The War Before
The War Before
The True Life Story of Becoming a Black Panther, Keeping the Faith in Prison, & Fighting for Those Left Behind
Edited by Laura Whitehorn
Preface by Wonda Jones
Foreword by Angela Y. Davis
Afterword by Mumia Abu-Jamal
In 1968, Safiya Bukhari witnessed an NYPD officer harassing a Black Panther for selling the organization’s newspaper on a Harlem street corner. The young pre-med student felt compelled to intervene in defense of the Panther’s First Amendment right; she ended up handcuffed and thrown into the back of a police car.
The War Before traces Bukhari’s lifelong commitment as an advocate for the rights of the oppressed. Following her journey from middle-class student to Black Panther to political prisoner, these writings provide an intimate view of a woman wrestling with the issues of her time—the troubled legacy of the Panthers, misogyny in the movement, her decision to convert to Islam, the incarceration of out spoken radicals, and the families left behind. Her account unfolds with immediacy and passion, showing how the struggles of social justice movements have paved the way for the progress of today.
"There are speeches about political prisoners in the United States and memories of Safiya Bukhari's life in the BPP. Together, the sum is considerably greater than the parts. Like a well-composed musical tone poem, the reader leaves this book with a sense of understanding and fulfillment…" —CounterPunch