Less than a year after his widely celebrated prison release, acupuncturist and Black liberation elder Dr. Mutulu Shakur has died. He was 72.
In their joint announcement, the New Afrikan People’s Organization and Malcolm X Grassroots Movement paid homage to Shakur, a member of the Provisional Government of the Republic of New Afrika and the Black Liberation Army.
“Dr. Mutulu Shakur’s life was transformative to the many people he organized, healed, mentored and inspired,” their statement read. “He taught us that ‘people struggle for liberation because they love the people.’ He will always be remembered for his commitment to an independent and socialist New Afrika and for his battle cry, ‘Straight Ahead!’”
In the 1970s, Shakur, the stepfather of late hip-hop artist Tupac Shakur, launched the Lincoln Hospital Detoxification Program. The program, based in the Bronx, New York, provided heroin addicts acupuncture-based drug treatment, what became known as “the Lincoln Protocol.”
Recipients of ‘the Lincoln Protocol’ also studied Black liberation theology and, in some cases, followed Shakur’s path to become acupuncturists in their own right.
Years later, in the late 1980s, Shakur would be convicted for his involvement in an armored car robbery that claimed the lives of two security guards.
Shakur’s release during the latter part of 2022 culminated a years-long campaign spearheaded by a litany of grassroots organizers including the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, the Rev. Graylan Hagler, Attorney Nkechi Taifa and acupuncturist Kokayi Patterson.
Last July, organizers stood in front of the U.S. Department of Justice in demand of Shakur’s early compassionate release. Around that time, Shakur, a wheelchair user, weighed less than 130 pounds. Though he overcame COVID-19 three times, Shakur was still battling stage three bone marrow cancer, hypertension, type 2 Diabetes, and glaucoma.
Even so, Charles Haight, Jr., the same person who doled out Shakur’s 60-year prison-sentence, denied Shakur’s early compassionate release. All the while, organizers had been raising funds for what they hoped would be Shakur’s release. Once out of prison, Shakur spent his last months with family and comrades in Southern California.
On Friday, people poured out condolences and reflections online.
Black Lives Matter DC acknowledged Shakur on its Twitter account.
“Straight ahead Baba Mutulu,” Black Lives Matter DC tweeted in its commemoration.
Scholars and activists also took to social media to explain why they could never support Democratic and Republican politicians who colluded to keep political prisoners incarcerated. In another post, an activist played a video in which Shakur explained why all Black people in the U.S. are prisoners of war.
Information about memorial service to come in a future story.
Source: Washington Informer