Top 26 Assata Shakur Quotes: Wars, Government and People

Assata Olugbala Shakur is a former member of the Black Liberation Army (BLA), who was convicted of being an accomplice in the first-degree murder of State Trooper Werner Foerster. She has been on the FBI Most Wanted Terrorist list since 2013 as Joanne Deborah Chesimard and was the first woman to be added to this list. Check out some of the top Assata Shakur quotes here.

26 Assata Shakur Quotes That Took the World by the Storm

Assata Shaku Quotes on People

#1. “The only ones who can free us are ourselves.” — Assata Shakur

#2. “At this time, I’d like to say a few words, especially to my sisters. Black people will never be free unless black women participate in every aspect of our struggle, on every level of our struggle.” — Assata Shakur

#3. “Nobody in the world, nobody in history, has ever gotten their freedom by appealing to the moral sense of the people who were oppressing them.” — Assata Shakur

#4. “People get used to anything. The less you think about your oppression, the more your tolerance for it grows. After a while, people just think oppression is the normal state of things. But to become free, you have to be acutely aware of being a slave.” — Assata Shakur

#5. “We had to learn that we’re beautiful. We had to relearn something forcefully taken from us. We had to learn about Black power. People have power if we unite. We learned the importance of coming together and being active.” — Assata Shakur

#6. “When you go through all your life processing and abusing your hair so it will look like the hair of another race of people then you are making a statement and the statement is clear.” — Assata Shakur

#7. “In the long run, the people are our only appeal. The only ones who can free us are ourselves.” — Assata Shakur

#8. “The more you understand what you’re dealing with, the stronger you get. People see fear as a bad thing. Fear is healthy when you’re dealing with Amerika. But when fear controls you, when you’re afraid to struggle, fear is a bad thing. I’m more afraid of what will happen if I don’t struggle, than what will happen if I do.” — Assata Shakur

#9. “People are tried and convicted in the newspapers and on television before they ever see a courtroom.” — Assata Shakur

#10. “I think that the movement against the World Bank, against the globalization process that is happening, is very positive. We need globalization, a globalization of people who are committed to social justice, to economic justice. We need a globalization of people who are committed to saving this earth, to making sure that the water is drinkable, that the air is breathable.” — Assata Shakur

#11. “People are really beginning to see the mechanisms of imperialism. When colonialism existed people could see colonialism. When racial segregation existed in its apartheid form, people could see the whites only signs. But it’s much more difficult to see the structures of neo-imperialism, neo-colonialism, neo-slavery.” — Assata Shakur

Assata Shakur Quotes on War

#12. “I hate war, and I hate having to struggle. I honestly do because I wish I had been born into a world where it was unnecessary. This context of struggle and being a warrior and being a struggler has been forced on me by oppression. Otherwise, I would be a sculptor, or a gardener, carpenter. You know, I would be free to be so much more. I guess part of me or a part of who I am, a part of what I do is being a warrior – a reluctant warrior, a reluctant struggler. But I do it, because I’m committed to life.” — Assata Shakur

#13. “I think that the greatest betrayal that a revolutionary can participate in is to become like the people you are struggling against. To become like your persecutors. I think that is a betrayal and a sin.” — Assata Shakur

#14. “I have declared war on the rich who prosper on our poverty, the politicians who lie to us with smiling faces, and all the mindless, heartless, robots who protect them and their property.” — Assata Shakur

#15. “Freedom! You asking me about freedom. I’ll be honest with you. I know a whole more about what freedom isn’t than about what it is, ’cause I’ve never been free. I can only share my vision with you of the future, about what freedom is.” — Assata Shakur

#16. “If you’re deaf, dumb, and blind to what’s happening in the world, you’re under no obligation to do anything. But if you know what’s happening and you don’t do anything but sit on your ass, then you’re nothing but a punk.” — Assata Shakur

#17. “My experience in the United States was living in a society that was very much at war with itself, that was very alienated. People felt not part of a community, but like isolated units that were afraid of interaction, of contact, that were lonely.” — Assata Shakur

#18. “I think that in order to struggle you have to be creative. In my life, creativity has been something that has sustained me; it awoke my spiritual struggle.” — Assata Shakur

#19. “It is our duty to fight for our freedom. It is our duty to win. We must love each other and support each other. We have nothing to lose but our chains.” — Assata Shakur

#20. “The methods of peaceful protests are not capable of being effective, because in reality most people pay little attention to things that are not abrasive.” — Assata Shakur

Assata Shakur Quotes on Government

#21. “I had to adjust to living in a Third World country, which means that things people in the U.S. take for granted-like hot running water whenever you turn on the tap-are not always available.” — Assata Shakur

#22. “I couldn’t see how we could seriously struggle without having a strong sense of collectivity, without being responsible FOR each other and TO each other.” — Assata Shakur

#23. “I found that people had all kinds of levels of consciousness, all kinds of levels of education, but that Cubans in general were very educated politically. I could go sit in a bus and get into a conversation with someone and that person had a wealth of knowledge. And energy!” — Assata Shakur

#24. “I believe in self-defense and self-determination for Africans and other oppressed people in America.” — Assata Shakur

#25. “Black revolutionaries do not drop from the moon. We are created by our conditions. Shaped by our oppression.” — Assata Shakur

#26. “Are you ready to sacrifice to end world hunger? To sacrifice to end colonialism? To end neocolonialism? To end racism? To end sexism?” — Assata Shakur


Assata Shakur holds a reputation as a militant activist and supporter of the Black Lives Movement. She is a household figure in fighting the wave of sexism and racism. Her words inspire millions today.

Image source: Assata Shakur photo from