BIOGRAPHY: The Shakur Family Pt. II: Dr. Mutulu Shakur

This is the second of the 4-part biography series I’m writing on the ‘Shakur’ Family.  I posted Part 1, ‘Assata Shakur‘, last month (Jan. 2013), and Part 3, ‘Afeni Shakur‘, will post next month (Mar. 2013), and I’ll conclude the series in April with Part 4…’Tupac Shakur‘ (had to save the best for last!).

Long before he became a father of two sons; Mopreme and Chinua, and two daughters; Sekiywa and Nzingha, or close friends with Geronimo Pratt, and the stepfather of the late, legendary, rap icon, Tupac; Mutulu Shakur was born, Jeral Wayne Williams, on August 8th, 1950, in Baltimore, MD.  At seven years old, he moved to Queens, NY with his mother and sister, Assata.  He would later relocate to Harlem, NY in 1970.  As with many young, conscientious Black men and women during that time, Mutulu had taken a strong following to the actions and teachings of Malcolm X.  His followings would also include that of the Black Panthers, Civil Rights Movement, and any righteous organization actively fighting for the betterment of Black America.

Mutulu developed his willingness and passion to improve the economic, social, health, and overall well-being of Blacks after assisting his legally blind mother navigate the obstacles and pitfalls of the social service system.  He soon discovered that the end result would conclude it was an American assistance program designed to practically help, aid, and assist everyone—Except Blacks—The program did not truly have the best interest of Blacks in mind.  It was this discovery that prompted him to study acupuncture.

Mutulu’s work with acupuncture would open many unimaginable and unforeseen doors for him. In 1970, he began providing treatment to drug addicts at The Lincoln Detoxification Community ProgramHowever, it wouldn’t be until 1976, that he would officially become certified by the State of California to practice acupuncture; which would eventually position him as Assistant Director of the Lincoln Detoxification Program, as well as gain him national, and international recognition through lectures and conferences including an invitation to China for such an occasion.  When his tenure with the Lincoln Detoxification Program ended in 1978, Mutulu went on to co-found and manage both, The Harlem Institute of Acupuncture and The Black Acupuncture Advisory Association of North America (BAAANA) until 1982, when his legal troubles became unavoidable.

As with his sister, Assata, and brother, Zayd, Mutulu’s political beliefs, affiliations, and alleged actions, would herald him into a whirlwind of legal difficulties, court cases, arrests, interrogations, and ultimately—Imprisonment.  At the age of sixteen, Mutulu became a direct target of the FBI’s illegal operation, COINTELPRO, primarily based upon his membership into The Republic of New Afrika.  Mutulu would remain within the FBI’s scopes and sights through his active roles in The Revolutionary Action Movement (RAM), and The Black Liberation Army (BLA).  It would also be the derogatory reputation and alleged criminal behavior and actions of these organizations and their members that would eventually place him amongst the FBI’s Top 10 most wanted list.

Unfortunately, Dr. Mutulu Shakur has become most noted or known for a criminal past, such as the October 20th, 1981 robbery of a Brinks Armored Truck, rather than his work and accomplishments with acupuncture.  The robbery took place in Nanuet, New York, and claimed the lives of one Brinks security guard/driver, and as well as two New York policemen, attempting to reclaim the estimated $1.6 million dollars during a shootout with a host of BLA members, including Shakur.  The FBI also labeled Mutulu as the mastermind behind Assata Shakur’s November 2nd, 1979 prison escape from Clinton’s Correctional Facility for Women.  Using the newly formed, RICO Act, Mutulu was indicted in 1982 for his alleged participation in both the Brinks robbery and Assata Shakur’s prison escape.  It is believed that during the time of his indictment, Dr. Shakur had already been in hiding since 1981, and remained underground until his capture and arrest on February 11th, 1986.

Dr. Mutulu Shakur, now 61, was sentenced to 60 years at the Administrative Maximum Facility in Florence, CO, where he’s currently serving out the 25th year of his sentence.  Since his incarceration, and as expected, Dr. Shakur has continued his work for the advancement of Blacks, as well as, strengthen his role and position as one of our most acknowledged and profound activists. He’s featured in a book of essays by Jonathan Franzen, entitled, ‘How To Be Alone’, which was published in 2002, he’s been featured on the hit cable series, ‘American Gangster’, which airs on both, the BET and Centric cable networks.  He’s founded, the black youth encouragement program, ‘Dare 2 Struggle’, which inspires young kids to be more and do more, as well as learn more about Tupac’s life.  In 2006, he released a 10 year recording tribute to his late stepson, entitled; ‘A Tupac Tribute: Dare 2 Struggle’.

During his incarceration, prior to Tupac’s death, which Mutulu describes as an FBI assassination, Mutulu makes it clear that The Federal Bureau of Prisons, intentionally did everything within their power to keep him and Tupac separated.  Nonetheless, you can see an interview with Mutulu during the Tupac documentary, ‘Tupac: Resurrection’ in which he discusses certain aspects of his relationship with Tupac, as well as other topics.  It’s no doubt, Dr. Mutulu Shakur has had a far more positive influence among Blacks, than a negative one, so let’s pray he remains on track for the early release date of February 10th, 2016.






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