University obtains artwork by convicted cop-killer to ‘advance research on incarceration’

The collection will become a part of the university’s ‘Voices of Mass Incarceration’ section.

‘I was 25 years old when my husband was shot in the back,’ Officer’s widow explained.

Brown University’s John Hay Library (BU) announced that it obtained a collection of over 60 boxes of “records, writings, and artwork” by a convicted cop-killer Mumia Abu-Jamal. Obtaining the collection is a part of the university’s initiative to advance the study of incarceration. 

“Questions about Abu-Jamal’s guilt have prompted deep legal examination and fueled international discussion since the 1980s, and the acquisition of his papers is part of a broader initiative to advance research on incarceration,” the announcement reads.

Abu-Jamal was convicted in 1982 of murdering Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulkner. He received the death penalty, but his sentence was later thrown out “because several witnesses had died or were no longer available to testify” and instead was re-sentenced to life in prison. 

He appealed the sentence in 2016 but a Pennsylvania court denied the appeal in 2021. 

Abu-Jamal was a member of the Black Panthers, a Marxist-Lenin group that had a history of attacking and killing police. Both the group’s founders, Bobby Seale and Huey Newton, were accused of murder. Newton was convicted in 1971 and then later his sentence was overturned due to jury instruction technicalities. 

Abu-Jamal’s work will be the focus of BU’s John Hay Library’s “Voices of Mass Incarceration“ section, which serves to make “collections publicly available for free and open use by scholars, students, and advocates seeking to study an aspect of the carceral state.”

The “Voices of Mass Incarceration” is a collective effort by multiple centers at BU including the Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity in America, the Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice, and the Pembroke Center, which have “drawn connections between mass incarceration and systemic inequalities in the U.S.” 

Some of the contents of Abu-Jamal’s section include poems, journals, a pair of eyeglasses, and a detailed visitor list of people he meets with “from the outside world.”

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After hearing about the collection, Faulkner’s widow, Maureen Faulker, told FOX News, “What about my husband? What about him?”

“I was 25 years old when my husband was shot in the back, and then he fell to the ground and lost his gun. He did shoot Mumia Abu-Jamal in the stomach, and then Jamal tracked him down and continued to shoot at him,” she explained. 

Abu-Jamal is not the only convicted cop-killer to be of interest to a university.

Campus Reform reported on convicted cop killer Jalil Muntaqim, an “invited guest of a SUNY Brockport faculty member,” speaking at an event at the university. 

Muntaqim, also a member of the Black Panther movement, was convicted of killing two police officers in 1971. 

The event was titled, “History of Black Resistance, U.S. Political Prisoners & Genocide: A Conversation with Jalil Muntaqim.”

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The John Hay collection also contained papers from Baruch College of the City University of New York associate professor Dr. Johanna Fernández, a “longtime advocate for Abu-Jamal.”

Fernández authored the book The Young Lords: A Radical History following the rise and fall of a Puerto Rican street gang, called the Young Lords, modeled after the Black Panthers that became a “political organization in New York…[that] defended prisoners, [and] fought the military police.” 

She also sued the New York Police Department in 2014 to obtain police records regarding the Young Lords gang for research on her book.  

BU spokesperson Brian Clark referred Campus Reform to the August announcement. He also stated, “The one thing I’d point out preemptively is that despite a few completely fabricated stories out there (most of which are now removed or corrected), there is no art exhibition or public display of these materials of any kind.”

The announcement stated that Abu-Jamal’s collection and Fernández’s papers “will be made available for [research] use in 2023.”

Campus Reform contacted every university, organization, and individual mentioned. This article will be updated accordingly.

Follow @kliseanderson on Twitter.