Three members of the BLA (Black Liberation Army) broke fellow member Shakur, out of Clinton Correctional Facility for Women in Union Township, NJ

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Joanne Chesimard aka Assata Shakur was the aunt of deceased hip hop icon Tupac Shakur, and the sister of his step-father Mutulu Shakur. In 1973, Shakur was involved in a shootout on the New Jersey Turnpike, during which New Jersey State Trooper Werner Foerster and BLA member Zayd Malik shakur were killed.

Between 1973 and 1977, Shakur was indicted in six other alleged criminal incidents and charged with murder, attempted murder, armed robbery, bank robbery, and kidnapping. The developing criminal litigation in those unrelated cases resulted in three acquittals and three dismissals. In 1977, however, she was convicted of the first degree murder of Foerster and of seven other felonies related to New Jersey Turnpike shootout, resulting in her receiving a life sentence.


On November 2, 1979, the escape began when three BLA members, posing as prison visitors, drew .45 pistols and took two correction officers hostage at Clinton Correctional Facility for Women. They seized a prison van and used it to flee the correctional facility with Shakur. Once outside the federal prison, the group switched vehicles and made their getaway. The two hostages were released unharmed.

After escaping prison, it is believed that Shakur lived as a fugitive in the United States of America and eventually fled to Cuba where she was granted asylum. Since May 2, 2005, the Federal Bureau of Investigation has since added her to the Most Wanted Terrorists list (making her the first woman to be on it) and classified her as a “domestic terrorist.” The FBI also offered a $1 million dollar reward for assistance in her capture, with another $1 million dollars being issued by the state of New Jersey just days after Jay-Z and Beyonce’s wedding anniversary trip to Cuba last year. From the date of her escaping, until this present day, Assata has not been recaptured.

-Tamara El(@_SheWise_)

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