Born Alice Faye Williams, Shakur changed her name when she became politically active in the 1960s and joined the Black Panther movement. By 1971, she was pregnant and behind bars, accused of conspiring to bomb New York City landmarks.
She said the charges were brought after the Panthers took over a school to make a point about continuing to educate children during a teacher’s strike in 1968.
Recalling the case years later, she said they were accused of conspiring to commit murder and arson, to blow up the Bronx Botanical Garden and the Abercrombie & Fitch and Macy’s department stores, and even police stations. All the charges were ultimately dismissed, and her son was born soon after she left jail.
She named him Tupac Amaru, after the last Incan emperor, who led a rebellion and refused to surrender to Spanish conquistadors.
By Mambu Bayoh