I Am Maroon

The True Story of an American Political Prisoner

Coming Soon


By Russell Shoatz

With Kanya D’Almeida

Formats and Prices




$22.99 CAD

 A cinematic memoir of justice and redemption that traces one man’s tumultuous life from gang member to Black liberation leader to political prisoner.
Russell Shoatz was a gang member in inner Philadelphia starting at age 11. But at 23, after hearing Malcolm X speak, his life changed course. Shoatz would become a lifelong crusader for justice, a soldier in the most militant units of the Black Liberation Army, and a community organizer who was constantly brushing up against the notorious Frank Rizzo and his police commandos in Philly. As the struggle for self-determination among Black communities intensified, Shoatz was convicted to life in prison following a coordinated attack on a park police station that left one guard dead.
The prison walls, however, could not deter Shoatz’s battle for personal and collective freedom. He escaped state prisons twice, making him a living legend, and endowed him with the moniker “Maroon,” once used to honor runaway slaves from plantations. He survived 22 years in solitary confinement, prompting an international campaign for his freedom.  
I Am Maroon charts a life of dizzying intrigue and long struggle for liberation. With an unforgettable voice, Maroon reminds us that we too are capable of radical change, leaving us a blueprint for how we might dedicate our lives and minds to the ongoing fight for freedom.



  • “In tracing the social, political, and moral evolution of a truly extraordinary individual, I Am Maroon also attests to the ongoing maturation of a movement in which the vision of freedom becomes increasingly more expansive. The story of Russell Shoatz reveals that the quest for Black liberation demands disentanglement from its pernicious embrace of heteropatriarchy. It also reveals the ultimate kinship of all struggles for freedom.”
    Angela Y. Davis, feminist activist, scholar, and author of many books, including Freedom Is a Constant Struggle
  • “An epic tale told with ferocity and nuance, wit and grace; a tale of freedom as much as a story of imprisonment.”
    Leslie Jamison, New York Times–bestselling author of the Empathy Exams
  • “Shoatz lived his entire life trying to effect changes within the system! We honor him by imitating and acknowledging this.”
    Robert H. King, last surviving member of the Angola Three

On Sale
Sep 3, 2024
Page Count
400 pages
Bold Type Books

Russell Shoatz

About the Author

Russell "Maroon" Shoatz was a dedicated community activist, founding member of the Black Unity Council, former member of the Black Panther Party, and soldier in the Black Liberation Army.

 Kanya D'Almeida is a writer and winner of the 2021 Commonwealth Short Story Prize. As a journalist, she reported for a decade on global economic apartheid, reproductive justice and prison abolition.


Learn more about this author