1) Assata, Chapters 8, 10, 12, and 13
1. How does Shakur characterize her experiences with white liberals in New York? Given your reading in Gerstle, are you able to understand her animosity better? How does her experience with her white liberal music teacher contribute to her views?
2. In our discussion of Chapter 7 of Gerstle, we talked about how the shift from the early civil rights activism to black power activism was mainly about a shift in 3 things: the view of civic nationalism, views of integration, and views of non-violence. How do we see all three of these shifts in Shakur's interaction with NAACP organizing in North Carolina? What do you think of her philosophy as expressed in this section of her memoir?
3. Why does a discussion of the Vietnam War lead to a discussion of communism and anticommunism in Chapter 10? How does Shakur's adult self critique her younger self in this section of the memoir? What does she ultimately come to realize about communism and socialism in Chapter 12 and what is her ultimate attitude towards these philosophies?
4. How would you characterize Shakur's interactions with the black middle class in Chapter 10? Consider her conversations on the beach, at the black employment agency, and in her work life. What, ultimately, is her critique of the black middle class in these settings? How do these conversations get her to question the nature of "freedom" and "freedom struggles"?
5. In Chapter 12, Shakur continues to focus on the idea of dominant cultural standards and education and their contribution to racism. How so? When she is getting her education in college, how do she and other students begin to resist these standards? What strategies and practices do they employ?
6. In Chapter 13, Shakur meets many other minority left activists. Which ones specifically? How and why does she begin to see all of their struggles overlapping? How is the overlapping different for each group she meets? Finally, what does she ultimately conclude about the Black Panthers?