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Liberation activist who clearly understood how Africans were colonized, miseducated

By Harsh Thakor 

On the night of July 6, revolutionary and former political prisoner Dr. Mutulu Shakur succumbed at age of 72. His name will permanently carve a niche amongst Black American activists, and will be written in letters of gold.
After languishing for 37 years in prison following the merciless suppression of the Black liberation movement of the 1960s and 70s, he was only freed in December 2022 on basis of doctors diagnosing his terminal bone cancer.Shakur had been living with multiple myeloma, a blood cancer that can damage the bones and kidneys.
Mutulu Shakur was born Jeral Wayne Williams on August 8, 1950, in Baltimore, Maryland. He was brought up in Jamaica, Queens, by his mother, who was blind. Shakur’s political baptism sprung as he helped his mother detect the unjust social service system. At age 16, he joined the New Afrikan Independence Movement, and, in the late 1960s, he worked with the Revolutionary Action Movement (RAM), a Black Nationalist group that championed Black self-determination and socialist change nationwide. (From Maddison Bloom in Pitchfork)
Even if on differs with his politics, any revolutionary democrat would cherish the exemplary contribution of Mutula Shakur,towards Black Liberation .He was an architect in constructing decolonisation programmes to liberate people from the clutches of Black liberation. His lifelong work manifested the very soul of the oppressed Black people. Even in the hardest junctures, he propelled the downtrodden or victimised people. His role in constructing radical alternative medical institutions was landmark contribution. He forged an irreconcilable link between education and liberation.At every point he added the meat to the bones of the Black resistance movement.
His incarceration was a perfect illustration of how the United States of America fabricates Black Liberation activists for challenging status quo of White supremacy.
In their joint declaration,the New Afrikan People’s Organization and Malcolm X Grassroots Movement paid homage to Shakur, a member of the Provisional Government of the Republic of New Afrika and the Black Liberation Army. Quoting Malcolm X Grassroots Movement (Peoples Dispatch by Natalie Marquez) “He was a loving father and grandfather, revolutionary acupuncturist, human rights organizer and former political prisoner of war.”
“Mutulu’s life was transformative to the many people he organized, healed, mentored and inspired. Dr. Mutulu Shakur taught us that ‘people struggle for liberation because they love [the] people.’ He will always be remembered for his continued commitment to an independent and socialist New Afrika and for his battle cry, Straight Ahead!”
“Dr. Mutulu Shakur, like many of our warriors, clearly understood how our people have been colonized and miseducated, that many have assimilated into the system of white supremacy potentially to the detriment of our peoples survival,” said Jalil Muntaqim, also a Black liberation fighter and former political prisoner, in a statement. “Dr. Mutulu recognized that education and liberation were two important facets of our struggle, having the desire to liberate oneself from being treated less than your inalienable human rights and your divine self demands of you. Dr. Mutulu Shakur was unequivocally about the necessity to engage conditions of oppression by building decolonization programs that serve to liberate people from drug addiction and the trauma of having to navigate over 400 years of white supremacy.”(In Peoples Dispatch by Natalie Marquez)
Dr. Shakur was involved in Black liberation organizations such as the Revolutionary Action Movement (RAM) and the Republic of New Afrika, and he also devoted his life to holistically treating and emancipating working class drug addicts in the radical Lincoln Detox Center.
He transcended boundaries beyond his own misery and converted his individual question into a mass question, transforming everything. It investigated the grassroots cause of drugs.
Quoting Kamau Frankli, community organizer and founder of Community Movement Builders “Dr. Mutulu Shakur was a giant in Black liberation politics. His leading role in building radical alternative health institutions, his role in literally freeing Assata and as part of the underground, his ability to organize people, made him someone to study and learn from,” .Franklin was referring to Shakur’s alleged role in the escape of another popular revolutionary political prisoner, Assata Shakur, to Cuba. “A true revolutionary history of Mutulu has yet to be written, but it needs to be done so that today’s organizers understand whom we just lost.”(Peoples Dispatch)
In the 1970s, Shakur, the stepfather of late hip-hop artist Tupac Shakur, founded the Lincoln Hospital Detoxification Program. The program, based in the Bronx, New York, facilitated heroin addicts acupuncture-based drug treatment, which became known as “the Lincoln Protocol.”
Recipients of ‘the Lincoln Protocol’ also studied Black liberation theology and, in some cases, treaded Shakur’s path to become acupuncturists of their own kind.
In the view of Japanese acupuncturist Hirano, Shakur deeply inspired those who used the Lincoln Protocol to cleanse their minds of victims of racial oppression. By the time Hirano, a Japanese-American acupuncturist, met Shakur in the early 1970s, he had been grossly involved in detoxifying Asian prison inmates (From Sam Collins in Washington Informer).
Hirano and Shakur would later work together at the Lincoln Hospital Detoxification Center.
“It was liberation medicine,” said Hirano.
“It wasn’t just to get you clean, but to empower you and do political education to understand your transformation of what your people had to go through to liberate themselves,” Hirano added.
Shakur’s release during the latter part of 2022 culminated a years-long campaign launched by by grassroots organizers including the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, the Rev. Graylan Hagler, Attorney Nkechi Taifa and acupuncturist Kokayi Patterson.
Shakur was serving a 60-year sentence originating from a 1988 conviction for conspiracy to break the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, or RICO Act, bank robbery, armed bank robbery and bank robbery murder. He was convicted of leading a group of revolutionaries in a spate of armed robberies in New York and Connecticut, including one that left three people dead. He was also convicted of helping Jo Anne Chesimard, aka Assata Shakur, escape from a New Jersey prison in 1979.However, Shakur and his supporters affirm that the acts were politically motivated, and devoid of criminality (Associated Press and Thomson).
Jomo Muhammad, an organizer with the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement working to free Shakur, as well as Shakur’s friends and family, said his fabrication was a result to his Black liberation efforts and his integration with revolutionary Black nationalist groups in the 1960s, including the Revolutionary Action Movement and the Republic of New Afrika.
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Harsh Thakor is freelance journalist who has studied history of Liberation movements. Thanks information from Sam Collins in Washington Informer, Char Adams in NBC news and Natalia Marquez in Peoples Dispatch

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