Bryan Burrough: Assata Shakur and the Black Liberation Army

Lee Stranahan: We’re talking to Bryan Burrough. He’s the author of the great book “Days of Rage.” Now, you mention the Black Liberation Army and again, without getting into the politics of it, Assata Shakur has become a major focal point for a lot of people in the Black Lives Matter movement because the founders of Black Lives Matter, the three women who founded it, have stated that she’s one of their heroes. When I get into discussions with people about Assata Shakur, they’ll say, “Well, I think she was innocent” or whatever.

The thing I point out is that the Black Liberation Army, the group that she was part of, leave aside her specific case, that was a group that as you said the Black Liberation Army’s sole goal, basically, was to assassinate the police, correct? You talk about some of their history.

Bryan Burrough: Look, you don’t have to be a right-winger to know that that’s a true statement. The Black Liberation Army, of which Assata Shakur was the last and most infamous leader, existed to do one thing, which is what an awful lot of Black Panthers wanted to do and everyone in the BLA did, and that was kill cops. They did it rather successfully, it depends on who you say was in the BLA, but between 10 and 20 policemen between 1971 and 1974.

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