AN AMERIKAN FAMILY (The Shakurs and The Nation They Created) (Hardcover)
A NEW YORK TIMES EDITORS' PICK
Longlisted for the 2024 Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence
"Magnificent…. A uniquely intimate history of Black liberation." –Los Angeles Times
The long overdue story of the Shakurs, persistent fighters in the U.S. struggle for racial justice, and one of the most prominent, influential and fiercely creative families in recent history
For over fifty years, the Shakurs have inspired generations of activists, scholars, and music fans. Many people are only familiar with Assata Shakur, the popular author and thinker, living for three decades in Cuban exile; or the late rapper Tupac. But the branches of the Shakur family tree extend widely, and the roots reach into the most furtive and hidden depths of the underground. Whether founding one of the most notorious Black Panther chapters in the country, spearheading community-based healthcare, or engaging in armed struggle with systemic oppression, the Shakurs were at the forefront.
They have been celebrated, glorified, and mythologized. They have been hailed as heroes, liberators, and freedom fighters. They have been condemned, pursued, imprisoned, exiled, and killed. But the true and complete story of the Shakur family—one of the most famous names in contemporary Black American history—has never been told.
An Amerikan Family is a history of the fight for Black liberation in the United States, as experienced and shaped by the Shakurs. It is a story of hope and betrayal, addiction and murder, persecution and revolution. Drawing from hundreds of hours of personal interviews, historical archives, court records, transcripts, and other rare documents, An Amerikan Family tells the complete and often devastating story of Black America’s long struggle for racial justice and the nation’s covert and repressive tactics to defeat that struggle. It is the story of a small but determined community, taking extreme, unconventional, and often perilous measures in the quest for freedom.
In short, the story of the Shakurs is the story of America.