Have Black Lives Ever Mattered?

Have Black Lives Ever Mattered?





Shadow Proof
Jul 30, 2017

"In Have Black Lives Ever Mattered?, a recently published book by Abu-Jamal, he writes from his prison cell, taking readers on a journey from slavery's traumatizing past to the brutality of today’s police state."—Roqayah Chamseddine, "Shadowproof"


Excerpt on Truthout
Jul 18, 2017

Interview on Truthout
Jul 16, 2017

New York Journal of Books

"With the recent acquittal of two more police officers in the deaths of unarmed black men, the question posed by the title of this book is as relevant as it ever was. Through a series of concise, clear essays, Mumia Abu-Jamal details the racism against blacks, comparing today's behaviors with the lynchings that were common in the south prior to the decade of the sixties. . . . Have Black Lives Ever Mattered? is powerful, disturbing, well-written, and an important book for our day."—Robert Fantina, New York Journal of Books


Literary Hub

"When enough time has passed, as in when what was staring us in the face can actually be acknowledged, it will be significant that one of the clearest voices on the injustice of our justice system has spent much of his life in prison, and by many accounts, wrongfully. Here Jamal directs his attention at other people who have suffered at the hands of justice, and tells their stories. What a remarkable thing to be doing from the heart of one's own ongoing travesty."––John Freeman


Down With Tyranny!

"Capsulizing the history of white slave patrols, their relationship to today's police departments and a justice system that preserves immunity for officers who kill, Abu-Jamal goes on to suggest how and why
we’ve arrived at such a horrific place in American history."—Denise Sullivan, Down With Tyranny


Drums in the Global Village
Jun 15, 2017

"The columns list the roll call of victims in real time, from Abner Louima to Travyon Martin and beyond. This is a book containing examples of, as one column called it, 'legalized police violence,' killings and abuse 'you pay for . . . every time you pay taxes, endur[ing] this every time you vote for politicians who sell out in an instant.' To Abu-Jamal, 'Americans are blind to everything but color' because 'United States history is a history of denial.'"—Todd Burroughs, "Drums in the Global Village"


Library Journal

"Writer and imprisoned activist Abu-Jamal (Writing on the Wall) assembles commentary written between 1998 and 2017, documenting the historical, contentious relationship between the criminal justice system and the black community. From the beating of Rodney King in 1991 to the death of Tamir Rice in 2014, the author successfully expounds upon their treatment by politicians, media, and the police, while also using historical movements to show how fear, wealth, and government acquiescence normalize police aggression and impunity. In doing so, he sheds light on how each justify the maltreatment of blacks within the justice system and society at large. Abu-Jamal also compares the modern civil rights movement to Black Lives Matter (BLM), detailing the efforts needed to make BLM stronger. These writings draw parallels to court injustices in Philadelphia, where the author was once referred to as "the world's best known death row inmate." VERDICT A must-read for anyone interested in social justice and inequalities, social movements, the criminal justice system, and African American history. An excellent companion to Michelle Alexander's The New Jim Crow and Ava DuVernay's documentary 13th."—Tiffeni Fontno, Boston College Educational Resource Center


"Trump is the Symptom, Not the Disease" by Chris Hedges
May 15, 2017

The persecution of Mumia Abu-Jamal, MOVE members and all the radicals of four decades ago is not ancient history. It is the genesis of the present.


Kirkus Reviews

"These writings date from the late 1990s and often show prescience on the part of the author, who was writing well before the Black Lives Matter movement that 'when the system kills Blacks, there is no outrage, for it has been normalized by centuries of white enslavement, terrorism, and injustice. Such violence is simply the accepted way of how things are.' Also included is a series of articles on the killing of Trayvon Martin, accurately anticipating the acquittal of the white man who shot him, and another series on Ferguson and its aftermath—how 'Ferguson may prove a wake-up call that Black lives matter. A call for youth to build social, radical, revolutionary movements for change.' The last piece is the longest, a pamphlet on how to build such a movement with a historical perspective on why this is necessary."—Kirkus Reviews 


Publishers Weekly

"While the author does reflect on the widely reported cases of police violence against African Americans, as well as on the role of the media in determining what gets attention, the strength of the book rests in the essays that draw attention to lesser-known victims of police violence, particularly women of color whose stories never reached the mainstream media. Over the course of nearly four decades in prison, Abu-Jamal [...] has become an astute student of the justice system as well as a particularly cogent opponent of the death penalty."