Joanne Deborah Chesimard
Wanted by the FBI
Joanne Chesimard is wanted for escaping from prison in Clinton, New Jersey, while serving a life sentence for murder. On May 2, 1973, Chesimard, who was part of a revolutionary activist organization known as the Black Liberation Army, and two accomplices were stopped for a motor vehicle violation on the New Jersey Turnpike by two troopers with the New Jersey State Police. At the time, Chesimard was wanted for her involvement in several felonies, including bank robbery. Chesimard and her accomplices opened fire on the troopers, seemingly without provocation. One trooper was wounded and the other was shot and killed execution-style at point-blank range. Chesimard fled the scene, but was subsequently apprehended. One of her accomplices was killed in the shoot-out and the other was also apprehended and remains in jail. In 1977, Chesimard was found guilty of first degree murder, assault and battery of a police officer, assault with a dangerous weapon, assault with intent to kill, illegal possession of a weapon, and armed robbery. She was sentenced to life in prison. On November 2, 1979, Chesimard escaped from prison and lived underground before being located in Cuba in 1984. She is thought to currently still be living in Cuba.
- Date(s) of Birth Used: July 16, 1947; August 19, 1952
- Place of Birth: New York City, New York
- Height: 57"
- Weight: 135 to 150 pounds
- NCIC: W220305367
- Hair: Black/Gray
- Eyes: Brown
- Sex: Female
- Race: Black
- Nationality: American
- Scars and Marks: Chesimard has scars on her chest, abdomen, left shoulder, and left knee.
- Remarks: Chesimard may be living in Cuba. She may wear her hair in a variety of styles and dress in African tribal clothing.
Aliases used: Assata Shakur, Joanne Byron, Barbara Odoms, Joanne Chesterman, Joan Davis, Justine Henderson, Mary Davis, Pat Chesimard, Jo-Ann Chesimard, Joanne Debra Chesimard, Joanne D. Byron, Joanne D. Chesimard, Joanne Davis, Chesimard Joanne, Ches Chesimard, Sister-Love Chesimard, Joann Debra Byron Chesimard, Joanne Deborah Byron Chesimard, Joan Chesimard, Josephine Henderson, Carolyn Johnson, Carol Brown, "Ches"
The FBI is offering a reward of up to $1,000,000 for information directly leading to the apprehension of Joanne Chesimard. She should be considered armed and extremely dangerous.
Meeting Manning Marable
In June, 1996 Manning Marable led a delegation of fifteen prominent African Americans to the island of Cuba. During his, he met many government officials, intellectuals and community leaders who -provided many critical insights. But "one of the highlights was having a lengthy conversations with Assata Shakur. She had been a prominent Black American activist in the 1970s who had been unjustly imprisoned."
- Escaping from prison, she somehow managed to reach Cuba. Today, she is a lecturer and teacher, active in local affairs and remains an astute judge of society and politics.
- Shakur emphasized that while Cuba has its problems, some of the Castro government’s strongest supporters are Afro-Cubans. This is because the actual conditions of daily life for Black people — incomes, educational opportunities, health care, etc. — have greatly improved.
- The old restrictions of racial segregation which had been imposed by the U.S. upon Cuban society have been dismantled for decades. The Castro government more recently has become supportive of Black cultural and religious groups such as Santeria, which draw their orientations from African spiritual traditions.
- There are many Black Cubans who are proud of their African heritage and culture, Shakur said, but who also support the revolution.
- The struggle to destroy racism still remains a central challenge in Cuba: but on balance, the Cubans are far more honest about their shortcomings, and have achieved greater racial equality for Blacks than we have in the U.S.