HAVE BLACK LIVES EVER MATTERED? by Mumia Abu-Jamal

HAVE BLACK LIVES EVER MATTERED?

From the "City Lights Open Media" series
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KIRKUS REVIEW

A series of manifestoes in black and white, without any shades of gray.

Abu-Jamal (Writing on the Wall: Selected Prison Writings of Mumia Abu-Jamal, 2015, etc.) has spent 35 years in prison, much of it on death row for allegedly killing a police officer in Philadelphia. Despite plenty of popular opposition to the verdict and questions over witness reliability, he remains under a life sentence without possibility of parole. A Black Panther before he became an award-winning journalist, he remains passionately committed to the resistance toward institutional racism. Most of these broadsides are less than two pages and have been sparked by an incident involving a black victim and some embodiment of white oppression, whether it be a cop, a judge, the court system, the FBI, etc. Sometimes the black victim had been suspected or accused of wrongdoing, but such suspicions and accusations were false, in the author’s opinion. Too often, the police who arrested, mistreated, or even killed the black victim were exonerated as just doing their job, making them all guilty in Abu-Jamal’s eyes. These writings date from the late 1990s and often show prescience on the part of the author, who was writing well before the Black Lives Matter movement that “when the system kills Blacks, there is no outrage, for it has been normalized by centuries of white enslavement, terrorism, and injustice. Such violence is simply the accepted way of how things are.” Also included is a series of articles on the killing of Trayvon Martin, accurately anticipating the acquittal of the white man who shot him, and another series on Ferguson and its aftermath—how “Ferguson may prove a wake-up call that Black lives matter. A call for youth to build social, radical, revolutionary movements for change.” The last piece is the longest, a pamphlet on how to build such a movement with a historical perspective on why this is necessary.

A collection to rally the believers into action rather than persuade doubters or skeptics.

Pub Date: June 15th, 2017
ISBN: 978-0-87286-738-3
Page count: 208pp
Publisher: City Lights
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1st, 2017




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