Angela Davis, in her introduction to Mumia Abu Jamal‘s ’09 book Jailhouse Lawyers, called him one of the most important public intellectuals of our time. “As a transformative thinker,” she writes of Mumia, “he has always taken care to emphasize the connections between incarcerated lives and lives that unfold in the putative arenas of freedom.” In his newest book, The Classroom and the Cell: Conversations on Black Life in America with Marc Lamont Hill, Mumia thinks deeply and publicly about a broad range of issues, from Black feminism, to Obama‘s election and presidency, to hip-hop, mass incarceration, public education and the Black church. He quotes Thomas Paine as easily as he references bell hooks. As a man whose spent 30 years on Death Row insisting he’s innocent of murdering Officer Daniel Faulkner, he’s remarkably free of bitterness. He self-describes as a “free Black man living in captivity.”
The incredible news, delivered just yesterday, that Mumia will no longer face the death penalty came just two days before the day that marks his 30th year in prison, December 9th. At the press conference announcing his office’s vacating the death sentence, District Attorney Seth Williams promised Mumia would spend the rest of his life in prison. Still, it was a victory for Mumia and for the Free Mumia campaign, one of the most famous and international of its kind. The support rally in Philly this Friday to mark his three decades is certain to be a call to the many millions across the world who are convinced of Mumia’s innocence, to recommit to his campaign for a new trial and freedom. Guest speakers Cornel West, Michelle Alexander and rapper Immortal Technique couldn’t have anticipated Wednesday’s announcement or the certain boost it’ll provide the rally.
This interview was conducted via letters. Mumia’s answers to my few questions arrived a week before the announcement that his three decades on death row have finally ended.
Read the full interview HERE