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Works of Radical Imagination

Book cover for All Things Censored
Book cover for All Things CensoredBook cover for All Things Censored

Edited by Noelle Hanrahan

Introduction by Alice Walker

Ninety-two essays—many freshly composed with the cartridge of a ball-point pen, the only implement Mumia Abu-Jamal is allowed in his cell—embody the calm and powerful words of humanity spoken by a man on death row. Abu-Jamal writes on many different topics, including the ironies that abound within the U.S. prison system and the consequences of those ironies, and his own case. His composure, humor, and connection to the living world around him represents an irrefutable victory over the "corrections" system that has for two decades sought to isolate and silence him. The title All Things Censored refers to Mumia's hiring as an on-air columnist by National Public Radio's "All Things Considered" and subsequent ban from that venue under pressure from law and order groups.

Book cover for All Things Censored
Book cover for All Things CensoredBook cover for All Things Censored

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“To some, Abu-Jamal, convicted in the 1981 murder of a Philadelphia police officer, is a cold-blooded cop killer, but to his supporters, the death-row inmate is a hero, wrongly condemned by a racist system. In this collection of forceful prison essays and radio talks written over the last decade (a sequel to Live from Death Row and Death Blossoms), former Black Panther Abu-Jamal maintains that he was targeted by the state because of his political beliefs and associations … Whatever one thinks of Abu-Jamal's guilt or innocence, his attack on capital punishment as a discriminatory, racist practice is compelling, as his critique of our bloated prison system, which, according to an American Bar Association report cited here, is self-defeating because dehumanizing conditions produce more criminals.”

“When Abu-Jamal is censored, everyone's civil rights are threatened. Let freedom ring; let Abu-Jamal speak.”

“The first time I heard a tape of one of Mumia's radio broadcasts, it was the first time I fully understood why the government was so intent on putting him to death.”

“Sharply observed, thoughtful and passionate, [Abu-Jamal's essays] come together in a collection that should be required reading for anyone who wants to have a real understanding of what goes on once you collide with the law, especially if you are black and poor.”

blog — May 18

Remembering Frances Goldin

Seven Stories lost a good friend, one of the great warriors of independent publishing culture, with the passing of Frances Goldin on Saturday. In her later years, electric wheelchair bound, Frances used to pass out large buttons that read something like, "Down with the rich," saying, "I'll give you one if you promise to wear it." It was no small ask. She was an organizer at heart. Being involved in book culture was her way of organizing people on the side of human rights and social justice. And she was very good at this.

Frances Goldin at Occupy Wall Street, 2011 (c. Ryan Joseph)

This morning's NYTimes obit mentions but underplays her devotion to one of her clients, Mumia Abu Jamal, whom she visited regularly on Death Row, and for whom she got arrested at every opportunity. She succeeded in most of her life goals, the only one remaining at her death was Mumia's freedom, something she sought with her whole being. She shall be missed. But her mission continues, in the countless important books she found homes for, in the agents whom she mentored and who continue the work at her agency, including Ria Julian and Sam Stoloff, and in all of us who knew her and learned from her. 

Dan Simon

Publisher, Seven Stories Press

Mumia Abu-Jamal

Mumia Abu-Jamal is an award-winning journalist and author of All Things Censored and two bestselling books, Live From Death Row and Death Blossoms, which address prison life from a critical and spiritual perspective. In 1981 he was elected president of the Association of Black Journalists Philadelphia Chapter. His 1982 murder trial and subsequent conviction have raised considerable controversy and criticism for alleged constitutional violations and other improprieties. In spite of his three-decade long imprisonment on Pennsylvania’s Death Row, Abu-Jamal has fought for his freedom and for his profession. He holds a BA from Goddard College and an MA from California State University, Dominguez Hills. His books have sold more than 100,000 copies and have been translated into seven languages.

Noelle Hanrahan

NOELLE HANRAHAN is an investigative journalist and the director of Prison Radio, a project of the Redwood Justice Fund. Since 1992 she has been producing Mumia Abu-Jamal’s radio commentaries. In 1994 she recorded and placed the commentaries of Mumia Abu-Jamal with National Public Radio’s premier news program All Things Considered. The essays were censored at the behest of Senator Bob Dole and the Fraternal Order Police, and are now compiled in All Things Censored and edited by Hanrahan. A graduate of Stanford University, where she designed her own major in Gender, Race, and Class Studies, Hanrahan lives in Northern California with her daughter Miranda.

Alice Walker

Winner of both the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award, Alice Walker was born in Eatonville, Georgia, in 1944, and educated at Spelman College and Sarah Lawrence College. The author of more than thirty books including The Color Purple and Sent by Earth, her writings have been translated into more than two dozen languages. Not only a writer of fiction, but a vigorous and indefatigable activist, Walker has done as much as any contemporary author to bolster the rights of women and people of color. From her essays on the civil rights movement to her cries for intervention on the Gaza Strip, Walker continually and eloquently calls attention to ignored injustices around the world.