History doesn’t always recognize all its heroes; there are countless names in the annals of cultural history that don’t ring the same way as others. Malcolm X, Che Guevara, and Nelson Mandela come to mind and are synonymous with the words “hero” and “revolutionary.” And while the name Dr. Mutulu Shakur may not elicit the same infamous recognition, his immeasurable impact on different worlds can’t be understated. It’s almost impossible to tell his story as a linear series of events because there are too many. In fact, his life can be categorized into many stories within stories to weave a tale that almost seems bigger than just one man. His unique political range spans from being a member of the New Afrikan Independence Movement to a modern-day healer who dared to challenge the medical industry with practical and alternative treatments with acupuncture. Furthermore, his political wisdom undeniably influenced his stepson and biggest rapper of all time – Tupac Shakur. The list below includes just some of the pivotal moments of Dr. Shaukur’s life:
- Dr. Shakur was politically active and worked with the Revolutionary Action Movement (RAM), a Black Nationalist group that struggled for Black self-determination and socialist change in America.
- He was a member of the Provisional Government of the Republic of New Afrika, which endorsed the founding of an independent New Afrikan (Black) Republic and the establishment of an independent Black state in the southern U.S.
- Worked very closely with the Black Panther Party, supporting Lumumba and Zayd Shakur.
- Has been a target of the illegal Counterintelligence Program carried out by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (COINTELPRO).
- Dr. Shakur was employed by the Lincoln Detox (detoxification) Community (addiction treatment) Program as a political education instructor. His role evolved to include counseling and treatment of withdrawal symptoms with acupuncture.
- Dr. Shakur became certified and licensed to practice acupuncture in the State of California in 1976. Eventually, he became the Program’s Assistant Director and remained associated with the program until 1978.
- Dr. Shakur’s work in acupuncture and drug detoxification was both nationally and internationally known and he was invited to address members of the medical community around the world.
- Accused of the 1981 Brinks Robbery where his co-defendants were members of the Weatherman group
- Spent 37 years in federal prison, one of the longest-running prison sentences for a political prisoner
This list is not exhaustive, but it does help encompass the gravity of Dr. Shakur’s tremendous sacrifice and commitment to black people across the planet.