She was the first woman on the FBI's Most Wanted list.
(And the reason why will probably shock you.)
Assata Shakur, born Joanne Chesimard was a radical black activist in the 60s and 70s, and worked with the Black Panther Party and the Black Liberation Army in opposition against segregation, the military draft, and other social issues. Because of her activities, she was the frequent target of FBI harassment which still continues to this day. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie recently made another demand for her extradition from Cuba, stating that she "stands remorseless and free after the cold-blooded, execution-style killing of a New Jersey State Trooper and the serious wounding of another.” (Via). While that is the official story, it's full of holes and impossibilities.
Assata Shakur was not and has never been a terrorist. Instead, she was a political prisoner of the United States.
The "case" against her.
After her work as an activist (which included coordinating a free breakfast program for children), the FBI worked to silence her and other activists. Some were murdered (like Fred Hampton, who was shot in his bed by Chicago police), while others, like Assata Shakur, were silenced through the criminal justice system. She was a suspect in a robbery in Queens, the deaths of four police officers (despite the fact that all the assailants were identified as male- via). The allegations piled up, though there was very little evidence that actually supported the claims being made. These were not accidents, or a case of poor investigation. Via:
This was an intentional program, dubbed Operation CHESROB, designed to use the legal system to silence dissenters.
The program worked.
On May 2, 1973 the car being driven by Zayd Shakur and carrying Assata Shakur and Sundiata Acoli was pulled over by New Jersey State Troopers. What happened next has never been resolved. All that is known for sure is that Trooper Werner Foerster and Zayd Shakur were killed. Shakur maintained that she was not able to fire a weapon- in self defense or otherwise- because she'd been shot in the shoulder and physically couldn't. The other Trooper present, James Harper retracted his initial version of events. Initially he stated that Shakur reached for a weapon and fired at him- later he stated that she was unarmed and was fired at when her hands were raised in surrender (via). He went on to say that he had lied in all three of his official reports (via). Despite this contradictory testimony and the absence of evidence, Shakur and Acoli were convicted of both murders.
Justice was not served.
There was no justice for the families of Trooper Werner Foerster and Zayd Shakur. Assata Shakur was denied medial care, assaulted by the police, and sent to a men's prison where she constantly feared for her life. She escaped and was brought to Cuba, where she received political asylum in 1984, where she still resides to this day.
Don't believe me?
I don't blame you. It sounds absurd. It would be far easier to believe that this woman committed heinous crimes and then hid behind political ideology to try to get away with it. Which is why the fiction written by the United States government has persisted for so many decades. No matter which story you believe, it is undeniable that there was no chance of a fair trial (NPR has a good write-up here). It is undeniable that the United States government was illegally monitoring its citizens and silencing dissent- a violation of the right to privacy, the right to protest, the right to form a militia (Huffington Post goes into more detail here). And most importantly, it is undeniable that the fight for racial justice and civil liberties cannot end with Assata Shakur.