The War Before: The True Life Story of Becoming a Black Panther, Keeping the Faith in Prison, and Fighting for Those Left Behind

Overview

In 1968, Safiya Bukhari witnessed an NYPD officer harassing a Black Panther for selling the organization's newspaper on a Harlem street corner. The young pre-med student felt compelled to intervene in defense of the Panther's First Amendment right; she ended up handcuffed and thrown into the back of a police car.

The War Before traces Bukhari's lifelong commitment as an advocate for the rights of the oppressed. Following her journey from middle-class student to Black Panther to ...

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The War Before: The True Life Story of Becoming a Black Panther, Keeping the Faith in Prison, and Fighting for Those

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Overview

In 1968, Safiya Bukhari witnessed an NYPD officer harassing a Black Panther for selling the organization's newspaper on a Harlem street corner. The young pre-med student felt compelled to intervene in defense of the Panther's First Amendment right; she ended up handcuffed and thrown into the back of a police car.

The War Before traces Bukhari's lifelong commitment as an advocate for the rights of the oppressed. Following her journey from middle-class student to Black Panther to political prisoner, these writings provide an intimate view of a woman wrestling with the issues of her time—the troubled legacy of the Panthers, misogyny in the movement, her decision to convert to Islam, the incarceration of outspoken radicals, and the families left behind. Her account unfolds with immediacy and passion, showing how the struggles of social justice movements have paved the way for the progress of today.

Born in Harlem, Safiya Bukhari joined the Black Panther Party in 1969. Imprisoned for nine years on a robbery and murder charge, Bukhari was released in 1999 and went on to co-found the New York Free Mumia Abu-Jamal Coalition and other organizations advocating for the release of political prisoners. She died in 2003 at the age of 53.

Laura Whitehorn has been a political activist since the 1960s. She spent 14 years in prison for the Resistance Conspiracy case. Released in 1999, she lives in New York City.

Wonda Jones is the daughter of Safiya Bukhari.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"There are speeches about political prisoners in the United States and memories of Safiya Bukhari's]life in the BPP. Together, the sum is considerably greater than the parts. Like a well-composed musical tone poem, the reader leaves this book with a sense of understanding and fulfillment…"—Ron Jacob, Counterpunch.org
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781558616103
  • Publisher: Feminist Press at CUNY, The
  • Publication date: 2/1/2010
  • Pages: 320
  • Product dimensions: 5.28 (w) x 7.54 (h) x 0.62 (d)

Meet the Author


Born in Harlem, Bukhari joined the Black Panther Party in 1969. Imprisoned for nine years, Bukhari then co-founded the New York Free Mumia Abu-jamal Coalition and was co-chair of the Jericho Movemnet to Free US Political Prisoners and Prisoners of War. She died in 2003. Laura Whitehorn was a member of the Weather Underground, a supporter of the Black Civil Rights Movement, and the struggle for Puerto Rican independence. She worked to expose the illegal COINTELPRO of the FBI. Arrested in 1985, she became a defendant in the Resistance Conspiracy Case. She spent fourteen years in prison (released in 1999). She works at Poz magazine. Born in Harlem, Jones is the daughter of Safiya Bukhari. Jones is the director of the Safiya Bukhari - Albert Nuh Washington Foundation, which raises funds for the families of US political prisoners. She is also a nurse and consultant to Field Up Productions, an independent film company that produces documentaries and dramatic features focusing on the Civil Rights era.
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Table of Contents

Preface Wanda Jones Jones, Wanda

Foreword Angela Y. Davis Davis, Angela Y.

Introduction Laura Whitehorn Whitehorn, Laura

1 Coming of Age: A Black Revolutionary 1

2 Testimony: Experiences in the Black Panther Party 18

3 Marriage Contract: Safiya A. Bukhari and Michael M. (Ashanti) Alston 34

4 What is Security? And the Ballot or the Bullet ... Revisited 36

5 Enemies and Friends: Resolving Contradictions 43

6 On the Question of Sexism Within the Black Panther Party 52

7 "Islam and Revolution" Is Not a Contradiction 64

8 We Too Are Veterans: Post-Traumatic Stress Disorders and the Black Panther Party 79

9 This is Worth Fighting For 87

10 On the Question of Political Prisoners 96

11 Building Support for Political Prisoners of War Incarcerated in North America 104

12 Talks on the Black Panther Party and the Black Liberation Struggle 119

13 Lest We Forget 135

14 CBS Tries the New York Three 156

15 Talking About Assata Shakur 168

16 Free Mumia Abu-Jamal! 184

17 COINTELPRO and the Case of Mumia Abu-Jamal 189

18 Safiya Interviews Albert Nuh Washington 196

19 Letter for the Parole of Jalil Muntaqim 202

20 Q&A on Jericho 98 206

21 Debate: Should We Grant Amnesty to America's Political Prisoners? 216

22 Kamau Sadiki: Injustice Continues ... 240

Afterword Mumia Abu-Jamal Abu-Jamal, Mumia 249

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 6, 2011

    A wonderful book

    The incredible story of Safiya Bukhari and her life speaks out to all who have and will struggle for peace and justice. A real insight into the day to day life of a woman organizer who led the life of a revolutionary and created many support groups for all aspects of people's lives. Edited by Laura Whitehorn(a long time politcal activist) who worked with Safiya's daughter, this book speaks out to anyone who decides they have or can take a stand. This book is a road map for the younger generations. This book will join others that tell our story and pass it to those who will carry it forward.Colin NeiburgerMiami, Florida

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 16, 2010

    A Surprising Heroine of The War Before

    Safiya Bukhari's essays provide a unique peek into the workings of the Black Panther Party in the 60's and 70's, and Laura Whitehorn's insightful introduction and brilliant editing allow us to follow Safia's constantly evolving philosophy as well as her growth as an intelligent, passionate, hard working idealist. It's not surprising that this book enhances our understanding of the history of the Black liberation movement. What is surprising is that it should be such a compelling page turner and that we should find ourselves growing increasingly infatuated with Safia and her obsessive, undying effort to gain real freedom and justice for Blacks in America.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 14, 2010

    A Compelling and Important Work

    Safiya Bukhari's "The War Before" is WONDERFUL!!!! Not only does it provide an unusually intimate portrait of a true 20th century American revolutionary but weaves in the untold history of real radicalism in a unique moment of our nation's history while allowing the reader a particular understanding of the continuing legacy of slavery.
    Laura Whitehorn does a superb job combining all these factors while letting Safiya's words speak for themselves. i recommend this book for everyone who wishes a greater understanding of our present society.
    sally obrien-journalist

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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