Play Launches Showcasing Tupac’s Mom’s Struggle

The Tupac Amaru Center for the Arts (TASCA) recently launched an art exhibit and stage play showcasing the struggle and arrest of Tupac’s mother Afeni Shakur, titled Afeni Shakur: In Her Defense.


The Afeni Shakur: In Her Defense exhibit is a multi-media showcase that highlights Shakur’s arrest as a member of the Black Panthers and her acquittal of 156 felony charges in the Trial of the Panther 21.


In 1969, Afeni Shakur was arrested alongside other members of the civil rights activist group the Black Panthers.


The group was arraigned on over 156 different charges associated with conspiring to destroy New York City department stores, subway stations, and police stations.


At the time of her arrest, Shakur waived her rights to a lawyer, opting to serve as her own legal counsel.


Known as The Trial of the Panther 21, the case captured the nation’s headlines, and would held the distinction at the time, of being the longest and most expensive political trial in the state of New York.


Over the course of two years, Shakur would be incarcerated while awaiting her trial, released on bail numerous times, only to return to her jail cell carrying an unborn child.


Shakur ultimately prevailed against the legal system and was acquitted of all charges just over a month before the birth of her son, world famous rapper Tupac Amaru Shakur.


The exhibit, which will be showcased until March 28, 2007, will feature a collection of photographs, court transcripts, and television news footage documenting the courtroom drama.


Amassed from numerous primary sources, including Shakur’s own private collection, the documents include portions of the oral transcripts from the trial and original television news coverage (from 1969-1971) anchored by CBS’ Walter Cronkite, among other broadcast journalists.


The In Her Defense short play will feature three scenes that are a dramatization, created by court transcripts and a fictional account of Shakur’s time behind bars.


The play is a one-woman show supplemented by Pac’s Kids performers in the roles of the other co-defendants.


The gallery exhibit is free and open to the general public.


Admission to the play is $15 for adults and $10 for students.


Both the Play and Exhibit will be at the Tupac Amaru Shakur Center for the Arts (TASCA), located at 5616 Memorial Drive, Stone Mountain, GA 30083.

Related Stories