ABU-JAMAL CASE SPAWNS CREATIVE PROJECTS
By Linn Washington Jr.
Few events in Philadelphia’s storied history from colonial to contemporary times match the contentious case of death row inmate Mumia Abu-Jamal for spawning creative projects across the globe.
This case now nearing a 26-year-mark is the subject of a new round of projects from locally produced feature-length films to a book about Abu-Jamal’s life written by a professor in France.
Next week, a book about the ‘anguish and grief’ of the widow of the Philadelphia policeman Abu-Jamal sits on death row for killing is scheduled for a national launch on the morning network television Today Show.
Late last month, a critically acclaimed British made film examining the Abu-Jamal case – containing startling evidence of his innocence – premiered simultaneously at respected international film festivals in London and Rome.
The Mayor of Rome hosted the screening in that Italian city of this film supported by the Noble Prize winning human rights organization, Amnesty International.
“In Prison My Whole Life” is the first film ever publicly backed by AI.
Another creative project comes from Abu-Jamal himself.
The subject of this sixth book by Abu- Jamal is jailhouse lawyers – inmates who help other inmates prepare legal appeals.
Abu-Jamal’s creative output while confined in death row cells the size of a small bathroom recently resulted in his membership into the prestigious PEN, a worldwide human-rights organization of prominent writers.
“In two decades of knowing each other, I have not seen Mumia so happy,” said Robert R. Bryan, Abu-Jamal’s lead attorney about the PEN membership.
Bryan credits support of famed writers like former PEN President Salman Rushdie and Alice Walker.
“In a quarter of a century of being locked up…Mumia’s literary output has been prodigious,” Bryan noted.