Santi Elijah Holley at Harvard Book Store
An Amerikan Family:
The Shakurs and the
Nation They Created
in conversation with LAUREN LEIGH KELLY
August 16, 2023
7:00 PM ET
Harvard Book Store
1256 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138
This event is free; no tickets are required.
Harvard Book Store welcomes award-winning journalist SANTI ELIJAH HOLLEY to discuss his new biography An Amerikan Family: The Shakurs and the Nation They Created. He will be joined in conversation by LAUREN LEIGH KELLY—Associate Professor in the Graduate School of Education at Rutgers University.
About An Amerikan Family
They have been celebrated, glorified, and mythologized. They have been hailed as heroes, liberators, and freedom fighters. They have been condemned, pursued, imprisoned, exiled, and killed. But the true and complete story of the Shakur family—one of the most famous names in contemporary Black American history—has never been told.
For over fifty years, the Shakurs have inspired generations of activists, scholars, and music fans. Many people are only familiar with Assata Shakur, the popular author and thinker, living for three decades in Cuban exile; or the late rapper Tupac. But the branches of the Shakur family tree extend widely, and the roots reach into the most furtive and hidden depths of the underground.
An Amerikan Family is a history of the fight for Black liberation in the United States, as experienced and shaped by the Shakur family. It is the story of hope and betrayal, addiction and murder, persecution and revolution. An Amerikan Family is not only family genealogy; it is the story of Black America’s long struggle for racial justice and the nation’s covert and repressive tactics to defeat that struggle. It is the story of a small but determined community, taking extreme, unconventional, and often perilous measures in the quest for freedom. In short, the story of the Shakurs is the story of America.
Praise for An Amerikan Family
"Santi Elijah Holley uncovers the truth about this family of artists and activists and tells their story in a whole new way." —The Root
“An Amerikan Family is a first chapter in making the world better, with truth and beauty. For those of us who haven’t seen their stories written as they battled the darkness around them, An Amerikan Family is a light helping us go forward.” —Nikki Giovanni, poet
“What COINTELPRO worked so hard at wiping out is forever chronicled in this lost chapter of Amerikan history. Funny how the history of one family can cover so much ground, unearth so many bodies, and reveal so many conspiracies and hard-born realities — from the heart of the U.S. government's anti-black policies to the very soul of the Black power and liberation movements. Holley’s impeccable research takes what has been handed down orally to the children of the movement and lines it up with what has been factually documented. One way or another we have all been touched by the Shakur family, and here is a testament to the fiery spirit that has sparked the brains of generations to come.” —Saul Williams, author of Said the Shotgun to the Head and The Dead Emcee Scrolls
Masks are encouraged but not required for this event.
Walking from the Harvard Square T station: 2 minutes
As you exit the station, reverse your direction and walk east along Mass. Ave. in front of the Cambridge Savings Bank. Cross Dunster St. and proceed along Mass. Ave for three more blocks. You will pass Au Bon Pain, JP Licks, and TD Bank. Harvard Book Store is located at the corner of Mass. Ave. and Plympton St.
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