Mumia Abu-Jamal is an award-winning journalist, political activist, and author. In 1981, he was elected president of the Association of Black Journalists (Philadelphia chapter) and was a radio reporter for National Public Radio (NPR). As part of a team of reporters at WHYY, one of NPR's premier stations, he won the prestigious Major Armstrong Award from Columbia University for excellence in broadcasting.
On December 9, 1981, Abu-Jamal was shot, arrested, and charged for killing a white police officer in Philadelphia. In 1982 he was convicted and sentenced to death in a trial that Amnesty International determined "clearly failed to meet minimum international standards safeguarding the fairness of legal proceedings." After he had spent over 28 years on Death Row, in 2011 Abu-Jamal’s death sentence was vacated when the Supreme Court affirmed the decisions of four federal judges who had declared his death sentence unconstitutional. He is now serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole. Throughout his decades of imprisonment, most of which was spent in solitary confinement on Death Row, Abu-Jamal has steadfastly maintained his innocence.
Abu-Jamal obtained his GED in prison in July 1992; he earned his BA from Goddard College in January 1996; he was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Law degree from the New College of California in May1996; and in 1999, he earned a Masters of Arts degree from California State University, Dominguez Hills. He is currently working on his Ph.D.
Abu-Jamal has produced radio commentaries with Prison Radio for decades, and has authored more than 10 books, including Death Blossoms, Live From Death Row, We Want Freedom, Jailhouse Lawyers, The Classroom and the Cell, Murder Incorporated, Writing on the Wall, and Have Black Lives Ever Mattered?
In late 2018, Abu-Jamal’s right to appeal was reinstated by a Philadelphia judge. The ongoing fight for his freedom continues.