Former Black Panther Party for Self-Defense and Black Liberation Army Afeni Shakur-Davis has died in Sausalito, California according to the Marin County Sheriff’s Office. Afeni Shakur-Davis was sixty-nine years old at the time of her death.
Preliminary reports are indicating that Marin County Sheriffs Deputies responded to a report of a possible cardiac arrest at Shakur-Davis’ residence late Monday night. Ms. Shakur died at 10:28 p.m. Monday Night.
The hip-hop community was introduced to Afeni Shakur as the mother of rap superstar Tupac Amaru Shakur, however, her biggest contribution to her people flowed from her role in the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense’s New York Chapter where she was an active member fighting for “the liberation and salvation of the Black Nation.”
The person that the world knows as Afeni Shakur was born Alice Faye Williams to Rosa Belle, homemaker, and Walter Williams, Jr., a trucker, in Lumberton, North Carolina on January 10, 1947. Lumberton, North Carolina was a notable depot in the local timber industry located along the Lumber River.
After her parents separated, Rosa Belle moved her two daughters to New York City in 1958 where they would attend the Bronx High School of Science. It was in New York City that Afeni became a prominent member of the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense.
Afeni Shakur’s primary contribution to the Black Panther Party came through her writing for the Panther newsletter, the Panther Post, and creating a campaign to convince FBI agents that the Black Panther Party was on its last legs.
On April 2, 1969, Afeni and twenty other Black Panther Party members were arrested on a host of charges that revolved around plots to bomb myriad locations in New York City; those arrested became known as the Panther 21. While out on bail, Afeni was impregnated by William Garland; unfortunately for Shakur, her bail was revoked and she, and her unborn child, was returned to jail until her trial. The Panther 21 went to trial in 1971 and was ultimately found not guilty of the charges in May of 1971. Afeni Shakur gave birth to her child Lesane Parish Crooks on June 16, 1971; she would later call this child Tupac Amaru Shakur. Tu´pac Amaru was a South American revolutionary who led his people against Spanish tyranny; he was executed by his oppressors. “Tupac Amaru” means “shining serpent” and “Shakur” is Arabic for “thankful to God.”
She will be remembered as not only a political activist, but also a philanthropist who created the Tupac Amaru Shakur Foundation and battled Death Row Records for the rights to her beloved son’s recordings. May she rest in eternal peace and power.
Dr. James Thomas Jones III
©Manhood, Race and Culture, 2016.