Tupac Amaru Shakur was heavily influenced by his mother Afeni and many members from the Black Panther Party including other black leaders and activist such as Nat Turner, Harriet Tubman, Marcus Garvey, Malcolm X, Nelson Mandela and many more. The Black Panther movement played a significant role in his development, as he was nurtured under the guidance of some progressive activists who propagated their self-determining ideologies. He had a deep and profound love for his people and a deep sensitivity for the oppression and pain they were going through, and it reflected in his music.”
Nat Turner (October 2, 1800 – November 11, 1831) was an African-American slave preacher in Virginia who led the bloodiest slave rebellion in American history. In the 185 years that followed the rebellion, Turner's place in history has been reinterpreted, revised, maximized, and minimized. In 1993, Tupac read the book - “The Confessions of Nat Turner”. He was so inspired by this hero of resistance that he dreamt of bringing this story to life. The ‘1831’ date 'Exodus' on his back marks the year of Nat Turner’s revolt to free slaves. Birth of a Nation” is a movie written, directed and starring Nate Parker. This movie tells a vital story and shares the same vision that Tupac had many years ago.
Harriet Tubman (born Araminta Ross, c. March 1822 – March 10, 1913) was an American abolitionist and social activist. Born into slavery, Tubman escaped and subsequently made some 13 missions to rescue approximately 70 enslaved people, including family and friends, using the network of antislavery activists and safe houses known as the Underground Railroad.
In a 1991 interview with Davey D Tupac spoke about his idea and inspiration on the Underground railroad. "The concept behind this is the same concept behind Harriet Tubman, to get my brothers who might be into drug dealing or whatever it is that’s illegal or who are disenfranchised by today’s society-I want to get them back into by turning them onto music. It could be R&B, hip hop or pop, as long as I can get them involved. While I’m doing that, I’m teaching them to find a love for themselves so they can love others and do the same thing we did for them to others".
Marcus Garvey (August 17, 1887 – June 10, 1940) was known as the founder of the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA). Formed in Jamaica in July 1914, the UNIA aimed to achieve Black nationalism through the celebration of African history and culture. The title "Look for Me in the Whirlwind" of the Collective Autobiography of the Panther 21 was inspired by the following quote from Marcus Garvey. In 1993 Tupac also visited a group of students at the Marcus Garvey High School in Los Angeles.