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A Look At Afeni Shakur’s 1969 Prison Letter As We Celebrate Her Birthday

Celebrating what would have been Afeni Shakur’s 75th birthday, we take a look back at her 1969 letter from prison.

The letter written by Afeni Shakur was featured on the Black Panther Newspaper on Saturday June 7, 1969. Afeni a member of the Black Panther Party wrote the letter hoping to inspire and continue the fight for freedom. The letter along with the Black Panther Party 10-Point Program was shared back in 2020 via the official 2Pac social media accounts.

“I am writing this note in hopes that it will inspire at least one of those paper Panthers to get out into the community and do the work of the people,” Afeni wrote. “During my incarceration, I have found that there is a great need for the sisters and brothers to know the true meaning of “Power To The Power.”

“We will do whatever the people deem necessary to attain these basic needs. We will go to jail, we will be murdered, we will be prosecuted and most of all we will love for the people,” Afeni Shakur wrote in her letter.

In April of 1968, Afeni Shakur was arrested at her Harlem apartment in New York. Afeni was accused of conspiring with other Black Panther members to carry out bombings in New York. Afeni choose to defend herself without any law degree to back her decision, but was eventually acquitted after spending two years in prison. During her time in prison, she was pregnant with Tupac Shakur.

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Afeni spoke about being pregnant in prison, on the official ‘Dear Mama’ music video. Ironically, Tupac would be in prison when the video was released. Featured on Tupac’s third studio album ‘Me Against The World‘, the single would help him become the only rapper at the time to have a number one album while incarcerated.

Fast forward to 2022, the 2Pac Estate once again shared words of wisdom from Afeni on her birthday.

Celebrate life
through the music
through the spoken word
through the splatter of
color on paper
or wood
or iron
or canvas
But celebrate your life
Celebrate your ability
to feel joy and
sadness
Celebrate your ability to Feel!
Only then will we be free to
Feel!

– Afeni Shakur

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