The Family Statement Honoring Mutulu’s Life and Legacy

Dr. Mutulu Shakur, a highly esteemed acupuncturist, healer, revolutionary, and leader in the Black liberation movement, peacefully passed away on Friday, July 7, 2023 at 72 years old. He courageously battled multiple myeloma, a blood cancer that damages the bones and kidneys, since 2019. In December 2022, he was released on parole from federal prison, affording him the opportunity to spend his remaining days surrounded by loved ones. Having endured nearly 37 years of incarceration, his profound legacy will serve as a timeless inspiration for future generations.

Born Jeral Wayne Williams on August 8, 1950, in Baltimore, Maryland, Dr. Mutulu Shakur was raised in Jamaica, Queens, under the loving care of his blind mother. It was within the struggle of helping his mother navigate an unjust social service system that his political consciousness awakened. At the tender age of 16, he joined the New Afrikan Independence Movement, and in the late 1960s, he actively participated in the Revolutionary Action Movement (RAM), a Black Nationalist group advocating for Black self-determination and socialist change across the nation.

Driven by his unwavering commitment to the cause, Dr. Mutulu Shakur was a conscious citizen of the Provisional Government of the Republic of New Afrika. He was a leader of the Black Liberation Army (BLA), and worked closely with the Black Panther Party. He was a founding member of the New Afrikan People’s Organization (NAPO) and Malcolm X Grassroots Movement (MXGM), acting as a pillar of strength and leadership.

While his revolutionary activism influenced countless lives, Dr. Mutulu Shakur also made groundbreaking contributions as an acupuncturist, affectionately known as “Doc.” After receiving training in Canada and China, he obtained his license in California in 1979. Dr. Mutulu Shakur practiced holistic medicine with unwavering dedication, working tirelessly to empower his community. His journey started at Lincoln Detox, an addiction treatment program. The program was founded in 1970 in the South Bronx, by a coalition that included revolutionary healthcare workers, the Black Panther Party, the Young Lords and drug-addicted individuals seeking treatment. Dr. Mutulu Shakur served as executive director and pioneered the use of acupuncture in treating withdrawal symptoms. His innovative five-point protocol, which remains widely used in addiction treatment today, brought relief and healing to countless individuals. In the late 1970s, he co-founded and co-directed the Black Acupuncture Advisory Association of North America (BAAANA) and the Harlem Institute of Acupuncture, both established
during a time when acupuncture faced legal challenges in New York. Dr. Mutulu Shakur’s influential work in acupuncture continues to resonate in clinics and treatment centers across the globe.

In 1988, Dr. Mutulu Shakur faced a profound legal ordeal. He was convicted for leading a group of revolutionaries involved in a series of armed robberies in New York and Connecticut in 1981. The charges were brought against him under the conspiracy to violate the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act and included his role in the liberation of fellow activist Assata Shakur from a New Jersey prison in 1979.

While incarcerated, Dr. Shakur was active in various prison programs and was a mentor to many within the system. He prepared a lot of young men on how to handle life in prison and for life after release.

Dr. Shakur was deeply influential in the social and political messaging of his sons’ creative output. Ever present as a mentor, even while imprisoned, he was instrumental in developing the Thug Code, which created a framework for the brothers’ vision to create a social movement with the group THUG LIFE as the voice.

Dr. Mutulu Shakur is survived by his six children – Maurice “Mopreme” Shakur [Talia], Talib Shakur [Nichole], Ayize Jama-Everett, Sekyiwa “Set” Kai Shakur [Branden], Nzingha Shakur-Ali, and Chinua Mutulu Shakur. Additionally, he is fondly remembered by his six grandchildren — Nzingha Afeni Shakur, Malik Mutulu Shakur, Cheyenne Kai Harding, Tyrone Campbell, Cameron Rahmell Jackson and Mia Voight, his loving sisters Sharon Howell, Janice Ruth Williams and Yaasmyn Fula, his brothers Sekou Odinga [Dequi], Bilal Sunni-Ali and Watani Tyehimba [Ahadi], (many) nieces and nephew — Nicole Howell, Sharon N. Williams, Tyree N. Williams and Chandra D. Williams-Phillips, and his godchildren — Aiyisha T. Obafemi, Chaka Zulu, Iras Levi, Zayd Akinshegun Sefu Akinyela, Kamau Ayyubi, Sulay Majid, Malika Majid, Ayesha Jabbar, Nora Hasna Majid, and Mohammedeen Majid. His former wife, Makini Shakur, and his son-in-law, Gregory Jackson (who he named Bahanee Lajah) are also cherished members of his family.

Dr. Shakur was preceded in death by his mother, Dolores Porter, his revolutionary and spiritual father, Salahdeen (Aba) Shakur, his son, Tupac Amaru Shakur, godson, Yafeu Fula, his brothers Lumumba Shakur, Zayd Shakur and Wakil Shakur, his sister Fulani N. Sunni-Ali and his former wife, Afeni Shakur, a remarkable political activist, philanthropist, and Black Panther.

Dr. Mutulu Shakur is also preceded in death and survived by many many comrades. 

As we honor the life and legacy of Dr. Mutulu Shakur, let us remember him as a healer, an unyielding revolutionary, and an advocate for social change. His contributions as an acupuncturist and his unwavering dedication to the Black liberation movement will forever inspire generations to come. May his spirit of resilience and commitment guide us as we strive for a more equitable and just world.

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