Mutulu Shakur





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Mutulu Shakur (born Jeral Wayne Williams) is an American activist who led far-left Black nationalist and separatist groups in the late 1960s and 1970s. He co-founded the Republic of New Afrika Movement, was a member of New Afrikan Independence Movement, and worked in collaboration with the Black Panther Party. 1 2

In 1986, Shakur was arrested in connection with a 1981 armed robbery of an armored truck in which two police and one security officer were murdered. 3 He was found guilty of racketeering for his involvement in that robbery and other offenses. 4 Shakur was sentenced to 60 years in prison. Left-wing activists including the Movement for Black Lives have organized a campaign petitioning for his release. 5

Shakur is also notable for being the stepfather of rap artist Tupac Shakur. 6


In 1970, Mutulu Shakur began working for the Lincoln Detox Community as a political education instructor. There, he became responsible for administering counseling and acupuncture treatment for drug addicts experiencing withdrawal. In 1976, Shakur was licensed by the state of California to provide acupuncture and later became the assistant director. 7

In 1978, Shakur cofounded and was the codirector of Black Acupuncture Advisory Association of North America (BAAANA) and the Harlem Institute of Acupuncture, which advocated for and provided acupuncture to treat drug addiction. 8

Political Activism

At age 16, Shakur joined the New Afrikan Independence Movement, causing him to become a target of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s COINTELPRO operation. 9 It was a Black nationalist and separatist movement that advocated for the formation of an independent nation-state for descendants of slaves. As part of the group’s demands, it wanted to be given land from South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana as well as financial restitution as a form of reparations for slavery and subsequent injustices. 10

In 1968, Shakur cofounded the Republic of New Afrika, a Black nationalist and separatist organization that sought to create an independent Black nation from the southeastern United States, advocated for Congress to authorize billions of dollars in reparations to descendants of slaves, and demanded a referendum to allow descendants of slaves to renounce their U.S. citizenship. 11 12 Shakur was also a member of the movement’s provisional government. 13

In the late 1960s and up until his incarceration, Dr. Shakur was an active member of the Revolutionary Action Movement (RAM). 14 RAM advocated for the existing Marxist and black nationalist organizations of the civil rights movement to take up arms and form a militia so they could more effectively advocate for Black nationalism and socialism. 15


  1. “Bio.” March 21, 2021.
  2. “Free Dr. Mutulu Shakur.” OrganizeFor. Accessed August 29, 2022.
  3. Batson, Bill. “Nyack Sketch Log: The Brink’’ Robbery.” Nyack News & Views. October 19, 2021.
  4. “Shakur, Mutulu: Jericho Movement.” SHAKUR, MUTULU | Jericho Movement. Accessed August 29, 2022.
  5. Movement for Black Lives. “This Black August, We Are Calling for the Freedom of These 5 Political Prisoners, and You Can Help.” Medium. August 11, 2022.
  6. Medina, Wendy. “Activists Demand Release of Tupac Shakur’s Stepfather after Prison Doctors Give Him 6 Months to Live.” Black Enterprise. Black Enterprise, July 23, 2022.
  7. “Bio.” March 21, 2021.
  8. “Bio.” March 21, 2021.
  9. “Bio.” March 21, 2021.
  10. “Birth of the New Afrikan Independence Movement: A Historical Overview.” UNC Press Blog. February 23, 2022.
  11. Taifa, N. (2015). Republic of New Afrika. In M. Shujaa, & K. Shujaa (Eds.). The SAGE encyclopedia of African Cultural Heritage in North  America (pp. 734-735). SAGE Publications, Inc.,
  12. “Home.” Accessed August 8, 2022.
  13. “Bio.” March 21, 2021.
  14. “Bio.” March 21, 2021.
  15. Allen, Earnest. “Archives & Special Collections: Black Revolutionary Action Movement [1960-1970].” E. H. Butler Library. Accessed August 29, 2022.
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