Mumia Abu-Jamal is an activist who was convicted of murdering a policeofficer in the early 1980s, and has been serving a sentence on Death Rowin Pennsylvania ever since. He has become a central figure in the struggleagainst the death penalty. In 1992, an investigative radio journalistbegan tape recording Abu-Jamal. Banned from National Public Radio, theseessays are published in "All Things Censored."

Abu-Jamal's writing is suffused with the spiritual strength needed tosurvive in a place from which no one easily escapes. As John Donne wrote in 1619, "Now was there ever any man seen to sleep in the cart, between Newgate, and Tyburn? between the prison, and the place of execution, does any man sleep?" Mumia Abu-Jamal is more likely to quote Mao Tse-tung than the Bible, but his meditations--on a man convicted of rape and murder, who must confront the man who raped and killed his own daughter; of the old man who takes antacid for pancreatic cancer; of Abu-Jamal's own child, who beats her fists against the Plexiglass window separating them--illustrate lessons of faith and endurance.