If Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney has her way, documents related to the life and death of rapper Tupac Shakur will be soon available for all to see alongside the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution.
In early November, Representative McKinney (D-GA) introduced the Tupac Amaru Shakur Records Collection Act of 2005, which calls for "the expeditious disclosure of records relevant to the life and death" of Shakur and seeks a collection of those records at the National Archives in Washington, D.C. A second copy of the collection would also be housed at the just-opened Tupac Amaru Shakur Center for the Arts in Stone Mountain, Georgia.
The bill was modeled after the landmark John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Collection Act, which was signed into law in 1992 by President George H.W. Bush and mandates that all assassination-related material be housed in a single collection in the Archives. Today that collection features more than 5 million pages of documents and photographs.
In addition to pushing for the public disclosure of all government records related to Shakur — including "book, paper, map, photograph, sound or video recording, machine readable material, computerized, digitized, or electronic information" collected by any federal, state or local government agency — McKinney's bill also calls for the establishment of a Citizen's Advisory Committee to oversee the implementation of the collection. The committee would be made up of civil-rights activists, entertainers and prominent members of the black community.
But the bill faces an uphill battle toward becoming law. In fact it may never even get voted on. Since it was introduced by McKinney on November 2, the bill has lingered in two separate House committees, where it will remain for a period "subsequently determined" by Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert.
Shakur was shot in Las Vegas on September 7, 1996, and died six days later. Despite films, theories and alleged jailhouse confessions, his death has never been solved. On September 13 of this year — the nine-year anniversary of Shakur's death — a seven-foot bronze memorial statue of the rapper was unveiled at the arts center that bears his name, which is also located in McKinney's 4th Congressional District.