Read Live From Death Row by Mumia Abu-Jamal Online


Awaiting execution for the murder of a Philadelphia policeman, the author describes the brutality and humiliation of prison life and argues that the justice system is racist and ruled by political expediency....

Title : Live From Death Row
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780201483192
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 272 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Live From Death Row Reviews

  • TJ Shelby
    2019-06-23 01:09

    I was recommended this book by a friend thinking that it would sway my stance on capital punishment. I am in a small majority of social liberals who support capital punishment. Mumia aptly points out major corruption in nearly every aspect of our criminal justice system, local police, correctional officers, district attornies, and judges. He also demonstrates the propensity for discrimination against blacks and backs it up with solid statistics and facts.One of the most damning is how much more likely black criminals are to receive the death penalty than white criminals. It leaves me with the following options: 1. Oppose the death penalty because of the disparity.2. Support the system but rally behind the cause that less blacks need to be executed.3. Support the system but rally behind evening the disparity and thus, more whites need to be executed.I stand behind option 3. Justice should be color-blind. Why whites get life without parole while blacks get the death penalty is a statistic that MUST be investigated. However, to receive either sentence means we no longer wish these individuals to be loosed upon society. Also painfully apparent is the irony of calling our prison systems "correctional facilities." Nothing could be further from the truth. Secondly, capitalism is now dictating prison policies and procedures and not humanitarian goodwill. As citizens, we want reformed criminals with corrected behaviors that do not want to end up back in the system. However, our prison systems are capitalistic ventures of state governments and less prisons/prisoners means less taxes for state budgets and less jobs for state citizens.Overall, great read. No solutions offered, just boldly proclaimed problems that people choose not to see.

  • Jennifer
    2019-06-15 02:29

    Read it! Then act on it. Due to a recent Supreme Court reject of the case, he might not be "live" much longer. Write a letter to President Obama, ask for his executive clemency! If you need help writing that letter, send me a mail and I will send you a letter to draw from.

  • Donna Davis
    2019-06-13 04:25

    Mumia is a former Black Panther. The facts support his having been framed in the murder of the cop, a crime for which he was nearly executed.Live from Death Row, written before his sentence was commuted, is not, however, a vehicle he uses to advocate for himself or plead his own case to the public. He has written other books I haven't read, and I don't know if he did that there.Instead, here he uses his own situation to discuss the racism inherent both in the U.S. court system; he also talks about racism on death row.The mandatory fresh-air time, prized and treasured by men who rarely see the clear blue sky, is an Apartheid one, at least in Supermax, RHU,SMU, and SHU (ultimate maximum security prisons, which he says have swelled since jailhouse overcrowding has made prisons tenser places and more people are tossed into "the hole"). The vast majority of prisoners are Black, though they are a minority of the population at large, and in the Pennsylvania prison he describes, 80% of those maximum security cases, those who wear Black skin, are crowded into a courtyard. They can't see green grass or the outdoors, only four brick walls and way up there, blue sky. Why? And where are the other prisoners going?The other prisoners (who are also maximum security) who are not Black have a SEPARATE courtyard, which is surrounded by chain=link fencing with razor-wire, but has the view. The 20% have the perk of a much less crowded space and the capacity to see Mother Earth during their treasured time outside prison walls.As to the racist system that places Blacks on death row at such a startlingly high rate, he offers the following statistics and footnotes all of them like the scholar he was before being incarcerated, and continues to be behind prison walls. He uses a Georgia case because it is one which caused the Supreme Court to recognize the following facts:*defendants charged w killing Caucasian victims are 4.3 times as likely to be sent to death row as those charged w/killing Blacks;*the race of the victim determines whether or not a death penalty is returned;*nearly 6 of 11 defendants who received the death penalty for killing Caucasians would not have received the death penalty if their victims had been Black;*20 of every 34 defendants sentenced to death would not have been given the death sentence if their victims had not been Caucasian.He continues to pound one damning fact upon another, and cites court cases to back them up; those above come from McClesky vs. Kemp (1987). If the case sounds old, I would argue that precedents are set by very old cases indeed, and of course, this book was published early into the 2000 decade. I doubt a more recent gathering of data would return more favorable information; in the case of jail overcrowding, I suspect the recession has made it worse. I recently read in the national news that the most minor offenders--i.e., those who were arrested because they possessed marijuana or because they did not have a Green Card on their person at the time they were approached--have been released to ease crowding in prisons. I wonder how much good it has done.I applaud Mumia for using his well-known case to set the facts before us, rather than trying to build momentum to save himself. There was a considerable amount of public pressure NOT to execute him, and I do think that had to do with his sentence being commuted; as it was, my kids' urban U.S. high school was "barely holding together", according to a counselor I knew there, the day that Mumia's case was turned away by the U.S. Supreme Court.If you are interested in reading about social justice issues, this relatively slender volume holds an astounding amount of really critical information. I appreciate Mumia's relentless effort to make the public, both in the US and internationally, aware of the atrocities that continue to visit Black prisoners in the USA.

  • Jake
    2019-06-16 01:05

    Pick it up, read it, decide what action you feel you need to take. Political prisoners are nothing new, but in the time of Facebook, Goodreads, Blogs and more, we all have a outlet for our political views. Challenge anything that you feel to be unjust.

  • Angie
    2019-05-31 00:09

    Just reading the sections on how Mumia was railroaded during his trial and the following appeals and how The Baldus Study has proven that "defendants charged with killing whites are 4.3 times more likely to be sentenced to die then defendants charged with killing blacks; 6 of every 11 defendants convicted of killing a white would not have received a death sentence had their victim been black" are infuriating. From that study alone it shows how the Black Lives Matter movement is very much needed. Cause the courts apparently don't think so. And before you argue that that study is old, take a moment, pause, and think of Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin, Eric Gardner, and the many other cases that have happened in the last couple years and reconsideer.I also found it very strange to realize that our "correctional" centers don't have much correcting going on. Mumia is right, what is the point of have prisoners locked up most of the day in tiny cells and then give them an hour or two of time in a courtyard outside. For prisoners going back to the regular world someday this is asinine. We are giving them no tools or skills to help make themselves a better people and they end up leaving the same or worse then they were before.In conclusion: This is an IMPORTANT book. Read it nerds.

  • Eva Leger
    2019-05-30 01:06

    This was a mistake for me to have picked up. I know next to nothing about this man or this case but was/am interested in learning more. Being that I don't know a lot about this I can't come to a conclusion on whether I think he's innocent or guilty and whether or not I think the trial was biased. I'm inclined to assume he's guilty. Most people convicted are guilty. He may be one of the few with mitigating circumstances, I don't know. But the little of this book that I read was someone crying about prison conditions. Um, yeah, prison sucks. Don't kill people. Don't rape kids. Don't rob old ladies or banks. I'm fairly positive I wouldn't like prison too much.... so I refrain from commiting crimes. Or, I'm sorry, should we fill the prisons with king sized beds and gourmet food? Or maybe have no prison at all? Just let everyone do whatever the hell they want? If anyone knows of a book that I could learn more about this man's case from I'm be interested in getting the recommendation.... I do NOT, however, want to read about how prison life is lacking.

  • Sonya
    2019-06-20 00:10

    I read this and college and went back and re-read- this book is phenomenal. I know that people are torn as to whether Mr. Mumia Abu-Jamal is guilty or not, but I just became enthralled in his story and journey and what his life is like and it is really interesting. No matter where you stand on the death penalty in my opinion when you have someone this articulate, who seems to be non- violent now; it should at least give you pause as to whether the system works. No matter what you believe about the case and Mumia; it is important to know his books and case had enough doubt and publicity that the death penalty was dropped eventually and he has life without parole and is back in general population. I strongly recommend if you have an interest in human rights or criminal justice.

  • Andrew Duenez
    2019-06-08 07:06

    Mumia describes the significance of the "correctional" system we have here in the US. From this book, among other mediums, I have learned that the US is becoming a prison country. The face of that prison system is blacker than any other aspect of American life. In some states where the african am. population is but a quarter, the prison is made up of over 50% of black life. it's pretty crazy that we just accept it all. I mean "they" distract us with so many things that we don't have time to think about these things. Recommend if you know nothing about the prison system.

  • Courtney Henley-Anderson
    2019-06-09 05:09

    This book changed my Life literally. I read it and it called me to action. Mumia is an innocent political prisoner and I have worked as an Activist on his case for 11 years now. His writings about the horrible conditions on the Death Rows of American Gulags is both insightful and vital. Although incarcerated in a room the size of a tiny bathroom for almost 14 years at the time he wrote this book, Mumia turned the story of his and the other prisoners plights into sheer poetry. Another must read!

  • BlackBookie
    2019-06-14 06:27

    Heartbreaking but not surprising.

  • Ramon Frunkis
    2019-06-15 01:05

    This guy needs to have a play date with "Old Sparky".

  • Brad
    2019-06-05 01:22

    Yeah, he's biased. I'd be biased as hell. I'd want to bias someone in the face.

  • Ruth
    2019-06-02 02:20

    This book is a patchwork of short stories and essays, most only two or three pages long, written over several years while Mumia Abu-Jamal was on death row (he is still convicted, but his sentence has since been commuted to life instead). Somehow, Abu-Jamal does not allow his own narrative to be the focus of his writing, but instead uses his skills as a journalist to highlight the broader injustices of the death penalty and the racist American legal system. I was particularly fascinated to learn about his religious involvement with MOVE, a radical religious organization based out of Philly, founded by John Africa. The book actually started off a little slow for me, but picked up when I realized it was a series of shorter pieces. Fuck the death penalty.

  • Murree Brignac
    2019-06-10 01:09

    This collection of writings is remarkably relevant even 25 years after publication. Mumia is incredibly talented at conveying the intricacies of prison, racism, and society. He eloquently argued many of the hot topics of today's criminal justice discourse decades before they became part of mainstream discussions. I highly recommend this book both for it's accessibility, insight, and a view of how the prison industrial complex and criminal justice system has evolved over the last 30 years.

  • Bobby Toskey
    2019-06-25 23:17

    This wasn't what I was expecting. I assumed it was going to be Mumia's account of what happened the night of the murder, and his life in prison. While there is some of that, it's mostly journal entries, some very interesting, some intelligent, well - spoken rambling, of anything he felt like talking about.Overall, I enjoyed this. I just wanted something else.

  • David Adams
    2019-05-27 02:15

    Interesting insights on race relations, police brutality, and the condition of prisons from Mumia Abu-Jamal, who was put on Death Row for killing a Philadelphia police officer. It's not a particularly hard or long read if one reads for two hours a day.

  • Ciana Rae
    2019-06-15 01:14

    4.5 stars. I liked the book a lot but it was super repetitive.

  • Ali Kutner
    2019-06-25 02:19

    I became way more interested toward the end. Definitely opened my eyes on a few things and spawned a bunch of new curiosities that I'll meed to explore in further readings.

  • Antonio
    2019-06-09 23:07

    Although the majority of the essays were written in the late 80's and mid 90's the themes of injustice, despair in the face of racial oppression and the fight to win liberty and dignity amidst the oppressive cage that is death row and society at large still rings true today. It is truly a shame that such a talented writer with poignant thoughtful, and full of sound social criticisms is locked in a cage. Without a doubt, Brother Mumia remains a controversial figure but I dare challenge any of his critics to put forward counter sound arguments on his criticisms of the empire we call America? His rhetorical genius and commitment to telling truth to power even after so many failed trials and more recently with the deterioration of his health is something to admire. I can clearly see why Bother Cornel West called Mumia the modern day Frederick Douglass (this comparison is clearly seen is his essay what is the fourth of July to the prisoner) and a true long distance revolutionary. I also see why the gracious and talented Alice Walker called Mumia the freest black man in America.

  • Jude Arnold
    2019-06-15 04:03

    A Case for Reasonable Doubt a DVD of the 60 Minutes show about Mumia's case. (A really good film!)I've been getting most of my info from 2 organizations working to Free Mumia:Refuse & Resist! and Partisan Defense Committee. My understanding of what Mumia really wants most is to get out of jail. The organizations say the only way to accomplish this is by drawing International Media attention to the issues of his case.I spoke to a woman this summer from Philadelphia who said; "They will never let Mumia out of jail!" My intention is not to convert anyone, insult ugly ignorance nor incite the worst case sceneio. My heart song is merely to connect like minded individuals, shedding some positive light and love, on the serious issues of racism, the death penalty and injustice; and hopefully getting media attention, highlighting the hundreds of millions of people around the world who care about Mumia's Freedom.WHY IS THIS CASE SO IMPORTANT?"The case of Mumia Abu-Jamal has become a battleground in society because it concentrates so many of the reactionary elements riding high in the US today - the criminalization of black men, the suppression of dissent, the expanded death penalty, the gutting of defendant's rights, and a whole political atmosphere of blame and punishment aimed at the most oppressed. This is a dangerous time for the people, and no time to think that the government will back off from killing Mumia because they are 'too busy' with other problems, their war on the world and the shredding of civil liberties. Mumia is one of their problems. His dissenting voice from Death Row is all the more precious to the people under the government's massive clampdown on dissent and opposition; when people are locked up secretly for having an Arabic name or coming from countries the US says are 'sponsoring terrorism'; when people are persecuted for refusing to say the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag on command, or for protesting the war and occupation of Iraq."WHAT IS NEEDED?"To win justice for Mumia, and ultimately for all of us, we need a movement that is broad and diverse, because no one section of the people has the power to make this government back down. This requires the efforts of us all: Youth, black people, people of color and conscience, working people, celebrities, artists, the legal community, the movement against the death penalty, the anti-war movement and massive international pressure. When all these different forces come into action, determined to stop the execution, when Mumia's story and writings are in many different places, the tables become turned. This is what the government has to see and here, loud and clear." (Refuse & Resist!) Free Mumia!!!I heard on NPR that all war is untimately about race. I feel just as passionate about ending racism as I do Peace on Earth - I'm quite serious."For 22 years Mumia has lived, locked down, on death row in western Pennsylvania, under threat of death. He has never given up in despair or begged for a break. Mumia is a revolutionary journalist who has continued to write the truth from behind bars, inspiring a whole new generation of resistance - in this country and internationally. If Mumia is murdered by the state, he would be the first Black revolutionary legally executed for his political beliefs since the days of slavery. We cannot and must not let this happen."Here are some websites where you can learn - You can hear Mumia's beautiful voice and radio show here!

  • Adam
    2019-06-26 06:16

    As if there's something I could possibly say to highlight Mumia's powerful words that he doesn't say himself. . .In lieu of extracting quotes from this book, as I normally do with my readings, I simply have set the entire piece aside in my head as worth rehashing, rereading, and keeping on the tip of my tongue an forefront of my thoughts. Life from Death Row is a compilation of essays from long-time death row prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal. As a professional reporter, Mumia made a career of presenting the news, the world around him, and the struggles for freedom. After being railroaded to a death sentence through an almost unbelievably unfair prosecution (multiple times), Mumia has continued his commentary from the confines of a Pennsylvania prison.His insight into the great injustices of American law, society, and politics are crisp, clear, and convincing. His short essays spare the reader of fluff, cutting straight to the heart of issues with a pointed zeal that could rouse even the most apathetic of observers.Mumia's words are an all too powerful reminder (or yet not powerful enough?) that our criminal injustice system doesn't so much have a long way to go as it is simply fundamentally flawed. Race, class, law, and politics collide in this brilliant compilation, well worth reading time and time again as the struggle continues.

  • Stephanie
    2019-06-22 00:19

    This book was required reading for my Global & Transnational Literature class at the University of Utah.This was my least favorite of the texts that we read. Abu-Jamal is obviously very educated, and has diligently researched court cases and examples of injustice in the US court system. However, I found his language to be stiff, and difficult to read. The presence of such heavy legal jargon made his memoir feel like a textbook. Most of our texts have focused on life in prison, which I have found fascinating. Perhaps this book disappointed because I expected it to do the same: tell me what life is like in the US prison system. But it didn't. It was more about the courts, the prosecutors, the judges, and the influence of race on the doling out of death sentences. For the right audience, I imagine that this book would be a favorite. It just wasn't for me.

  • Zack
    2019-06-09 03:30

    I read the book "Life on Death Row", I really liked this book because it viewed more then one persons case and how they waited for death and survived until their due date. I liked that this book was very graphic and got intense and I liked that because it kept me reading. I liked that it stated facts and on the bottom of every page showed where they got the info. Also, at the end of the book the author even talked about his own experience on death row. Something's I didn't like about the book was at some points it got very boring and almost repeated itself. And how sometimes it would feel like I've already read some parts of the book that I really haven't. All and all this was a very good book and would recommend it to anyone who likes real life graphic experiences and story's that will keep you reading.

  • Tiana Brawley
    2019-06-12 07:15

    Political Prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal provides intense insight, research, personal accounts and nostalgia to one of the most oppressive institutions to the 20th and 21st century: prison. He provides countless research and documentation of the brutality and horror for black prisoners and the unjust racial system which funds the black-prison complex. Mumia paints a picture of life and conversations in these hell-holes so vividly you can't help but create your own horrific scenes. He challenges readers to take action and to question our own revolutionary stance. Furthermore, he reminds us of the revolutionary leaders who paved the way, and challenges the reader to continue the legacy to seek human justice, knowledge and freedom. A must read! Free Mumia!

  • molly
    2019-06-21 23:03

    This book is one of the books that I find myself constantly going back to and picking up, either looking through particular parts that I find special or just going back and re-reading semi-random sections. I struggle with simply calling it "amazing" or "life-altering" b/c not only would those be understatements in my opinion, but I think they in some ways diminish the strength of Mumia's voice and wisdom... No matter your interest/liking, I do think this book will challenge most people and reaffirms others, so I recommend it for everyone.

  • Zack
    2019-06-04 03:20

    HEY! This book is really fucking good and important to read. It's kind of a journal of a person on death row who most certainly did not receive anything near a fair trail...if that's even possible in our society. He's an ex-black panther and he's in prison largely for political reasons. Really smart and really sad and really powerful. Read it. Recently he got taken off of death row (after 30 years!) and he is sentenced to life without parole.

  • Elizabeth
    2019-06-05 23:11

    This is a very quick read with a large number of short and impactful stories throughout the book. However, as someone who was not very familiar with the story of Mumia's court proceedings, I found the very end of the book the most interesting. The insane injustice in his case is infuriating. I think it is essential that everyone get their hands on this book to get a taste of what the criminal justice system can really be like — it is often anything but just.

  • Spicy T AKA Mr. Tea
    2019-06-04 02:15

    Quick amazing read. Mumia is hard hitting, real, and raw. This volume is comprised of many short chapters (2 - 3 pages)--I believe they are his radio broadcasts re-cast for a book. It's so good. His analysis of the prison industrial complex and his ability to report on different people's struggles through a revolutionary analysis in such short vignettes is gripping and inspiring. Raw, real, and impactful. Not hard to grasp, accessible, incredibly edited, well cited. Highly recommend.

  • Earl
    2019-06-27 02:15

    Mumia speaks of the terrible conditions that exist in Pennsylvania's prison system from his vantage point on death row. He also offers commentary on happenings that occurred while in jail, from Rodney King to the Connor. If you are unfamiliar with the man, it's helpful to read the end of the book first so you can understand the path that led him to death row. A decent, depressing read that highlights racism in the system.

  • Mike Da Silva
    2019-06-19 06:25

    I'll admit, my first response to this book was, "Gee, another wrongly convicted innocent. Aren't they all." After reading his book and researching many of the footnotes and links listed in the book, I can't believe how wrong I was. Not just for him, but I really felt for all inmates on death row, denied basic interaction with their loved ones. This book is recommended for any one with an open mind, a thirst for truth and justice, and any one with one ioata of compassion for their fellow human.