On Monday, CNN contributor and Temple University professor Marc Lamont-Hill decided he wanted to celebrate the birthday of an accused cop-killer.
And the full quote on Instagram:
Thinking about Assata Shakur on her 71st birthday. She wrote the second book that changed (and saved) my life. She taught me about the value and power of Freedom Dreams. She showed me the beauty of struggle. And she proved that “a wall is just a wall. and nothing more at all. It can be broken down.” I pray for her continued safety and protection. I continue to work to demonstrate her innocence. And I implore the State to stop prosecuting an unjust and unfair campaign against one of our most treasured Freedom Fighters. Thank you Mama Assata. Wishing you 100 more ears! #palenquequeen#handsoffassata #freeallpoliticalprisoners#everysingleone
For those who don’t know Shakur’s history: her birth name was JoAnne Deborah Byron. She married when she was almost 20; her husband for that year was Louis Chesimard so she became Joanne Chesimard. She began using the name Assata Olugbala Shakur in 1971, rejecting Joanne Chesimard as a “slave name.”
In the early 1970’s, she joined the Black Liberation Army, an offshoot of the Black Panthers. The Black Liberation Army attempted an armed struggle against the U.S. government by robbing banks and killing police officers and drug dealers.
As the FBI, which is offering a reward of up to $1,000,000 for information directly leading to Shakur’s apprehension, states:
Joanne Chesimard is wanted for escaping from prison in Clinton, New Jersey, while serving a life sentence for murder. On May 2, 1973, Chesimard, who was part of a revolutionary extremist organization known as the Black Liberation Army, and two accomplices were stopped for a motor vehicle violation on the New Jersey Turnpike by two troopers with the New Jersey State Police. At the time, Chesimard was wanted for her involvement in several felonies, including bank robbery. Chesimard and her accomplices opened fire on the troopers. One trooper was wounded and the other was shot and killed execution-style at point-blank range. Chesimard fled the scene, but was subsequently apprehended. One of her accomplices was killed in the shoot-out and the other was also apprehended and remains in jail.
In 1977, Chesimard was found guilty of first degree murder, assault and battery of a police officer, assault with a dangerous weapon, assault with intent to kill, illegal possession of a weapon, and armed robbery. She was sentenced to life in prison. On November 2, 1979, Chesimard escaped from prison and lived underground before being located in Cuba in 1984. She is thought to currently still be living in Cuba.
After President Trump was elected in November 2016, and some prominent black Americans met with him, Lamont Hill snapped, “It was a bunch of mediocre Negroes being dragged in front of TV as a photo-op for Donald Trump’s exploitative campaign against black people.”