Thursday, February 4, 2010

Black History Month: Safiya Bukhari & The War Before

This book is just out from the Feminist Press. The War Before: The True Life Story of Becoming a Black Panther, Keeping the Faith in Prison, and Fighting for Those Left Behind. It is a collection of writings, speeches and other documents of the life of the brave soldier for freedom Safiya Bukhari. From her days in the Black Panther Party to her long imprisonment as a victim of COINTELPRO to her leadership of the movement to free death-row political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal, this was a life of struggle and this book traces its course. It is edited by former political prisoner Laura Whitehorn; the foreword is by former political prisoner Angela Davis; the afterword is by Mumia; and the preface is by Wanda Jones, Safiya Bukhari's daughter.

I was lucky enough to meet and hear Safiya Bukhari speak several times in the last couple years of her life--she died at 2003 when she was only 53--which she devoted to fighting for Mumia. It was always an occasion of re-energizing and renewal to hear her sharp political take on the case and her strong call for action. She has been missed. Now this book looks to be a fine tribute to her work.