Jamal Joseph

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For the association football player, see Jamil Joseph.
Jamal Joseph, 2012

Jamal Joseph (formerly Eddie Joseph[1]) is an American writer, director, producer, poet, activist, and educator. Joseph was a member of the Black Panther Party and the Black Liberation Army. He was prosecuted as one of the Panther 21.[1] He spent six years incarcerated at Leavenworth Penitentiary.[2]

Joseph served time for his role in the murder of Sam Napier in April 1971.[3] Napier was circulation manager of 'The Black Panther', and was murdered as part of a series of retaliatory assassinations caused by a factional dispute within the Panthers. Joseph was also involved in robberies committed by the BLA.[4] Joseph was sentenced to 12½ years in prison for his role as an accomplice in the Brink's robbery (1981), that killed two police officers and an armored car driver. One of the victims was Waverly Brown, the first African American to serve on the Nyack, New York, police force.[5][6]

Joseph served 5½ years in Leavenworth, where he earned two college degrees and wrote his first play.[6] To date, he has written five plays and two volumes of poetry.[citation needed] He earned his BA summa cum laude from the University of Kansas while at Leavenworth.[7] His first position after incarceration was at Touro College, in East Harlem. While there he was instrumental in arranging for historic graduation ceremonies at the Apollo Theatre. with a graduation address by Ossie Davis, preceded by a spectacular Graduation Procession down the middle of 125th Street [8] He is a full professor and former chair of Columbia University’s Graduate Film Division and the artistic director of the New Heritage Theatre Group in Harlem. He has been featured on HBO's Def Poetry Jam, BET's American Gangster and on Tupac Shakur's The Rose That Grew from Concrete Volumes 1 and 2.[citation needed] He is the author of the interactive biography on Tupac Shakur, Tupac Shakur Legacy.[9]

Joseph was nominated for a 2008 Academy Award in the Best Song category for his contributions to the song "Raise It Up", performed by IMPACT Repertory Theatre and Jamia Nash in the 2007 film August Rush.[10][11]

His memoir Panther Baby was published in February 2012 by Algonquin Books.[1]


  1. ^ a b c Sneak Peek: Panther Baby by Jamal Joseph, Algonquin Books blog, 15 November 2011. Retrieved 13 February 2012.
  2. ^ Joseph, Jamal, Panther Baby. New York: Algonquin Books, 2012.
  3. ^ Robert D. McFadden, "4 Panthers Admit Guilt in Slaying", The New York Times, May 22, 1973.
  4. ^ Bryan Burrough, Days of Rage: America's Radical Underground, the FBI, and the Forgotten Age.
  5. ^ http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/07/25/whitewashing-the-black-panthers.html
  6. ^ a b Moynihan, Colin, "Oscar Nomination Caps Columbia Film Professor’s Long Journey", The New York Times, February 21, 2008.
  7. ^ Jamal Joseph – Purpose Prize Winner 2015.
  8. ^ personal recollection
  9. ^ Anne Burt, FACULTY Q&A: Jamal Joseph on His New Biography of Tupac Shakur, Columbia News, 8 September 2006, modified 14 November 2007. Retrieved 13 February 2012.
  10. ^ "Harlem's IMPACT Repertory Theatre members will sing 'Raise It Up' from film 'August Rush' at Academy Awards ceremony", New York Daily News, 20 February 2008. Retrieved 13 February 2012.
  11. ^ "Additional reporting by Jessica Letkemann and Keith Caulfield," [1], Billboard, undated (1 February 2008). Retrieved 13 February 2012.

Further reading[edit]

  • Panther Baby: A Life of Rebellion and Reinvention. Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, 2012. ISBN 978-1-61620-126-5

External links[edit]