Chesimard, Joanne (1947–)

aka Assata Shakur

African American revolutionary and writer Joanne Chesimard was once the leader of the Black Liberation Army (BLA), a violent offshoot of the Black Panther Party. She has been living in Cuba since 1986 when she escaped from the prison where she was serving a sentence for murder.

Raised primarily by her grandparents in North Carolina, Chesimard moved to Queens, New York, when she was a teenager to live with her mother and stepfather. As a young adult, Chesimard developed strong political convictions that led to her participation in the black liberation movement and eventually to her membership in the Black Panther Party in 1970. Around that time, she assumed the name Assata Shakur.

Between 1971 and 1973, Chesimard's involvement with the BLA became widely known, as did the various crimes, such as robberies, committed in order to fund their organization. ...

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