Amerikan Family, An
The Shakurs and the Nation They Created
by Santi Elijah Holley
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Pub Date 23 May 2023 | Archive Date 18 Jul 2023
An enlightening history of the rise and lasting impact of Black liberation groups in America, as seen through the Shakurs, one of the movement’s most prominent and fiercely creative families, home to Tupac and Assata, and a powerful incubator for today’s activism, scholarship, and artistry.
They have been celebrated, glorified, and mythologized. They have been hailed as heroes, liberators, and freedom fighters. They have been condemned, pursued, imprisoned, exiled, and killed. But the true and complete story of the Shakur family—one of the most famous names in contemporary Black American history—has never been told.
For over fifty years, the Shakurs have inspired generations of activists, scholars, and music fans. Many people are only familiar with Assata Shakur, the popular author and thinker, living for three decades in Cuban exile; or the late rapper Tupac. But the branches of the Shakur family tree extend widely, and the roots reach into the most furtive and hidden depths of the underground.
An Amerikan Family is a history of the fight for Black liberation in the United States, as experienced and shaped by the Shakur family. It is the story of hope and betrayal, addiction and murder, persecution and revolution. An Amerikan Family is not only family genealogy; it is the story of Black America’s long struggle for racial justice and the nation’s covert and repressive tactics to defeat that struggle. It is the story of a small but determined community, taking extreme, unconventional, and often perilous measures in the quest for freedom. In short, the story of the Shakurs is the story of America.