Pen Pal: Prison Letters from a Free Spirit on Slow Death Row

byTiyo Attallah Salah-ElPreface byMike Jr. Africa

October 25, 2020|
Pen Pal: Prison Letters from a Free Spirit on Slow Death Row by Tiyo Attallah Salah-El
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Tiyo Attallah Salah-El died in 2018 on “Slow Death Row” while serving a life sentence in a Pennsylvania prison. He was a man with a dizzying array of talents and vocations: author, scholar, teacher, musician, and activist: he was the founder of the Coalition for the Abolition of Prisons. He was also, as is apparent from the letters written over a decade and half to his friend Paul Alan Smith that make up this book, an extraordinarily eloquent correspondent.

Tiyo’s missives present a vivid picture of the tribulations faced by those incarcerated, especially the nearly 60% who are non-white: habitual racism, arbitrary lockdowns, brutal beatings and hospitalizations, stifling heat and bitter cold. Here too are descriptions of Tiyo’s individual struggles with cancer, aging, and the sirens of personal demons.

Tiyo’s refusal to succumb to such hardships is evident in dispatches that are generous, philosophical and often laugh-out-loud funny. Through them we learn of his many friendships, including those with the historian Howard Zinn, a range of activist/advocate supporters on the outside, and two fellow people in prison who were leaders of the Black liberation group MOVE.

At a time when the appalling racial bias of America’s police and criminal justice system is under the spotlight as never before, Pen Pal is both a vital intervention and moving portrait of someone whose physical confinement could never extinguish an extraordinary free spirit.

Tiyo Attallah Salah-El served a life sentence, primarily in the State Correctional Institute at Dallas in Pennsylvania. He was the founder of the Coalition for the Abolition of Prisons, the author of an autobiography, and a teacher of law and GED classes in prison. He died in prison in 2018. His papers are archived at the W.E.B. Du Boi...
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Title:Pen Pal: Prison Letters from a Free Spirit on Slow Death Row
Format:Paperback
Product dimensions:256 pages, 9 X 6 X 0 in
Shipping dimensions:256 pages, 9 X 6 X 0 in
Published:October 25, 2020
Publisher:Or Books
Language:English
Appropriate for ages:All ages
ISBN - 13:9781682193044

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