You may have heard of Mutulu Shakur because he was the stepfather to iconic rapper 2Pac. But there’s a lot more to Shakur’s story than that.
Born Jeral Wayne Williams August 8, 1950, Shakur is a former member of the Black Liberation Army and he remains in jail serving a 60-year prison sentence for his involvement in the infamous 1981 robbery of a Brinks armored truck in which a guard and two police officers were killed.
Here are the 10 things you should know about Shakur.
Shakur was born in Baltimore, Maryland, but when he was seven he moved to Jamaica, Queens, New York City, with his mother and younger sister. Political activism hit him as a late teen when he joined the Revolutionary Action Movement (RAM). He later joined the Republic of New Afrika.
In 1970, Shakur began a career in healthcare when he went to work at the Lincoln Detox (detoxification) Community (addiction treatment) Program. “He became certified and licensed to practice acupuncture in the State of California in 1976. Eventually, he became the program’s assistant director and remained associated with the program until 1978. He went on to help found and direct the Black Acupuncture Advisory Association of North America and the Harlem Institute of Acupuncture,” according to Wikipedia.
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“By the late 1970′s Dr. Shakur’s work in acupuncture and drug detoxification was both nationally and internationally known and he was invited to address members of the medical community around the world. Dr. Shakur lectured on his work at many medical conferences and was invited to the People’s Republic of China. In addition to his work for the Charles Cobb Commission for Racial Justice for the National Council of Churches he developed their anti-drug program,” 2Pac Legacy reported.
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In 1981, Shakur was one of six Black Liberation Army members to commit the robbery of an armored car. According to reports, they stole $1.6 million in cash and in the process, a Brink’s guard was killed and another was seriously wounded. Two Nyack, NY, police officers were also killed, one of whom was the first Black member of Nyack, New York, police department.
According to authorities, Shakur was the ringleader of the group. After the robbery, Shakur evaded capture for six years. In the 1980s, Shakur, still at large, was indicted on Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) charges. He became the 380th person added by the FBI to the Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list. On February 12, 1986, he was arrested in California by the FBI. Shakur was tried in 1987 and convicted on May 11, 1988.His sentence will be completed in 2024.
“He was also convicted for aiding and abetting the escape of Assata Shakur from a New Jersey State Prison after she was sentenced to life for the murder of an NJ State Trooper in 1973. Assata is currently in political asylum in Cuba, where she has been for at least three decades,” The Source reported.
“After serving three decades in a federal penitentiary, freedom fighter and father figure to the late Hip Hop icon Tupac Shakur says that the government is illegally keeping him behind bars,” The Source reported.
Shakur filed a lawsuit against the government of the United States, claiming his Constitutional First Amendment rights are being used against him, to prevent his release.
“As established by letters in the record and Plaintiff’s statement at several parole hearings, throughout his incarceration Plaintiff has been outspoken against gang violence and crime. He has consistently expressed support for peaceful and constructive changes in all matters involving racial disparities and social justice. He has never in 30 years of incarceration supported or in any way implied support for criminal conduct or violence to achieve social justice,” the lawsuit stated.
As soon as Shakur joined the New Afrikan Independence Movement at age 16, he most likely stated to be a “target of the illegal Counterintelligence Program carried out by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (COINTELPRO). This was a secret police strategy used in the U.S. starting in the 1960s to destroy and neutralize progressive and revolutionary organizations. It is believed that Dr. Shakur’s resistance to this program led to his arrest and trial,” 2Pac Legacy reported.
Even while being incarcerated, Shakur founded a New York-based organization named” Dare 2 Struggle that released a 10-year anniversary tribute album for Tupac Shakur called ‘A 2Pac Tribute: Dare 2 Struggle’ in 2006 through music industry veteran Morey Alexander’s First Kut Records and Canadian activist Deejay Ra’s Lyrical Knockout Entertainment…As Shakur explains it, the CD was created in order to motivate, inspire, and challenge Black people to struggle against their obstacles,” according to Wikipedia.
In 1975, she married Mutulu Shakur and had their daughter, Sekyiwa. They got divorced in 1982. Mutulu became stepfather to the lat hip-hop icon 2 Pac.