I knew that my publisher (the amazing Haymarket Books) had sent a copy of I Am Troy Davis to Mumia Abu Jamal. So when I saw his name and return address on the envelope, I should not have been surprised–yet I was. Surprised, and a little star struck. I had been following Mumia’s case–and his writing–for years now. It took me a few minutes to really process that he was writing to me, and that he was writing in response to the book I had written with Troy Davis and his family.
The next day, I got another letter from Mumia. This one was the text of what I later found out was a radio spot he had done about the book for the Prison Radio, an independent multi-media production studio dedicated to challenging unjust police and prosecutorial misconduct that results in mass incarceration, racism, and gender discrimination.
And, below, is the letter he wrote me, which I received his permission to post.
As you may know, I’m in the midst of working on a book, so it took me awhile to get to Troy’s. But, of course, I did.
It is, as I’m sure you know, a powerful, damning story of a human tragedy.
It is, moreover, a real condemnation of the U.S. Way of Death.
When reading it, I couldn’t help but think of how politics has completely dominated the judiciary–and, without question, the pardon/parole machinery.
His family (esp. Mom & Sister) fought–quite literally–to their last breath, never doubting that in an injustice so strong, surely they could finish their days in the company of their son/brother.
I think, in many ways, the family and the activists underestimated the level of rot in the system, never really believing that they would betray their oaths–and visit on Troy the foul fullness of state murder.
I remember being buoyed when the U.S. Supremes actually sent it back for an evidentiary hearing.
Once again, they raised hope, only to spit disappointment on the friends and family of Troy.
I will surely distribute it, and, perhaps, donate it to the library, so that many, many guys can read it.
I thank you for sharing it with me. And I thank you for writing something that I can imagine was almost too painful, too horrific to bear.
May it fuel the anti-death penalty movement, and make it more powerful than they are today!