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From One Death Row to Another: Today Is the Birthday of Mumia Abu-Jamal: He Has Been On Death Row for Twenty Years

April 24, 2002

Today is the birthday of Mumia Abu Jamal. He is 48. He has spent twenty years of his life on death row.

On December 9th 1981, Abu-Jamal was driving a cab in Philadelphia when he says he saw a police officer beating his brother William Cook on a street corner. In the ensuing chaos, both he and officer Daniel Faulkner were shot, and Faulkner died. Abu-Jamal was sentenced to death for the murder of Faulkner in 1982. He has been on death row ever since.

And from Pennsylvania’s death row, award-winning journalist and former Black Panther Mumia Abu-Jamal has spoken to the world for twenty years. His writings and commentaries from death row have made him a world-renowned celebrity for racial equality and against the death penalty. His books ??Live From Death Row, ??Death Blossoms and ??All Things Censored have sold over 150,000 copies and been translated into seven languages. At the time of his arrest, Mumia was a leading broadcast journalist and president of the Philadelphia chapter of the Association of Black Journalists. Widely acclaimed for his work with NPR, the Mutual Black Network, the National Black Network, WHYY, and other stations, he was known as Philadelphia’s "voice of the voiceless."

Well, today we are going to hear some of the "voice of the voiceless," recordings Mumia made from death row and as a radio journalist. A couple years ago, Noelle Hanrahan, of the Prison Radio Project, went through hours of recordings and she found some rare interviews, which are featured on a recently-released CD, "175 Progress Drive."


  • Mumia Abu-Jamal, reporting for All Things Considered/NPR on October 3, 1980 on Jimmy Carter’s presidential campaign in Pennsylvania (1:11)
  • Mumia Abu-Jamal, interviewing reggae musician Bob Marley (1:11)
  • "Friends Like These," a commentary recorded recently for Free Speech Radio News.


  • Julia Wright, writer and activist. She wrote ??Daughter of a Native Son about her early life with her father, the late, great Richard Wright, author of ??Native Son and ??Black Boy.
  • Tom Morello, guitarist for the band Rage Against the Machine.

Today is the international day of fundraising for the legal case of Mumia Abu-Jamal. Send checks payable to the Black United Fund and marked for Mumia Abu-Jamal Legal Defense to: International Concerned Family & Friends of MAJ at P.O. Box 19709, Philadelphia, PA 19143.

You can send Mumia a birthday card: Mumia Abu-Jamal #AM8335 175 Progress Dr., Waynesburg, PA 15370

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