Notable for establishing both the African People's Socialist Party and a radical political initiative called the Uhuru Movement, he is also known for self-publishing a number of works on the subject of the international liberation of Africans, including Reparations Now! and One People! One Party! One Destiny!
In his teens and early twenties, he was heavily involved in the American Civil Rights Movement. His activism led to his imprisonment on a charge of civil disobedience.
In 2001, he campaigned for the office of Mayor of St. Petersburg, Florida. Though he ultimately lost the election, he was the victor in all but one of the city's predominately African-American precincts.
Born Joseph Waller, he grew up in St. Petersburg, Florida. Before returning to his hometown, he lived and worked in Oakland, California.
After being imprisoned for more than two years as a result of his acts during the Civil Rights Movement, Yeshitela was denied the right to vote. In 2000, however, then-Florida Governor Jeb Bush reversed this ruling.