In May 1973, Assata Olugbala Shakur was involved in a shootout on the New Jersey Turnpike in which she was accused of killing New Jersey State Trooper Werner Foerster and assaulting Trooper James Harper. This resulted in her indictment of first-degree murder of Foerster and seven other felonies related to the shootout. But this wasn’t her first indictment. A member of the Black Panther Party, she became a prime target of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Counterintelligence Program. When she joined the Black Liberation Army and went into hiding, between 1973 and 1977 she was placed on the FBI’s Most Wanted List for three bank robberies, the kidnapping and murder of two drug dealers, and the attempted murder of two New Jersey police officers. During the next four years following the New Jersey Turnpike incident, Shakur was held in detention as the trials for the indictments brought while she was underground either ended in acquittal or were dropped because of lack of evidence. While in prison, she became pregnant by Kamau Sadiki, her codefendant during her New York bank robbery trial, and gave birth to a daughter in 1974. Shakur’s imprisonment and what many of her supporters believed was a false arrest brought international attention to her plight as a political prisoner. In March 1977 Assata Shakur was convicted of murdering state trooper Werner Forrester and was imprisoned at the maximum security prison for women in Alderson, West Virginia. Two years later she broke out of the maximum-security wing of Clinton Correctional Facility in New Jersey, pistol in hand, as she and three cohorts sped out of the prison grounds. In 1984 she was granted political asylum in Cuba where she has lived ever since. On May 2, 2013, the FBI added her to the Most Wanted Terrorist List, the first woman to be listed. Assata Shakur: A 20th Century Escaped Slave is the story of Assata Shakur, before she became a fugitive and since.“My name is Assata Shakur, and 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 US government’s policy towards people of color. I am an ex-political prisoner, and I have been living in exile in Cuba since 1984.”In spite of numerous appeals from the US Government for her extradition from Cuba where she now lives, Assata Shakur continues to be a voice throughout the world.
About The Author
Barbara Casey is the author of several award-winning novels and numerous articles, poems, and short stories. In addition to her own writing, she is an editorial consultant and president of the Barbara Casey Agency, established in 1995, representing authors throughout the United States, Great Britain, Canada, and Japan. In 2014 Barbara became a partner in Strategic Media Books Publishing, an independent publishing house that specializes in true crime and other cutting-edge adult nonfiction. Barbara lives on a mountain in Georgia with her husband and three dogs: Benton, a hound-mix, Fitz, a miniature dachshund, and Gert, a terrier-mix.