon Press, 2010.

Macedo, and Gounari, Globalization of racism. Routledge. 2015.

Shakur, Assata. Assata: an autobiography. Zed Books Ltd., 2016.

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