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            Tupac Amaru Shakur was born on June 16, 1971. Named after an Inca Chief, Tupac Amaru means "Shining Serpent", referring to wisdom and courage and Shakur, meaning "thankful to God". Shakur's mother, Afeni Shakur, was a leading member of the Black Panthers, a radical wing of the civil rights movement, with support for hardcore ghettos as well as white patronage. When Tupac's mother was pregnant with Tupac she was spending time in the Woman's House of Detention in Greenwich Village for conspiring to bomb several public places in New York City. While growing up, his family lived in homeless shelters and run-down town houses. Many times his family could not even afford lighting in the house. The only fond member he has ever told of his childhood was of a diary he kept. In this diary, he recorded his first attempts at poetry, this is where it began. A big moment in Tupac's intellectual life occurred when he was twelve. At the age of twelve, his mother enrolled him in 127th Street Ensemble, a theater group in Harlem. Even at an early age his mothers political views where confusing, and intriguing him. As he told the January issue of VIBE magazine in 1994, "She was trying to make me live in the white picket fence lifestyle, but yet we ain't got no money and no good food and no lights. You want me to go to school? They tellin me all this stuff about fighting the system but they pushin me in the system." Meanwhile, Tupac's father was serving time in prison. When released, Tupac and his mother had moved to Baltimore. Before Afeni Shakur could contact him, he had died of a crack-induced heart attack. While in Baltimore, Tupac auditioned for, and was accepted into, the Baltimore School of Arts. This success gave Tupac a goal and ambition. It also exposed him to white people who cared about his life. However, before Tupac could finish high school at this school of arts, his family moved to Marin City, California.

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