The War Before
The True Life Story of Becoming a Black Panther, Keeping the Faith in Prison, and Fighting for Those Left Behind
Published by: The Feminist Press at CUNY
Imprint: The Feminist Press at CUNY
An inspiring memoir from a legendary activist and political prisoner that “reminds us of the sheer joy that comes from resisting civic wrongs” (Truthout).
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 outspoken radicals, and the families left behind. Her account unfolds with immediacy and passion, showing how the struggles of social justice movements of the past have paved the way for the progress—and continued struggle—of today.
With a preface by Bukhari’s daughter, Wonda Jones, a forward by Angela Y. Davis, and edited by Laura Whitehorn, The War Before is a riveting look at the making of an activist and the legacy she left behind.