Mumia Abu-Jamal (born Wesley Cook April 24, 1954) is a Black activist and writer.
He adopted the surname Abu-Jamal ("father of Jamal" in Arabic) after the birth of his son Jamal in 1971. He has three children, his first marriage at age 19, to Jamal's mother, Biba, was short-lived. Their daughter, Lateefa, was born shortly after the wedding. Mazi, Abu-Jamal's son by his second wife, Marilyn was born in early 1978. Abu-Jamal was living with his third and current wife, Wadiya, shortly before going to prison. After leaving the Panthers he returned to his old high school, but was suspended for distributing literature calling for "black revolutionary student power". He also led unsuccessful protests to change the school name to Malcolm X High. After attaining his GED, he studied briefly at Goddard College.
In 1975, he began a career in radio broadcasting, first at Temple University's WRTI and then in 1975, he was employed at radio station WHAT and he became host of a weekly feature program of WCAU-FM in 1978. He was also worked at WPEN, and became active in the local chapter of the Marijuana Users Association of America. From 1979 until 1981, he worked at National Public Radio-affiliate WUHY when he was asked to submit his resignation after a dispute about the requirements of objective focus in his presentation of news. As a radio journalist he and was known for identifying with and giving exposure to the MOVE anarcho-primitivist commune in Philadelphia's Powelton Village neighborhood, including reportage of the 1979–80 trial of certain of its members (the "MOVE Nine") charged with the murder of police officer James Ramp. During his broadcasting career, his high-profile interviews included Julius Erving, Bob Marley, and Alex Haley, and he was elected president of the Philadelphia Association of Black Journalists.
Abu-Jamal was working as a taxicab driver in Philadelphia two nights a week to supplement his income. He had been working part-time as a reporter for WDAS. In 1981, Abu-Jamal was arrested, tried and convicted of gunning down white city police Officer Daniel Faulkner. He garnered worldwide support for his claims that he was the victim of a racist justice system. In 2011, prosecutors dropped their bid for capital punishment against Abu-Jamal. He now received an automatic life term.