Academics love captive audiences, whether they find them on a college campus or within prison walls. “When I am not teaching inside Attica, I teach at Hamilton College, a very good and very expensive private liberal arts college (at $50K/year),” Doran Larson writes in the latest issue of Radical Teacher, “a socialist, feminist, and anti-racist journal on the theory and practice of teaching.” “There [Hamilton] I offer courses in American and global prison writing.”
“The global course surveys European, American, and post-colonial prison writing from Perpetua of Carthage, Boethius, John Bunyan, Silvio Pellico and Oscar Wilde, to Jack London, Kate Richards O’Hare, and Eldridge Cleaver, to Wole Soyinka and Leyla Zana.” Radical Teacher is published by the University of Illinois.
“The course on American writers begins with slave narratives and work songs, surveys the early twentieth century, and concludes with Black Power movement writers, including George Jackson, Assata Shakur, and Mumia Abu-Jamal,” Larson explains of the Hamilton College course. “Both courses involve taking students into the Attica workshop.”
On Jamal, the transcripts of Abu-Jamal’s various hearings, as he unsuccessfully sought freedom from the murder charge that put him behind bars, make for interesting reading as well. The former executive director of Accuracy in Academia, Dan Flynn, summarizes them in his pamphlet, Cop Killer: How Mumia Abu-Jamal Conned Millions Into Believing He Was Framed, published by AIA:
• “Five eyewitnesses implicated Abu-Jamal in the murder [of Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulkner in 1981].”
• “Others reported that the suspect gleefully admitted to murdering a cop.”
• “Abu-Jamal was found at the scene wearing a holster, with a bullet from Faulkner’s service revolver embedded in his chest.”
• “Abu-Jamal’s .38 caliber gun containing five spent shell casings was found at the scene.”
• “Five bullets were fired at the officer.”
• “The shell casings and the fatal round retrieved from the officer’s brain matched; all were .38 caliber ‘Plus P’ ammunition.”
Malcolm A. Kline is the Executive Director of Accuracy in Academia.
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