A collection of essays written by scholars and former Panthers incorporates participant-observer perspectives in an exploration of the party's organization, gender dynamics, and legacy.
From the Author
This book is an excellent analysis of the Black Panthers
This scholarly examination of the Black Panther Party (BPP) contextualizes the origin and the demise of America's premier Black radical organization. The various scholars and Panther members taken together present multiple approaches and perspectives on the relevance of the BPP. Topics ranging from Rank and File reflections, the Legacy of the BPP, the demise of the BPP, gender dynamics, and more allow a broad base analysis that highlights uncommon information about the Panthers. My essay appears in the gender dynamics section where Tracye Matthews and Angela LeBlanc-Ernest expose the tacit and confusing narratives of female Panthers. This dialectic demonstrates the grip of patriarchal power in the 1960s and 1970s that begins the movement of women toward the myth of gender equality. This section shows that although sexism appeared in the Panthers, the female cadre were treated equally by the machinations of the CIA, FBI, counterintelligence agents and operatives. Women were brutally beaten, and jailed as were the men. Kathleen Cleaver (former Communications Secretary of the BPP) writes about life in exile with Eldridge Cleaver (former Minister of Information). Her essay is poignant, personal, and informational,discussing the expatriate group of Black Americans attempting to adjust to a North African culture. Back home in America, nationwide Panthers were more than fighting the indignity of police power and abuse. They were servicing the community in ways unknown to the general public. Panthers directed free ambulance services, pest control services,senior citizen escort services,plumbing services. Most are aware of the free breakfast for children programs and the liberation schools, projects that have now been absorbed by the state. Chris Booker and Ollie A. Johnson III broker the internal factors causing the BPP's demise. Each author however balances the invaluable contributions of the BPP as they critically isolate specifics that assisted in the closure of the Panthers. As such, this! book tests the assumptions and conclusions in the autobiographies of Panther members such as Bobby Seale's, Seize the Time and A Lonely Rage; Assata Shakur's, Assata; Elaine Brown's, A Taste of Power, and David Hilliard's, This Side of Glory. The Black Panther Party Reconsidered contextualizes, augments, and interrogates the current spate of work on or about the Panthers. Additionally, the scholarly input and the chronology extend previous authorship on the Party. For example, this text traces the Panther progression from its founding in 1966 to its decline when the final Panther project, the Oakland Community School, closed in 1982. Most texts on the Panthers stop at 1971, according to Charles Jones, the editor. I agree. Consider Philip Foner's important work The Black Panthers Speak and Robert Brisbane's Black Activism from 1954 to 1970. Going beyond that chronology, Winston A. Grady-Willis and Akinyele Omowale Umoja offer in depth analysis and facts about the plight of political prisoners and the astounding state repression the Panthers endured. This repression is further detailed in Ward Churchill's outstanding collection, Agents of Repression and The Cointelpro Papers. Umoja makes significant distinctions between traditional prisoners, political prisoners, and prisoners of war. New definitions adopted by the most radicalized of the Black Power movement. From the scrupulous introduction and time-line provided by Charles Jones to the quality of scholarship provided by the contributors, this text is a must-read. Additionally with poetry and interviews, the variation in writing styles appeals to all readers. Even the structure reminds contemporary readers of Panther aesthetics. Drawings by Emory Douglass former Minister of Culture and artist for the Black Panther newspaper introduce each chapter. The final section provides an exhaustive amount of Panther materials for the novice, scholar, or interested other. In sum, this volume is a sure-bet. It is not a one-dimensional tribut! e to the BPP. Rather, it is a complex, proudly opinionated, analytical study of one of the most remarkable organizations to challenge injustices in America.