A NEW BOOK ON IMPRISONED JOURNALIST/HISTORIAN MUMIA ABU-JAMAL CHRONICLES LAST YEAR’S FIGHT TO SAVE HIM FROM COVID-19

Todd Steven Burroughs
5 min readJun 21, 2022

The Trials Of Mumia Abu-Jamal: A Biography In 25 Voices, A New Release From Diasporic Africa Press, Chronicles Abu-Jamal’s Life and Struggles From Philadelphia Black Panther Party Activist To Elder Black Historian

June 21, 2022

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

For Further Info, Contact:
Todd Steven Burroughs, Ph.D.
toddpanther@gmail.com

Diasporic Africa Press
support@dafricapress.com
www.dafricapress.com

NEWARK, N.J. — When Pennsylvania inmate Mumia Abu-Jamal, arguably the world’s most famous prison writer and broadcaster, was diagnosed with COVID in the spring of 2021, a dedicated band of experienced activists who have spent at least 20 years of their life fighting to get him a new trial went into immediate action. The new, immediate goal? To save his life. After months of long days and longer nights they were successful.

The Trials Of Mumia Abu-Jamal: A Biography In 25 Voices chronicles that struggle, featuring those who combined their voices on YouTube and Zoom, led by Movement legend Dr. Angela Y. Davis and professor Dr. Johanna Fernandez, both award-winning historians who have been leading spokespeople in the fight to get Abu-Jamal, convicted of murder in 1982 and currently serving a life sentence, either a new trial or compassionate release. Abu-Jamal, 68, is a former member of the Philadelphia branch of the Black Panther Party who became an award-winning National Public Radio journalist in the 1970s. In prison, he has written more than 10 books of history and commentary while under constant surveillance and violation of his human rights.

The anthology also narrates Abu-Jamal’s life up to that point and outlines in detail why the criminal justice system must re-examine his very controversial case. The writers, many of whom have either known him or advocated for him for decades, talk about his writing career’s beginnings at the Black Panther newspaper, through his radio days, the trial, his lawyers and those who worked to establish him as the first Black radical blogger and/or cyberspace’s first political prisoner. As the book progresses, Abu-Jamal is discussed as a major writer and scholar. A smattering of pages from Abu-Jamal’s FBI file and graphics and photos directly from Movement veterans over decades round out this strong, scrapbook-like profile.

“If you just chose to write about the legal injustices inflicted on Mumia, as (contributor and Temple University journalism professor) Linn Washington Jr. has done for 40 years, it reads like advocacy,” anthology editor Todd Steven Burroughs writes in the book’s Introduction. “If you just write about the violation of his First Amendment rights, as I have for 27 years now, it reads like representation more than reporting. Mumia Abu-Jamal is an American revolutionary, and that means that a) the state will be merciless and b) the supporters will be small but devout. The wheat and the chaff showed itself in 2011, when he was taken off of Death Row and put in general population, his date to die before his COVID diagnosis as blurred as ours are.”

The anthology’s contributors include:

  • Zayid Muhammad (Foreword)
  • Linn Washington, Jr.
  • Dr. Angela Y. Davis
  • Pam Africa
  • Annette Schiffmann
  • Betsey Piette
  • Colin Kaepernick
  • Daniel P. Blank
  • Dave Lindorff
  • Dick Cluster/Reginald Schell
  • Gabe Bryant (named an honorary contributor because of activism)
  • Santiago Alvarez (named an honorary contributor because of activism)
  • Jacques Lederer
  • Jamal Journal
  • Jennifer Black
  • Joe Davidson
  • Dr. Johanna Fernandez
  • Julia Wright (Post-Script)
  • Dr. Kelly Harris
  • Kevin L. Clark of Essence magazine (interviews Abu-Jamal, so the biographical subject is also listed)
  • Dr. Michael Schiffmann
  • Noelle Hanrahan
  • Miranda Hanrahan Beach
  • YahNe Ndgo

The book can be purchased at Diasporic Africa Press. It is available digitally on Kindle and Nook. Proceeds of this book will go to the Jericho Movement, a coalition of activists who fight for the freedom of Black Panthers and other radicals from prison, and select movement organizations that support Abu-Jamal.

The Trials of Mumia Abu-Jamal: A Biography in 25 Voices.

Edited by Todd Steven Burroughs.

Diasporic Africa Press (May 19, 2022).

Paperback, 320 pages.

ISBN-10: ‎1937306747; ISBN-13: 978–1937306748

Item Weight: ‎15.2 ounces.

Dimensions: ‎6 x 0.67 x 9 inches.

ABOUT THE EDITOR:

Todd Steven Burroughs is a journalist, historian and popular culture geek. A Ph.D. in Communication from the University of Maryland’s Philip Merrill College of Journalism, he is a lifelong student of the history of Black media. He is the author of Warrior Princess: A People’s Biography of Ida B. Wells and Marvel’s Black Panther, A Comic Book Biography, From Stan Lee to Ta-Nehisi Coates, both published by Diasporic Africa Press. His audiobook, Son-Shine On Cracked Sidewalks, is about the 2014 Newark, N.J. mayoral election. He is a co-author with Herb Boyd of the book Civil Rights: Yesterday and Today, and one of four primary authors of the book Civil Rights Chronicle, both published by Legacy Publishing/Publications International. He is the co-editor with Dr. Jared Ball, full professor at Morgan State University’s Africana Studies Department, of the book A Lie of Reinvention: Correcting Manning Marable’s Malcolm X, published by Black Classic Press. He is a contributor to several other books, including Race And Resistance: African-Americans in the Twenty-First Century (South End Press), Putting The Movement Back Into Civil Rights Teaching (Teaching for Change and PRRAC), The Fifties Chronicle (Legacy/Publishing/Publications International), and the Ethnic Media In America scholarly anthology series (Kendall/Hunt). In 2020 he finished a full draft of Talking Drums and Raised Fists: Mumia Abu-Jamal, A Biography Of A Voice and now has to update that book.

ABOUT THE PUBLISHER:

Diasporic Africa Press is an independent, nonprofit, global publisher of serious nonfiction books about the African world. Founded in 2010, DAP is a champion of serious books about the African world, specializing in histories, cultures, literature and language. Targeting adults and young readers, our books are grounded in scholarship, written for accessibility, and designed to support discussion, teaching, and research. DAP’s director and editor-in-chief, Dr. Kwasi Konadu, is the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Endowed Chair and Professor at Colgate University, where he teaches courses in African history and on worldwide African histories and cultures. With extensive archival and field research in West Africa, Europe, Brazil, the Caribbean, and North America, his writings focus on African and African diasporic histories, as well as major themes in world history. He is the author of Our Own Way in This Part of the World: Biography of an African Community, Culture, and Nation (Duke University Press, 2019), (with Clifford Campbell) The Ghana Reader: History, Culture, Politics (Duke University Press, 2016), Transatlantic Africa, 1440–1888 (Oxford University Press, 2014), The Akan Diaspora in the Americas (Oxford University Press, 2010), among other books. A father and husband first and foremost, Konadu is also a healer (Tanɔ ɔbosomfoɔ) who studied with his grandfather in Jamaica and then in Takyiman (central Ghana) as well as a publisher of scholarly books about African world histories and cultures through Diasporic Africa Press. His life work is devoted to knowledge production and the worldwide communities and struggles of peoples of African ancestry.

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Todd Steven Burroughs

Public Historian, scholar, journalist, author, comicbook geek.