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"We're Fighting for a New Trial": An interview with Mumia Abu-Jamal

By Margaret Prescod, KPFA  Posted by Hans Bennett (about the submitter)     Permalink
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“We’re Fighting for a New Trial”

July 2007 Mumia Abu-Jamal Interview with Margaret Prescod
for Her KPFA Program “Sojourner Truth”

This recently transcribed interview is just one segment of a recent one-hour KPFA / Pacifica Radio National Special on the case of Mumia Abu-Jamal. The Pacifica National Special features Mumia's lead attorney Robert R. Bryan, Danny Glover, Linn Washington, Jr., Dave Lindorff, Robert R. Bryan, Michael Schiffmann, and more. Mumia was also interviewed this summer on Uprising Radio / KPFK Los Angeles and a transcript of that interview is also featured below.

Listen to the full Pacifica program

View the PDF file of the transcribed interview, with numerous graphics

Interview with Margaret Prescod for Her KPFK Program “Sojourner Truth”

Margaret Prescod: On behalf of Pacifica Radio Network, Mumia Abu-Jamal, thank you so much for joining us.

Mumia Abu-Jamal: Thank you for the invitation, Margaret.

MP: Mumia, people argue over how you should be defined: as a taxi driver, as an investigative journalist, Black Panther, black militant, jailhouse lawyer – how do you see yourself?

MAJ: Well, in a way, all of those things and more. I mean, when people argue, sometimes people argue for simplicity, when life is rarely that simple. Life is complex. All of those things, many other things, an herbalist, a jailhouse lawyer, a writer, a poet – not a great one, but I try –, a father, a grand­father, a husband; you know, all of those things are correct.

MP: Can you say how you manage to get the information and the focus to do the weekly commentaries that are played on more than 100 radio stations around the country?

MAJ: I read, quite a bit, good, interesting books on political subjects, sometimes history books, I try to read several newspapers, and also try to keep my eye on what’s happening here, around me, so you know sometimes a local story is better than, say, a commentary on the war [laughs]. So you don’t loose your journalist’s eye. This is just, I guess, another beat, so to speak.

MP: How do you structure your day? About how many hours a day you have outside, and how do you use that time?

MAJ: Death row is what is actually in many states comparable to what’s called solitary confinement. By that I mean you’re in a cell by yourself, solitary. And with the exception of two hours a day, when you’re in a cage; some people call it yard, but I think the proper reference is, cage, you’re either alone or with one other person.

So, for 22 hours a day, that’s a lot of time to think, to read, to write, and so, while it may astound a lot of people, I actually have probably more time [laughs] than the average reporter or the average commentator working on a radio station or for a general publication.

MP: So in terms of struc­turing the 22 hours you’re spending reading, writ­ing, and thinking etc. and then the two hours you have some time for some exercise, perhaps…

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