"I'd rather die like a man, than live like a coward." These words are few of the countless sentiments once said by the late rapper, Tupac Shakur. Love him or hate him, there is no denying that he has left a distinct impression on American culture. In his twenty five years, Tupac has touched the lives of millions through his music and movies. Unfortunately, many fail to acknowledge the work Tupac did for his community or his strong commitment towards improving life for the people after him. This paper is dedicated to expressing the memory and legacy of Tupac Amaru Shakur.
Tupac was immediately introduced to the so-called living of "Thug Life," a phrase frequently mentioned when discussing Tupac. Although he was shaped by the many problems off inner-city youths growing up in post-civil rights America - poverty, fatherless ness, constant relocation - Tupac's story began even before he was born. Afeni Shakur was like everyone else in the early "60s and watched the civil rights movement on television. A member of the notorious Disciples gang as a teenager, Afeni points to two primary factors that channeled her frustrations in a political direction: the historic Ocean Hill-Brownsville, Brooklyn, parent-student strike (where her nephew was a student) in 1968 and the formation of the Black Panther Party in New York City. The Panthers quickly grew into a radical wing of the civil rights movement, with support in the hardcore ghettos as well as white patronage from the likes of Jane Fonda and Leonard Bernstein. Best known for their militant display of guns and insurgent tactics, which earned them FBI surveillance and raids, the Panthers were also a community-based organization that provided free breakfast for children and free health clinics in black neighborhoods across the nation. Less than a year after Afeni joined, she and twenty other members of the New York Panthers were arrested and charged with multiple felonies, including conspiracy to bomb several public areas in New York City.