Joanne Chesimard aka Assata Shakur is the first woman to be placed on the FBI’s “Most Wanted Terrorists” list. Chesimard was a member of the Black Liberation Army (BLA) and has been on the run since 1979. She escaped from prison and a life sentence for the murder conviction handed for the killing of New Jersey trooper Werner Foerster. Foerster was killed on May 2, 1973, during a traffic stop. Chesimard is believed to have fled to Cuba in 1984, where she has been living in political asylum under the name Assata Shakur.
Since becoming a member of the BLA, she has racked up several felonious charges ranging between kidnapping to murder. Out of seven criminal cases, she was only convicted for the murder of Foerster. Assata has many supporters. Legendary activist, author and former political prisoner Angela Davis believes the reopening of this case is to frighten people today still going struggling with issues such as police violence, healthcare and education. Hip hop artist, actor and activist Yasiin Bey (formerly known as Mos Def) is also a supporter.
Shakur once wrote, “I am a 20th century escaped slave. Because of government persecution, I was left with no other choice than to flee from the political repression, racism and violence that dominate the U.S. government’s policy towards people of color.”
Assata Shakur is the step-aunt to Tupac Shakur. We welcome your comments on Assata Shakur.