For the ecuator of this list of 13 Books that changed history, we want to recommend a text that was undoubtedly (and continues to be) an intellectual reference, but also a reliable testimony to the struggles for the liberation of the black community: We Want Freedom: A Life In The Black Panther Party, by Mumia Abu-Jamal.
This is a work in which the author offers an account of the memories and experiences lived in first person as a member of the Black Panther Party, complemented by a direct and critical analysis of the history of the struggles of the black community (specifically the African-American one) for achieving, from dignity, their liberation, recognition of identity and respect.
Abu-Jamal (born Wesley Cook) is a political activist born in the mid-20th century who became involved in the movement called black nationalism from a young age, focused on the defense and visibility of African American identity. A member of the Black Panther Party for a short period of time (during the first years of the party’s life), in 1975 he began his career as a journalist (always critical and committed to his ideas). In 1982 he was found guilty of the murder of a policeman and sentenced to death, a crime for which he always pleaded not guilty. In 2011, his sentence was commuted to life in prison. The long years in prison gave Abu-Jamal time to publish a good number of texts reflecting on African-American identity, racial discrimination, censorship or the loss of freedom , among other topics. Some of his publications: Live from Death Row (1996), The Faith of Our Fathers: An Examination of the Spiritual Life of African and African American People (2003), The Classroom and the Cell: Conversations on Black Life in America (2017) or the aforementioned We Want Freedom (2008). The activist always had the support of the political left, the alternative world groups and the black nationalist movement.
The objective facts and the personal and subjective sensations related by Abu-Jamal in this book compose a canvas on which it is possible to read the history of a movement for freedom struggle, achieved through the search for a counter-power of a revolutionary nature, while constructive, with a clear and challenging ideology, but also capable of proposing and carrying out a real management alternative that knew how to improve people’s lives on a daily basis through communitarianism.
Image by Associated Press.