Afeni Shakur was born as Alice Faye Williams in Lumberton, North Carolina, on January 22, 1947. As a child she witnessed her mother suffer abuse at the hands of her father. Her mother and father would later split up. Alice her mother and her sister moved to the Bronx, New York in 1958 where she attended the Bronx High School of Science. Looking to cope with the demons from her past, she began using cocaine at the age of15.This was a problem that would affect her later in life. At the age of 19 Alice Williams met Malcolm X and it was said to her spur her towards joining the Black Panther Party. In 1964 Alice Williams joined the Black Panther Party as a writer for the Panther Post. After joining the Black Panther Party Williams became involved with and married Lummumba Shakur. During their relationship Alice Williams changed her name to Afeni Shakur.
During the 1960’s Shakur experienced frequent encounters with law enforcement. In 1969 Shakur and fellow Panthers were charged with multiple counts of conspiracy to bomb police stations and other public places. Shakur was arrested but released on bail, during her time out on bail she conceived her son. Shortly after being released from jail Shakur’s bail was revoked and she returned to jail. Shakur was in jail until her trial date. Once her trial date came she successfully defended herself in court. She was acquitted of all charges and regained her freedom.
After winning her trail she gave birth to her son Lesane Parish better known as Tupac Shakur. Afeni Shakur never returned to the Black Panther Party but she retained all the core values she learned as a member. She began working as a paralegal with Richard Fischbein; during this time she would marry Mutulu Shakur and conceive her daughter. Afeni’s relationship with Mutulu ended in 1982. In 1984 she would move to Baltimore, Maryland with her son and daughter.
While in Baltimore her son Tupac was able to attend the Baltimore School of Performing Arts. During the 1980’s Shakur would once again battle drug addiction; a battle she would eventually win. Afeni would experience another tragedy in the murder of her son Tupac Shakur. In 1997 after the death of her son, Afeni Shakur established Amaru Entertainment. She would later establish the Tupac Amaru Foundation of the Arts. Makaveli Brand Clothing was established in 2003; proceeds from the sales helped establish the Tupac Shakur Center for the Arts located in Stone Mountain, Georgia. A biography was written about Afeni Shakur in 2004 by the actress Jasmine Guy. Afeni Shakur is more than just the mother of the late great Tupac Shakur. Mrs. Shakur is a beacon of light we can look to in our dark times.
She became a political activist, a prominent speaker and a well-known philanthropist. Her life began with troubled times and she often faced more bad days than good. Afeni Shakur showed her strength and determination to overcome hardship and achieve greatness. She learned how to care for and uplift her people as a Black Panther. She also taught her children the valuable principles of the Panthers which helped to enhance their lives. Afeni Shakur was a brave and brilliant woman. Mrs. Afeni Shakur, we stand on your shoulders.
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