• Becoming Abolitionists

  • Police, Protests, and the Pursuit of Freedom
  • By: Derecka Purnell
  • Narrated by: Karen Chilton
  • Length: 14 hrs and 23 mins
  • 4.9 out of 5 stars (111 ratings)

1 title per month from Audible’s entire catalog of best sellers, and new releases.
Access a growing selection of included Audible Originals, audiobooks and podcasts.
You will get an email reminder before your trial ends.
Your Premium Plus plan is $14.95 a month after 30 day trial. Cancel anytime.
Buy for $31.47

Buy for $31.47

Pay using card ending in
By confirming your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and Amazon's Privacy Notice. Taxes where applicable.

Publisher's Summary

For more than a century, activists in the United States have tried to reform the police. From community policing initiatives to increasing diversity, none of it has stopped the police from killing about three people a day. Millions of people continue to protest police violence because these “solutions” do not match the problem: The police cannot be reformed.

In Becoming Abolitionists, Purnell draws from her experiences as a lawyer, writer, and organizer initially skeptical about police abolition. She saw too much sexual violence and buried too many friends to consider getting rid of police in her hometown of St. Louis, let alone the nation. But the police were a placebo. Calling them felt like something, and something feels like everything when the other option seems like nothing.

Purnell details how multiracial social movements rooted in rebellion, risk-taking, and revolutionary love pushed her and a generation of activists toward abolition. The book travels across geography and time and offers lessons that activists have learned from Ferguson, Missouri, to South Africa, from Reconstruction to contemporary protests against police shootings.

Here, Purnell argues that police cannot be reformed and invites listeners to envision new systems that work to address the root causes of violence. Becoming Abolitionists shows that abolition is not solely about getting rid of police, but a commitment to create and support different answers to the problem of harm in society and, most excitingly, an opportunity to reduce and eliminate harm in the first place.

©2021 Derecka Purnell (P)2021 Blackstone Publishing

More from the same

What listeners say about Becoming Abolitionists

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    105
  • 4 Stars
    5
  • 3 Stars
    0
  • 2 Stars
    1
  • 1 Stars
    0
Performance
  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    90
  • 4 Stars
    8
  • 3 Stars
    1
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0
Story
  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    94
  • 4 Stars
    4
  • 3 Stars
    0
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    1

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

highly recommended

great book for the newbies who want communities to operate without the cops. this book does a great job of connecting capitalism, ableism, patriarchy, etc to the need to eradicate current systems of oppression and reinvent them in new "people first" ways.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Unexpected!

I was delightfully surprised that this book was as much about personal growth and the importance of political education as it was about abolitionist ideas. It is a hopeful story that does so much to challenge history, perception, and norms; truly imaginative! The reader is also a great listen.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

masterful work

What an incredible book. Absolutely a must read for anyone serious about better understanding police abolition

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • TR
  • 10-11-21

An EXCEPTIONAL contribution

This is a wonderful coming of age story of one of the most astute thinkers of our generation!!! Brava!!!

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Karen Chilton and Derecka Purnell

A fantastic reading of an exceptionally powerful book. I’ve heard a number of books read by Chilton and she remains engaging, and illustrative. Learned a lot of nuance from Purnell and hope there’s more to come from her work. Absolutely recommend

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Vital

This book does an incredible job not just showing that abolition is desirable, but that it is essential.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

So possible! We’ll-written and full of hope

Thank you so much for this book Ms. Purnell. As I sit here a day after a mass shooting in Buffalo targeting a black community at a grocery store, I wonder why we want to continue this way. Your words are powerful and vision so possible. Thank you for your courage and truth in writing this.

1 person found this helpful

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Pambela
  • Pambela
  • 12-06-21

A historical insight to how shockingly people of colour were treated.

We are all god’s children regardless of who your god or higher spirit is. We are all equally and we were all put on this earth for a reason that is to benefit mankind. Mankind but man has not been so kind.

It is shameful that man has been so cruel, ego driven and has been conditioned or brainwashed into doing the devils work.

This book provides an insight to the shameful and shocking ways the people of colour has been so poorly treated in America. Similar treatment of Australian aborigines. It must stop. The colour of one’s skin nor their birthplace should be considered as a defining factor. There is a better, inclusive, more holistic approach to peace and kindness for all. What a wonderful world this could be.