Re: Black Panthers (multiple posts)
Wed, 3 Mar 1999 18:18:02 -0500


Subject: Re: Black Panthers (multiple posts)

More on the Panthers.... I recommend viewing "Eyes on the Prize II: Power!"
(2nd half, on Newton, Seale & Panther origins & intentions), and "Eyes on the
Prize II:A Nation of Laws" (for the segment on the murder of Fred Hampton &
Mark Clark). I've found the videos at least allow students who can get past
their reactions to the "guns & berets" insights into & understanding of the
goals & context of the Panthers. The guns grew out of an initial, specific
objective of stopping police brutality of young blacks on street corners by
trailing the police cruisers & then stepping out with legally (at the time)
loaded guns, observing the police. From anything I've seen this tactic did
begin to have a salutory effect on the police habit of roughing up & harassing
young guys hanging out on street corners. But, of course, the other side was
that this appearance & its obvious bravado ALSO had two other effects: (a) it
became a magnet for young blacks attracted simply to the "guns & berets" and
bravado (some of whom were no doubt pretty thuggish), and (b) it helped to
generate a more systematic effort by policy/FBI, etc. to eliminate the
Panthers violently. My own take is the Panthers were essentially a street
expression of democratic empowerment (with excessive street bravado/machismo in
the Oakland leadership, at least), without careful concern for means & ends
and the relative importance of different priorities (& how the "guns" side
would ultimately undermine the community-building side), but I know there's
nothing like 20-20 hindsight (and considerable distance from the inner-city

And, of course, like the apocalyptic New Left, the most drugged-out hippies,
etc., the Panthers have been a marvelous, decontextualized foil for the Right's
(and liberal center's) efforts to bash & scapegoat the 60s.... right David?

Ted Morgan

Department of Political Science
Maginnes Hall #9
Lehigh University
Bethlehem, PA 18015
phone: (610) 758-3345
fax: (610) 758-6554


From: david horowitz <>
Subject: Re: Black Panthers (multiple posts)

The best book on the Panthers is by an African American journalist, who was
an admirer of the Panthers but whose investigations turned up information
that led him to have second thoughts. The title of the book is The Shadow
of the Panther, and it was pubished by Addison Wesley.



From: Barbara L Tischler <>
Subject: Re: Black Panthers

For some interesting information on the Black Panther Party that many
Americans would likely have seen, check out the February 6 or 8, 1970
issue of LIFE magazine. There's an article and photo essay by Gordon
Parks. He's a good and credible source. I think you will find the article
interesting and informative.

Good luck,

Barbara L. Tischler