President Obama Asked to Extradite Assata Shakur

Nothing enrages the American injustice system more than an escaped slave. When Harriet Tubman was liberating Black people from institutionalized genocide, rape and servitude, the state offered a reward of $40,000 to any bounty hunter who could bring her to “justice.” And if you think $40,000 goes a long way now, imagine what it did in 1875. Tubman was so vigorously desired by the state, not only because she broke the laws of chattel slavery (she was legally a thief, who ran away with thousands of dollars worth of what they considered to be stolen property), but also because she represented a revolutionary ideology. In many ways, her impact on the minds, hearts and souls of African American people was more damaging to the system of enslavement than the hundreds of African people that she emancipated physically. Same bed, new sheets.

Former political prisoner and member of the Black Panther Party and Black Liberation Army, Assata Shakur is still being aggressively perused by her former captors, over three decades after her escape from prison. Utilizing the same tactics as their slave holding predecessors, the New Jersey Police and U.S. Justice Department offered a $1,000,000 reward for her capture in 2005 – the largest reward placed on an individual in the history of New Jersey. Like Tubman, Shakur is being hunted not only for her alleged crimes against the state of New Jersey, but also because of her unwavering revolutionary opposition to imperialism and injustice. Shakur has spent the past thirty years of her life living in Cuba with political asylum.

In their newest attempt to imprison Assata Shakur, New Jersey Attorney General Anne Milgram and State Police Superintendent Rick Fuentes have announced that they will write to President Barack Obama to request Assata Shakur’s extradition. Milgram said President Obama’s plan to normalize relations with Cuba is a perfect opportunity to push for the return of the state’s “most wanted fugitive.” Joining the call for Shakur’s capture is Jersey Senator Sean Kean (R-Monmouth), who asked the President to delay normalizing relations with Cuba until they agree to the extradition. “She’s your classic urban terrorist, and she should be in jail,” he said. “Anybody who tells you different is a liar.” Interestingly enough, similar statements were made about Harriet Tubman who was was, indeed, a terrorist. She was a radical, guerrilla revolutionary who marched towards freedom with a double-barreled shot gun in-hand. The question is: to what extent does President Obama work on behalf the plantation owners? Will he use his power and influence to try to force Cuba to extradite Assata Shakur? Or will he champion the legacy of Harriet Tubman by giving her diplomatic immunity as a citizen of Cuba? I hope he makes the right decision.

14 Comments to ‘President Obama Asked to Extradite Assata Shakur’:

  1. Amaris on 27 Apr 2009 at 2:02 pm: 1

    Thanks for this article. I did not know that there was a recent petition to extradite Assata. If Obama does agree to extradite her then I will know exactly where he stands or should I say what side he stands on. She is a great freedom fighter and should be left alone.

    Why won’t they just let us be free!!!
    Power to the People!

  2. Olokun Shangol Olugbala on 28 Apr 2009 at 6:31 am: 2

    Pierce, this is a very dope article. Thanks for bringing this issue and insight to the table. Like Sister Amaris, I was unaware that a new request had been sent to President Obama calling for the extradition of Shakur, but it doesn’t surprise me.

    First, I really appreciate how you rooted Assata Shakur’s revolutionary stance and intense freedom fighting endeavors in the legacy of struggle started by slaves. It is critical to remember that not all the slaves acquiesced. We have a rich tradition of struggle, and we must draw upon this revolutionary reservoir in order to inspire, inform and guide our immediate insurgency.

    Secondly, I believe your post reminds us of our most important warriors: black women. The struggle is certainly not reserved for masculine energies, though sometimes I think we like to believe (or maybe even mandate through our own internalized patriarchy) that it is. We must do a better job of harnessing the collective strength and wisdom of our sisters. I have a daughter, and she will know what it means to be ferocious: what it means to wield womb and sword; what it means to bring new soldiers into the world and what it means to fight along side them. This is our tradition. From the Dahomey women in Africa, to Sojourner Truth, to Betty Shabazz, to my mother: black women know how to fight and love… and more importantly how to fight with love.

    This is why the state lusts to lock Assata away. Because above all, as Pierce already indicated, they don’t want us (the black masses) to understand what she understands. We may get the crazy idea to act on it too! We may just realize that we can stand up and fight for ourselves for like our mothers and sisters did… And we know the state can’t have that.

    I guess it’s not enough that our whole generation (Hip Hop) has been estranged from our momma and we have been forced to roam around in the dark groping for ourselves and a purpose that always seems to elude our clutch. Now they want to bring our mother back and jail her in front of us… and use another black man to help facilitate the horrific event. Who says Willie Lynch is dead?

    I guess we’ll have to wait and see how President Obama responds. In the interim, please read Assata Shakur’s autobiography, Assata, if you haven’t already. Momma may not have been here, but she left some instructions for us. She expects for us to get on our grind!!!

    Love and Struggle…Work and Study.

  3. BGC on 28 Apr 2009 at 6:54 pm: 3

    Reading it now bro, I heard about previous attempts to extradite her but like you, have not heard of the intensified efforts of these individuals. It’s truly a symbolic vendetta. I can definitely feel her revolutionary spirit and am angered by the multiple ways they tried to indict her on bogus charges of bank robbery and kidnapping. I am inspired by her story and will def. embed her instructions to love life and fight for freedom. One

  4. Paris on 29 Apr 2009 at 3:54 pm: 4

    What a clever (though disgusting, yet not surprising) way to call his allegiance into question… “everything done in the dark…”

    … and how will we, as a people, respond to this one? how many of us even know who she is?… i remember carrying around her autobiography when i was reading it… most people thought she was tupac’s mother… mmm… will we turn a blind eye if he spits in our face?… the fact that this is even a question breaks my heart. the mass mind is no joke.

  5. Anonymous on 27 May 2009 at 11:33 am: 5

    If he supports it BLACK AMERICA MEANS NOTHING TO HIM. If he’s half as intelligent as he speaks he won’t touch that case with a yard stick.

  6. Bamusa on 29 May 2009 at 3:23 pm: 6

    I believe Obama will touch, but he will do so clandestinely. He will hurt the Cuban Anti-communinist elements in Florida, and will make concessions to Cuba unheard of by the Cubans since 1959. However, in doing so, apart of that deal will be the arrest and recapture of comrade Assata.
    A series of lithmus tests have already been conducted in the US to analyze how the African national minority will respond in case that happens. That is the ultimate question. How will the African nation respond! Will they too conclude that with a ‘house negro’ actually now in the House, that ‘maroons’ and other Africans who refuse to aquiese to this new and improved form of pax ameriKKKana, are expendable?!

  7. fred on 31 May 2009 at 4:18 pm: 7

    Assata Shakur was like Bonnie of Bonnie and Clyde fame. Romantic, thrilling, even inspiring to read about now, but no one you wanted in your neighborhood when she was not in jail.

  8. Anonymous on 8 Jul 2009 at 10:46 pm: 8

    Assata Is Welcome Here!!

  9. joe on 24 Jul 2009 at 2:28 pm: 9

    She murdered five cops, robbed multiple banks,and kidnapped someone and held for ransom. She murdered “salt and pepper” teams (black and white cops working together). we’re try to make this a better world by eliminating it and your hurtin that with this ignorant article. this woman is a criminal and belongs in jail. plenty of people including myself have been exposed to some kind of racism, but that is no excuse for murdering and stealing. any white or black person who commits a crime belongs in jail.

  10. Mojo on 5 Dec 2011 at 3:52 pm: 10

    Both Assata and Tupac MUST BE EXTRADITED BACK TO THE USA. We simply cannot be a nation of their exiting crimes. They both live a They must pay for their crimes back in the usa.

  11. Anonymous on 5 Dec 2011 at 3:53 pm: 11

    Bring them back to america. Assata needs to pay for her crime and pac for his time still owed for what he done. Bring them back. Do not let them be and do cowardly things like this. THEY MUST PAY!!!

  12. Meherenow on 5 Dec 2011 at 3:53 pm: 12

    Bring them back to america. Assata needs to pay for her crime and pac for his time still owed for what he done. Bring them back. Do not let them be and do cowardly things like this. THEY MUST PAY!!!

  13. theylbbackintheusa on 5 Dec 2011 at 3:55 pm: 13

    They will be back one day. The feds always get their man. They cannot hide forever they will return and pay for what they have both done. No political environment will hold them. God made consciouses for a reason.

  14. pna on 5 Dec 2011 at 3:56 pm: 14

    If you murder someone it is a life for a life tit for tat. If you do crime you do time. So they both need to come back and be mature and responsible and pay for what they have done if in fact they have done it. The people always decide. Always have always will.

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Published on April 23, 2009 at 11:53 pm. 14 Comments.
Filed under diaspora,enslavement,radical politics.