While the story of history may be most often defined through its winners, long forgotten, "defeated" movements and their ideals sometimes reemerge with renewed popularity, offering perhaps a better glimpse into society's future. This is the argument put forward by this collection of reflections from scholars and activists that reconsider the historical impact of the Black Panther Party (BPP)- often called the most significant revolutionary organization in the US in the later part of 20th-century. Compared with more entrenched organizations like the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) or the NAACP, the 14-year existence of the Black Panther Party seems brief indeed. Yet the BBP gave organizational expression to a tendency in the revolutionary movement that long predated it - the idea that the entire system is corrupt and needs to be reconstructed. Dozens of groups dedicated to revolutionary change appeared in the US in the 1960s, but only the BPP was able to develop a mass following and appeal to a broad constituency.
These articles offer a recounting of the Party's tumultuous history and its reverberations through modern politics, including Chicano movements, international labor movements, and the campaign to free Mumia Abu Jumal. Counterbalancing hypercritical attacks and fawning glorifications, this anthology offers a reasoned perspective and features previously silenced voices.
Table of Contents
Introduction George Katsiaficas Part I - Revisiting the Liberation Struggle 1. Repression Breeds Resistance:The Black Liberation Army and the Legacy of the Black Panther Party Akinyele Umoja 2. Global Solidarity:The Black Panther Party in the International Arena Michael L. Clemons and Charles E. Jones 3. A Life in the Party: A Historical and Retrospective Examination of the Projections and Legacies of the Black Panther Party (excerpts) Mumia Abu-Jamal 4. Mobilizing For Mumia Abu-Jamal In Paris Kathleen Neal Cleaver Part II - Understanding the Fight for Freedom 5. Every Nation Struggling to be Free has a Right to Struggle, a Duty to Struggle Geronimo ji Jaga 6. To Disrupt, Discredit and Destroy:The FBI'S Secret War Against the Black Panther Party Ward Churchill 7. The Split in the Party Don Cox 8. Women, Power, and Revolution Kathleen Neal Cleaver 9. Black Fighting Formations: Their Strengths, Weaknesses and Potentialities Russell Shoats Part III - Capturing the Imagination of the Movement 10. Organization and Movement: The Case of the Black Panther Party and the Revolutionary People's Constitutional Convention of 1970 George Katsiaficas 11. The Influences of the Black Panther Party (USA) on the Vanguard Party of the Bahamas, 1972-1987 John T. McCartney 12. Cuba, The Black Panther Party and the US Black Movement in the 1960s:Issues of Security Ruth Reitan 13. Revolutionary Art is a Tool for Liberation:Emory Douglas and Protest Aesthetics at the Black Panther Erika Doss 14. White Radicals, Black Panthers and a Sense of Fulfillment Stew Albert Part IV - Continuing the Resistance 15. Shadow of a Clue Errol Anthony Henderson 16. Tracking Down the Empirical Legacy of the Black Panther Party (or Notes on the Perils of Pursuing the Panthers) Claudia Dahlerus and Christian Davenport 17. Remembering King's Assassination Kathleen Neal Cleaver 18. Louisiana Panthers Endure 27 Years of Solitary Confinement for a Murder They Did Not Commit Scott Fleming 19. Afterword:Rediscovering the Black Panther Party Victor Wallis Documents:The Ten Point Platform and Program of the Black Panther Party (1966) Workshop Reports from the Revolutionary Peoples Constitutional Convention (1970)
Kathleen Cleaver, currently Professor of Public Policy at Emory University, worked full time with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), and afterwards became the Communications Secretary of the Black Panther Party. Returning to the United States after sharing years of exile with her former husband Eldridge Cleaver, she subsequently earned both a B.A. and J.D. from Yale University. George Katsiaficas is a long-time activist as well as Editor of the journal New Political Science and author of The Imagination of the New Left: A Global Analysis of 1968. His book, The Subversion of Politics: European Autonomous Social Movements and the Decolonization of Everyday Life, won the APSA's 1998 Michael Harrington book award. He teaches at Wentworth Institute of Technology in Boston.