Front cover image for Writing on the wall : selected prison writings of Mumia Abu-Jamal

Writing on the wall : selected prison writings of Mumia Abu-Jamal

"From the first slave writings to contemporary hip hop, the canon of African American literature offers a powerful counter-narrative to dominant notions of American culture, history, and politics. Resonant with voices of prophecy and resistance, the African American literary tradition runs deep with emancipatory currents that have had an indelible impact on the United States and the world. Mumia Abu-Jamal has been one of our most important contributors to this canon for decades, writing from the confines of the US prison system to give voice to those most silenced by chronic racism, impoverishment, and injustice. Writing on the Wall is a selection of one hundred previously unpublished essays that crystalize Mumia Abu-Jamal's essential perspectives on community, politics, power, social change, and US history. From discussions of Rosa Parks and Trayvon Martin to John Walker Lindh and Edward Snowden, Abu-Jamal articulates lucid, humorous, and often prescient insight into the past, present, and future of American politics and society. Written as radio commentaries from his prison cell in Death Row, where he was held in solitary confinement for close to thirty years, Mumia's revolutionary perspective brims with hope, encouragement, and profound faith in the possibility of social change and redemption. MUMIA ABU-JAMAL is an award-winning journalist and author of two best-selling books, Live From Death Row and Death Blossoms, which address prison life from a critical and spiritual perspective. In 1981 he was elected president of the Association of Black Journalists (Philadelphia chapter). That same year he was arrested for allegedly killing a white police officer in Philadelphia. He was convicted and sentenced to death in 1982, in a process that has been described as an epic miscarriage of justice. After spending more than 28 years on death row, in 2011 his death sentence was vacated when the Supreme Court allowed to stand the decisions of four federal judges who had earlier declared his death sentence unconstitutional. He is now serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole. In spite of his three-decade-long imprisonment, most of which was spent in solitary confinement on Death Row, Abu-Jamal has relentlessly fought for his freedom and for his profession. From prison he has written seven books and thousands of radio commentaries. He holds a BA from Goddard College and an MA from California State University, Dominguez Hills. His books have sold more than 100,000 copies and have been translated into seven languages. JOHANNA FERNÁNDEZ is a former Fulbright Scholar to Jordan and Assistant Professor of History at Baruch College of the City University of New York where she teaches 20th Century US history and African American History. She is author of the forthcoming When the World Was Their Stage: A History of the Young Lords Party, 1968-1976 (Princeton University Press). Fernandez is the writer and producer of the film, Justice on Trial: the Case of Mumia Abu-Jamal and she is featured in the critically acclaimed documentary about Mumia Abu-Jamal, Long Distance Revolutionary. Her writings have been published internationally, from Al Jazeera to the Huffington Post. She gives interviews often and has appeared in a diverse range of print, radio, online and televised media including Democracy Now! with Amy Goodman, the Fox News shows Hannity and Megyn Kelley, Al Jazeera and The New York Times. She is a coordinator of the Campaign to Bring Mumia Home. CORNEL WEST is a scholar, philosopher, activist and author of over a dozen books including his bestseller, Race Matters. He appears frequently in the media, and has appeared on the Bill Maher Show, Colbert Report, CNN and C-Span as well as on Tavis Smiley's PBS TV Show."-- Provided by publisher
Print Book, English, 2015
City Lights Publishers, San Francisco, 2015
xxxvi, 335 pages ; 20 cm.
9780872866751, 0872866750
Foreword / by Cornel West
Introduction / by Johanna Fernández
1. Christmas in a cage
2. Court of law or hall of oppression?
3. Different sides of the same system
4. Long live John Africa
5. 900 years for surviving
6. The Mother's Day massacre
7. The power of truth
8. Christmas in a cage II
9. The Philadelphia negro revisited
10. Birth of a rebel
11. Community service for a Contra Colonel
12. C'mon in, the water's fine
13. Ronald Reagan fiddled while the poor froze
14. Blues for Huey
15. Opposing anti-Arab racism
16. Rodney King
17. Never again
18. Legal oudaws : Bobby's battle for justice September
19. Gangsters in blue
20. Voting for your own repression
21. Welfare reform or war on women?
22. The state of Pennsylvania has every intention of killing me
23. The passing of Kunstler : people's lawyer
24. Fugitive from justice, Veronica Jones
25. When a child is not a child
26. More than police brutality
27. The death machine
28. What Amadou Diallo really means
29. The damning of dissent
30. The life and freedom of Shaka Sankofa (Gary Graham)
31. Texas : the death state
32. The real "constitutional crisis"
33. Many trails of tears
34. Message to the World Congress against the death penalty Strasbourg, France
35. The real meaning of Genoa
36. Land
37. Imperial pique in Durban
38. 9-11 ... Why?
39. When news isn't news
40. War on the waterfront
41. The Cuban 5 and "Homeland Security"
42. Analysis of empire
43. Who's "wilding" who?
44. Governor Ryan's song
45. Black farmers, still fighting
46. To be young, gifted and ... Nina Simone
47. Sons of Malcolm
48. Soldiers of misfortune
49. Black August
50. Forty years in the wilderness
51. The ill-advised Iraq adventure
52. Democracy, dictatorships and empire
53. "Flawed intelligence"
54. In the shadow of Brown
55. Who "we" are
56. "True American values"
57. Another Ronald Reagan, another America
58. America : independent?
59. What would Thomas Paine think?
60. Voting for yesteryear : Alabama dreamin'
61. When the prison goes international
62. Lynne Stewart speaks
63. Whitewashing white crimes
64. Supreme Court Justice calls system "broken"
65. Rosa Parks, Claudette Colvin and Jo Ann Robinson
66. What kids are really learning in school
67. The ongoing war against workers : the TWU Strike
68. FBI surveillance
69. GM and the global war against workers
70. Silence of the lambs
71. Before Guantanamo or Abu Ghraib : the Black Panthers
72. Katrina : one year later
73. No safe age
74. Decolonization : the influence of Africa, and Latin America on the Black Freedom Movement
75. President or priest?
76. 1967 : year of fire, year of rage
77. The latest battle in the war against the poor
78. The perils of black political power
79. Beating back Batson
80. The time for Troy Davis is now
81. Welfare for the rich
82. Israel
83. From Frahtz Fanon to Africa with love
84. With judges like these
85. The other inauguration celebration
86. Black citizenship
87. Union busting
88. Tea Party or Occupy Movement?
89. To my brethen and sistas on the row
90. For a revolutionary black history month
91. Memories for Maroon
92. Beyond Trayvon : when the personal ain't political
93. The real John Carter
94. Ending solitary confinement
95. Obama's re-election : what it means, what it doesn't
96. Martin Luther King : in memory and in life
97. The coming acquittal of Trayvon Martin's killer
98. Puerto Rico : under U.S. colonial law
99. "Of all our studies, history best rewards our research"
100. National Security Agency
101. Martin, women and the movement
102. Land grabs
103. Beatings
104. The historic role of journalism among black people
105. The meaning of Ferguson
106. Ebola
107. Goddard commencement speech
Appendix: 10 reasons why Mumia Abu-Jamal should be freed / by Johanna Fernández