Maroon the Implacable: A Publishers Weekly Review

Maroon the Implacable: The Collected Writings of Russell Maroon Shoatz

Publishers Weekly
June 2013

Shoatz-a leader in Philadelphia’s Black Liberation Movement and a former Black Panther-describes his activism and philosophy in this wide-ranging collection of essays and interviews dating from the mid-1990s through the present. He is currently serving multiple life sentences in Waynesburg, Penn., for killing a police officer (though he claims to be a political prisoner). Shoatz chronicles his transformation from Philadelphia gang member to Harlem activist, and how his escapes from prison earned him the nickname “Maroon” (Maroons were fugitive slaves who settled in Jamaica, Haiti, Brazil, and others parts of the Americas, as described elsewhere in the book). Whether read for activist inspiration or as an academic artifact, Shoatz’s writings are an engrossing portrayal of a life contemplated from the recesses of 20 years in solitary confinement. He turns out to be a feminist who advocates matriarchy, and a critic of capitalism. Having experienced “harsh, demeaning, and brutal institutions,” the author also argues for prison reform. Shoatz’s essays are bookended with a foreword by Chuck D and an afterword by Matt Meyer and Nozizwe Madlala Routledge.

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