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As happy as many were to see him released from prison last November, we now must unfortunately say goodbye to Black liberation movement elder Dr. Mutulu Shakur following his death on Thursday night (July 6), as confirmed on Twitter by fellow activist Kamau Franklin.

The late civil rights pioneer, also once stepfather to late rap icon 2Pac Shakur, was 72 years old.

RELATED: Movement Elder, Political Prisoner Mutulu Shakur Finally Granted Parole

The New Afrikan People’s Organization and the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, both whom were active in advocating for his release after spending 36 years as a political prisoner, put out a joint statement to sum up how great of a loss this will be for the community overall.

Read it in full below:

“The New Afrikan People’s Organization and the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement are deeply saddened to announce the transition of our beloved comrade and co-founder, Dr. Mutulu Shakur on Friday, July 7th, 2023. Born Jeral Wayne Williams on August 8th, 1950, he was a loving father and grandfather, revolutionary acupuncturist, human rights organizer and former political prisoner of war. Mutulu’s life was transformative to the many people he organized, healed, mentored and inspired.

Dr. Mutulu Shakur taught us that ‘people struggle for liberation because they love [the] people.’ He will always be remembered for his continued commitment to an independent and socialist New Afrika and for his battle cry, Straight Ahead!”


Born in Baltimore, Maryland on August 8, 1950, Shakur moved to Queens, New York as a child and soon after became active with the Revolutionary Action Movement and Republic of New Afrika as a teen. He made an interesting turn to acupuncture therapy, even going on to spearhead the Black Acupuncture Advisory Association of North America and the Harlem Institute of Acupuncture.

However, it was a now-infamous 1981 Brink’s robbery that would follow him forever, landing him behind bars on RICO charges as the ringleader following his arrest in 1986, trial in 1987 and eventual conviction in 1988 on a 60-year bid. His parole was eligible after serving 30 years, but it would take another six before his official release, and that was primarily due to the fact that he was diagnosed with terminal bone marrow cancer in June 2022 and given six months to live. We’re just glad he was blessed with a few more months to spend with loved ones.

Rest in eternal power, Dr. Mutulu Shakur.