Assata Shakur


(born JoAnne Deborah Byron; born 1947 in New York City).  JoAnne was rarely ever home when young and  explored the street life .  She often ran away, staying with strangers and working for short periods of time, until she was taken in by her aunt Evelyn. JoAnne dropped out of High School to get a job and live on her own.  She did get her GED and went to community college where she got involved with political activities.

She was indicted ten times, resulting in seven different criminal trials.

JoAnne is  a former member of the left-wing militant group the Black Liberation Army (BLA), who was convicted in 1977 of the murder of New Jersey State Trooper Werner Foerster during a shootout on the New Jersey Turnpike. She escaped from prison in 1979 and fled to Cuba in 1984, where she found political asylum.

The Chicago Black activist group Assata’s Daughters is named in her honor.   Read more about Assata’s history.

She has written a book called “Assata An Autobiography“.