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Marilyn Jean Buck (born 1947 in Jasper, Texas) is an American self-described life-long anti-racist and anti-imperialist activist,[1] and a convicted felon, convicted of conspiracy in a number of violent crimes. She has been convicted for her participation in the 1979 prison break of black activist Assata Shakur, as well as conspiracy to commit armed robbery as a participant with members of the Weather Underground and Black Liberation Army in the 1981 Brinks robbery, in which she rented a safe house for the robbers and drove the getaway car.[2][3][4] She was also convicted of conspiracy for her role in the 1983 U.S. Senate bombing and the bombings of three military installations in the Washington D.C. area and four sites in New York City.[5] Buck received an 80-year sentence for the bombings, which she is serving at FCI Dublin in California.

While in prison, Buck has contributed articles to Sojourners Magazine, Monthly Review (Buck et al. 2001, Buck 2004), and Social Justice, as well as other journals and anthologies (James 2003, James 2005), on the subjects of women in prison, solitary confinement, and related issues. She received a PEN American Center prize for poetry in 2001.


Early life

Buck is the daughter of a minister. She attended the University of California at Berkeley and the University of Texas.

1960s activism

After organizing in support of Native American, Palestinian, Iranian and Vietnamese sovereignty, Buck joined Students for a Democratic Society in 1967 and subsequently worked with San Francisco's Third World Newsreel.

1973 conviction, fugitive

In 1973 she was convicted on two counts of purchasing ammunition using false identification in her role as gunrunner for the Black Liberation Army, and sentenced to ten years in prison.[6] Buck was given a furlough from prison and went underground instead of returning.

Role in Brink's robbery

Buck played a key role in the Brinks robbery of 1981 in which a guard and two police officers were killed. She drove the getaway car as well as providing the robbers with a safehouse and weapons.[2] During the investigation into the armed robbery and killings, investigators found "a supply of automatic weapons, shotguns, ammunition, bomb-making material and something else that made their blood run cold: detailed blueprints of six Manhattan police precincts,"[4] in an apartment in East Orange, New Jersey rented by "Carol Durant," an alias of Buck's. Police found papers there that led them to an address in Mount Vernon, New York, where they found bloody clothing and ammunition: "Investigation later revealed that the bloody clothing belonged to Marilyn Buck, who had accidentally shot herself in the leg when she tried to draw her weapon during the shootout at Mountainview."[4]

1983 arrest

In 1983 Buck was recaptured and charged as a participant in successfully assisting convicted felon Assata Shakur to escape from federal prison.

United States Capitol bombing

In 1985, she and six others were convicted in the Resistance Conspiracy case, a series of bombings in protest of United States foreign policy in the Middle East and Central America.[7]

The May 12, 1988 indictment described the goal of the conspiracy as being "to influence, change and protest policies and practices of the United States Government concerning various international and domestic matters through the use of violent and illegal means" and charged the seven with bombing the United States Capitol Building, three military installations in the Washington D.C. area, and four sites in New York City. The military sites bombed were the National War College at Fort McNair, the Washington Navy Yard Computer Center, and the Washington Navy Yard Officers Club. In New York City, the sites bombed were the Staten Island Federal Building, the Israeli Aircraft Industries Building, the South African consulate, and the offices of the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association.[5]

Five of those charged in the case have since been released from prison and one was never captured, leaving Buck the only conspirator still in prison. Her Federal Prison register number is 00482-285. Her projected release date is August 8, 2010.[8]

As an author

Buck has contributed articles on women in prison, solitary confinement, and related issues to Sojourners Magazine, Monthly Review (Buck et al. 2001, Buck 2004), and Social Justice, as well as other journals and anthologies (James 2003, James 2005).

Marilyn Buck is an accomplished poet, having received a PEN American Center prize for poetry in 2001. Her poems have appeared in the anthologies Hauling Up the Morning (Blunk and Levasseur 1990), Wall Tappings (Scheffler 2002), Igniting a Revolution: Voices in Defense of the Earth (Buck 2006), Seeds of Fire (Anderson 2008), and in her chapbook, Rescue the Word (2002). Her poems as well as those by David Meltzer, Mitsuye Yamada, Uchechi Kalu, and others appear on the audio CD Wild Poppies (Freedom Archives 2004). Her translations and introduction to Cristina Peri Rossi's poetry have appeared in State of Exile as Number 58 in the City Lights Pocket Poets Series (Buck, 2008).


  1. ^ Thompson 2001
  2. ^ a b "Former Terrorist Is Among Those Pardoned or Freed in Clinton's Final Acts in Office". The New York Times. January 21, 2001.  
  3. ^ Lubasch, Arnold H. (May 12, 1988). ""2 Ex-fugitives Convicted of Roles in Fatal Armored-Truck Robbery."". New York Times. Retrieved 2008-04-18.  
  4. ^ a b c The Brinks Robbery of 1981 - The Crime Library on
  5. ^ a b Shenon, Philip (1988-05-12). "U.S. Charges 7 In the Bombing At U.S. Capitol". The New York Times. Retrieved 2007-12-01. "Seven members of a group describing itself as a "Communist politico-military organization" were charged today with the 1983 bombing of the Capitol and attacks on several other buildings, including at least four in New York City, according to the Justice Department."  
  6. ^ "WOMAN IS JAILED AS A GUNRUNNER; Says She Changed Returned to Texas Mysteries Remain Once an Honor Student, She Draws 10 Years on Coast". The New York Times. October 28, 1973.  
  7. ^ Associated Press (May 26, 1988). "6 Radicals Deny Charges in '83 Capitol Bombing". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-04-18.  
  8. ^ Federal Bureau of Prisons Inmate Locator


  • Buck, Marilyn. 2002. Rescue the Word. San Francisco, California: Friends Of Marilyn Buck. NoISBN.
  • Buck, Marilyn. 2004a. The U.S. Prison State. Monthly Review February. Retrieved from on March 20, 2008.
  • Buck, Marilyn. 2006. "Poems From Prison". In Igniting a Revolution: Voices in Defense of the Earth Steven Best and Anthony J. Nocella II. (eds.) Oakland, California: AK Press. ISBN 9781904859567.
  • Buck, Marilyn. 2008. Introduction and translation in Peri Rossi (2008).
  • Buck, Marilyn, Laura Whitehorn, and Susie Day. 2001. An Interview with Marilyn Buck and Laura Whitehorn: Cruel But Not Unusual: The Punishment of Women in U.S. Prisons. In James (2005). Reprinted in the Wayland Faculty Seminar 2003-2004, Incarceration, Narrative, and Performance. Rhode Island: Brown University. Retrieved March 26, 2008 from

Further reading

  • Andersen, Jon, ed. 2008. Seeds of Fire: Poetry from the Other USA. England: Smokestack Books. ISBN 0955402824.
  • Blunk, Tim, and Raymond Luc Levasseur, eds. 1990. Hauling Up the Morning. New Jersey: Red Sea Press. ISBN 0932415601.
  • Freedom Archives, ed. 2004. Wild Poppies: A Poetry Jam Across Prison Walls - Poets And Musicians Honor Poet And Political Prisoner Marilyn Buck. San Francisco, California: Freedom Archives. Audio CD. ISBN 0972742247. Available as mp3 downloads at
  • James, Joy, ed. 2003. Imprisoned Intellectuals: America's Political Prisoners Write on Life, Liberation, and Rebellion. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc. ISBN 0742520277.
  • James, Joy, ed. 2005. The New Abolitionists: (Neo)slave Narratives And Contemporary Prison Writings. New York: SUNY Press. ISBN 0791464857.
  • Peri Rossi, Cristina. 2003. Estado de Exilio. Madrid, Spain: Visor Libros. ISBN 8475225152.
  • Peri Rossi, Cristina. 2008. State of Exile.Pocket Poets Number 58. San Francisco, California: City Lights. ISBN 0872864634.
  • Scheffler, Judith A. (Ed.) 2002. Wall Tappings: Women's Prison Writings. 2d ed. New York: The Feminist Press at CUNY. ISBN 1558612734.
  • Thompson, Becky. 2001. A Promise and a Way of Life. Minnesota: University of Minnesota Press. ISBN 0816636346.

External links



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