Sophia Dawson, a Brooklyn-based artist and activist, has launched pre-orders for her new book Correspondence featuring the life stories of Black political prisoners who were imprisoned during the 1960s era of political activism.
The book, per a press release, marks the culmination of the artist’s 10-year journey of visiting Black Panthers and other political prisoners as part of her To Be Free project. Featured in the book are handwritten letters from Black Liberation Movement pioneers including Mumia Abu Jamal, Mondo We Langa, Maliki Shakur Latine, Dr. Mutulu Shakur, and more.
“The mission of Correspondence is to share with the world tangible testimonies of resilience and perseverance in the midst of some of life’s most challenging obstacles,” Dawson said in a statement to Complex. “This was an emotional but necessary project for me. In order to create the book it required me to revisit a decade of letters, some written to me from people who had passed. It is my sincere hope that through this visual, artistic exploration, we will shine a light on decades of injustice, and humanize the men and women that led the charge in the civil rights movement of the 1960s.”
And beyond inspiration, Dawson added, she hopes “the names of those who are in my book and still incarcerated receive the acknowledgement they deserve and need to support their immediate release.”
Activists featured in Correspondence include Sundiata Acoli, Zolo Azania, Herman Bell, Veronza Bowers, Grailing Kojo Brown, Romaine “Chip” Fitzgerald, David Gilbert, Robert Seth Hayes, Mumia Abu Jamal, Mohamman G. Koti, Mondo We Langa, Ruchell Magee, Abdullah Majid, Thomas Manning, the MOVE 9 (Debbie Sims Africa, Eddie Africa, Janet Holloway Africa, Janine Phillips Africa, and Michael Davis Africa), the Virgin Island Five (Warren Ballentine [Abdul Azeez] and Meral [Malik] Smith), Jalil Muntaqim, Sekou Odinga, Ed Poindexter, Dr. Mutulu Shakur, Russell Maroon Shoats, Reverend Joy Powell, Kamau Sadiki, Maliki Latine Shakur, and Kenny Zulu Whitmore.
Proceeds from Correspondence will contribute to ongoing efforts aimed at supporting formerly and currently incarcerated activists and continuing to spread awareness and mutual aid support for those who led the charge in the 1960s civil rights movement.
For more Correspondence info, including how to order a copy, click here.
Dawson’s art has been utilized as a resource to fight injustices and advocate for freedom. Since the 2010 launch of the To Be Free project, 11 political prisoners have been freed, including the remaining seven members of the MOVE 9.