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Essay example - African American History: ETST 2155-002

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Pages 2 (502 words)
Assata Shakur’s autobiography describes her evolution from Joanne Deborah Byron, a child growing up in the segregated atmospheres of New York City and North Carolina, into a Black Liberation Army leader and political refugee. Themes within her autobiography relate to other…

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The work first describes Shakur’s upbringing in New York City and North Carolina by her parents and grandparents, focusing on the ideas instilled by her family and surroundings about race, segregation, and discrimination. She was particularly affected by discrimination in school, and suffered the emotional effects of segregation and discrimination in her educational sphere. After dropping out of high school, Shakur went to live with an educated aunt who exposed her to sources of culture and education that would influence her later in life. After obtaining a GED and entering Manhattan Community College, Shakur became interested in Black studies and the emerging black Nationalism movements; attending civil rights events, participating in Black student groups, marrying a student with similar interests, and giving herself a Muslim name to reflect her racial heritage.
She then joined the Black Panther Party and largely worked in service and care roles; ultimately leaving because she felt it didn’t provide strong enough belief systems to unite its members. Shakur turned to the Black Liberation Army, an even more radical militant group. After becoming integral to the party, Shakur was charged with many crimes attributed to the BLA that she did not commit; and while most of these charges saw no convictions, the murder of a New Jersey state trooper led to her arrest and incarceration. Shakur describes in detail the harassment and injury she underwent while in police custody, which she attributed in large part to racial discrimination within the justice system. Her pregnancy, discovered during the murder trial, did not improve her treatment, and she was kept in solitary confinement for much of this time. After the birth of her daughter, Shakur was found guilty of the state trooper’s murder. During a move between ...
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