Mumia Abu Jamal

Wesley Cook was born in 1954. While he was protesting at a George Wallace for president rally in 1968, several white men attacked him. He claims that two men grabbed him. One kicked his face and skull, while the other kicked him in the groin. As the beating progressed, "he looked up and saw the two-toned gold-trimmed pant leg of a Philadelphia police officer." He yelled for the police, who saw him on the ground being beaten to a pulp. "A police officer marched over briskly, and kicked him in the face."1 "I have been thankful to that faceless cop ever since, for he kicked me straight into the Black Panther Party."2 Wesley Cook became a founding member of the Black Panther Party's Philadelphia chapter in 1969 at the age of 15.
After joining mainstream news organizations in the 1970's, Wesley Cook changed his name to Mumia Abu-Jamal. As a teenage journalist, Jamal took an interest in stories about police brutality. Jamal was known to be a rare talent of radio journalism. He had a powerful intellect and a burning empathy for poor people. He was known as a skillful interviewer and became a well-known figure in local broadcasting journalism. Jamal appeared on National Public Radio, the National Black Network, and local Philadelphia stations including WUHY-FM (now WHYY). He had a lot of admiring friends in journalism and politics, and had no prior record of crime or violence. Despite his personal experience of police brutality and years as a teenage Black Panther, he kept his noise clean even under the microscope of the FBI and Philadelphia police surveillance.
By the late 1970's, Jamal was also an ardent sympathizer and supporter of MOVE – a black militant antiestablishment, antipolice group. He started wearing his hair in long dreadlocks like a MOVE member. By mid 1981, Jamal's growing obsession with MOVE had compromised his standing as a journalist and cost him his job at WUHY. H…

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