My name is Assata (“she who struggles”) Olugbala ( “for the people”) Shakur (“the thankful one”), and I am a 20th century escaped slave. Because of government persecution, I was left with no other choice than to flee from the political repression, racism and violence that dominate the US government’s policy towards people of color. I am an ex political prisoner, and I have been living in exile in Cuba since 1984. I have been a political activist most of my life, and although the U.S. government has done everything in its power to criminalize me, I am not a criminal, nor have I ever been one. In the 1960’s, I participated in various struggles: the black liberation movement, the student rights movement, and the movement to end the war in Vietnam. I joined the Black Panther Party. By 1969,= the Black Panther Party had become the number one organization targeted by the FBI’s COINTELPRO program. Because the Black Panther Party demanded the total liberation of black people, J. Edgar Hoover called it ‘greatest threat to the internal security of the country’ and vowed to destroy it and its leaders and activists.
Taken from her book “Assata: In Her Own Words” (page 19)