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Writing on the Wall: Selected Prison Writings of Mumia Abu-Jamal

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Revolutionary love, revolutionary memory and revolutionary analysis are at work in every page written by Mumia Abu-Jamal ... His writings are a wake-up call. He is a voice from our prophetic tradition, speaking to us here, now, lovingly, urgently. Black man, old-school jazz man, freedom fighter, revolutionary--his presence, his voice, his words are the writing on the wall.--Cornel West, from the foreword

From the first slave writings to contemporary hip hop, the canon of African American literature offers a powerful counter-narrative to dominant notions of American culture, history and politics. Resonant with voices of prophecy and resistance, the African American literary tradition runs deep with emancipatory currents that have had an indelible impact on the United States and the world. Mumia Abu-Jamal has been one of our most important contributors to this canon for decades, writing from the confines of the U.S. prison system to give voice to those most silenced by chronic racism, impoverishment and injustice.

Writing on the Wall is a selection of more than 100 previously unpublished essays that deliver Mumia Abu-Jamal's essential perspectives on community, politics, power, and the possibilities of social change in the United States. From Rosa Parks to Edward Snowden, from the Trail of Tears to Ferguson, Missouri, Abu-Jamal addresses a sweeping range of contemporary and historical issues. Written mostly during his years of solitary confinement on Death Row, these essays are a testament to Abu-Jamal's often prescient insight, and his revolutionary perspective brims with hope, encouragement and profound faith in the possibility of redemption.

Greatness meets us in this book, and not just in Mumia's personal courage and character. It's in the writing. This is art with political power, challenging institutional injustice in the U.S. while catalyzing our understanding, memory and solidarities for liberation and love. Writing on the Wall can set the nation aflame--yes, for creating new possible worlds.--Mark Lewis Taylor, Professor of Theology and Culture, Princeton Theological Seminary

Mumia Abu-Jamal is an award-winning journalist and author of two best-selling books, Live From Death Row and Death Blossoms.

Johanna Fern ndez is a Fulbright Scholar and Professor of History at Baruch College in New York City.

Cornel West is a scholar, philosopher, activist and author of over a dozen books including his bestseller, Race Matters. He appears frequently in the media, and has appeared on Real Time with Bill Maher, The Colbert Report, CNN and C-Span as well as Tavis Smiley.


ISBN-13: 9780872866751

Media Type: Paperback

Publisher: City Lights Books

Publication Date: 06-30-2015

Pages: 333

Product Dimensions: 7.90h x 5.50w x 1.20d

Series: City Lights Open Media


MUMIA ABU-JAMAL is an award-winning journalist and author of two best-selling books, Live From Death Row and Death Blossoms, which address prison life from a critical and spiritual perspective. In 1981 he was elected president of the Association of Black Journalists (Philadelphia chapter). That same year he was arrested for allegedly killing a white police officer in Philadelphia. He was convicted and sentenced to death in 1982, in a process that has been described as an epic miscarriage of justice. After spending more than 28 years on death row, in 2011 his death sentence was vacated when the Supreme Court allowed to stand the decisions of four federal judges who had earlier declared his death sentence unconstitutional. He is now serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole. In spite of his three-decade-long imprisonment, most of which was spent in solitary confinement on Death Row, Abu-Jamal has relentlessly fought for his freedom and for his profession. From prison he has written seven books and thousands of radio commentaries. He holds a BA from Goddard College and an MA from California State University, Dominguez Hills. His books have sold more than 100,000 copies and have been translated into seven languages.

JOHANNA FERNÁNDEZ is a former Fulbright Scholar to Jordan and Assistant Professor of History at Baruch College of the City University of New York where she teaches 20th Century US history and African American History. She is author of the forthcoming When the World Was Their Stage: A History of the Young Lords Party, 1968-1976 (Princeton University Press). Fernandez is the writer and producer of the film, Justice on Trial: the Case of Mumia Abu-Jamal and she is featured in the critically acclaimed documentary about Mumia Abu-Jamal, Long Distance Revolutionary. Her writings have been published internationally, from Al Jazeera to the Huffington Post. She gives interviews often and has appeared in a diverse range of print, radio, online and televised media including Democracy Now! with Amy Goodman, the Fox News shows Hannity and Megyn Kelley, Al Jazeera and The New York Times. She is a coordinator of the Campaign to Bring Mumia Home.

CORNEL WEST is a scholar, philosopher, activist and author of over a dozen books including his bestseller, Race Matters. He appears frequently in the media, and has appeared on the Bill Maher Show, Colbert Report, CNN and C-Span as well as on Tavis Smiley's PBS TV Show.