By Alyssa Rosenberg for The Washington Post – The specter of the 1960s hung over the 2016 presidential election like a shroud, as Donald Trump embraced Richard Nixon’s law-and-order rhetoric, speculation bubbled again about Hillary Clinton’s relationship to the community organizer Saul Alinsky, and observers tensed for the possibility of violent clashes at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland. And now that Trump, a man with Nixon’s capacity to hold a grudge but utterly lacking Nixon’s experience in government, has been elected president…
By Adam Sanchez and Jesse Hagopian for Common Dreams – Fifty years ago this month, the Black Panther Party was born. Its history holds vital lessons for today’s movement to confront racism and police violence, yet textbooks either misrepresent or minimize the significance of the Black Panthers. The first issue of the Black Panther newspaper, which at its height had a weekly circulation of 140,000 copies, asked, “WHY WAS DENZIL DOWELL KILLED?”
By Mark Murrmann for Mother Jones – For the 50th anniversary of the Black Panther Party, two exceptional new books take on the legacy and history of one of the most powerful and controversial community empowerment movements in America. One book offers a succinct but in-depth history of the party at its peak. The other scratches the itch that always surfaces around anniversaries like this, asking, “Where are they now?” In 1968, as a student at the University of California-Berkeley, Stephen Shamesbefriended Bobby Seale, who became a mentor to Shames.
By Kathleen Neal Cleaver for The New Press – 1969. Algiers. The spectacular panorama of the first Pan-African Cultural Festival transformed the North African capital basking in the July sun. Musicians, dancers, horsemen, poets and painters, writers, filmmakers, scholars, and political leaders filled the city’s hotels. Southern African freedom fighters and veteran guerillas from Angola, Mozambique, and Guinea-Bissau at war with the Portuguese joined the colorful delegations arriving from all over the vast continent.
By Asha Bandele for The Huffington Post – It’s early on the Monday morning, post-snowmaggedon 2016, and I have an unexpected 10 minutes to spare. I know I should close my eyes, center myself for the day ahead, but instead I FaceTime Baba Sekou Odinga. I don’t really have anything to say. Mostly I just pick on him, tell bad jokes, make faces, sing off-key. “Why you do that to that man,” the homie Everton who has been navigating me through the storm all weekend, asks, laughing.
By Natasha Lennard for Aljazeera – Beyoncé’s impeccable Super Bowl halftime show on Sunday drew an estimated 104 million viewers, but members of the National Sheriffs’ Association were not among them. Gathered in Washington, D.C., for their annual legislative meeting, the members of the organization, which is tasked with improving police professionalism, turned off the TV set midgame when the superstar performed part of her new single, “Formation.” The association’s president told The Washington Examiner about this petty boycott, stating that the cops were angered that the NFL permitted the performance of what is, in their view, an anti-police song.
By Chris Pleasance for Daily Mail – Beyonce gets political at the Super Bowl: Singer performs ‘Black Lives Matter rallying cry’ – as her dancers dress as Black Panthers, pay tribute to Malcolm X and demand justice for man shot dead by cops. Beyonce issued a strong political statement with her halftime show at Super Bowl 50 on Sunday with backing dancers dressed as members of armed rights group the Black Panthers. The superstar brought the dancers on for her new single Formation which is being widely touted as a rallying cry for the Black Lives Matter movement.
By Mumia Abu-Jamal for CounterPunch. To those of us who were alive–and sentient, the name Huey P. Newton evokes an era of mass resistance, of Black popular protest and of the rise of revolutionary organizations across the land. To those of subsequent eras, youth in their 20s, the name is largely unknown, as is the name of its greatest creation: The Black Panther Party. To those of us now known as ‘old heads’ and elders, such a transition from then to now seems almost unimaginable, but alas, looking out into the present is proof positive that the old saying, “History is written by the victors” has more than a grain of truth to it. History, it seems, is many things, but kind to the oppressed, it is not. It never has been.
By Juan Thompson in The Intercept – I turned away more than once while watching Stanley Nelson’s documentary The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution. I averted my eyes from the screen when FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover’s nefarious mug first appeared. I turned away once more when the charismatic and admirable Fred Hampton was first shown, knowing that eventually he would be murdered by Chicago police and federal agents. But, of course, I could never turn away for long, because Nelson’s documentary is something all Americans should watch to better understand the country’s current racial climate, including the formation of the #BlackLivesMatter campaign. The hashtag #BlackLivesMatter first entered public consciousness after George Zimmerman’s acquittal, in July 2013, on charges of second-degree murder in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin.
Founded in 1966 in Oakland, Calif., to combat police violence, the Black Panther Party and its story are a key part of our nation’s still-complicated racial narrative. When it was conceived, the Black Panther Party called for “an immediate end to police brutality and murder of Black people.” Relying on the right to bear arms contained in the Second Amendment to the Constitution, the Panthers organized armed citizen patrols to monitor police behavior. It was a controversial approach to an intractable problem, but it provoked important debate. Of course, the police violence and misconduct that inspired the founding of the Black Panther Party 50 years ago have not gone away. In just the last six months, the deaths of Michael Brown, John Crawford III, Eric Garner and Tamir Rice – and the lack of indictment of police officers for any of their deaths — have shaken black communities to the core. But today, unlike in the 1960s, there are no shootouts between protesters and police.
This article is from our associated project, CreativeResistance.org. This is a bronze sculpture of a wicker fan back chair that rests on a square steel base with a mirrored surface. The chair refers to a famous portrait of Huey Newton, one of the founders of the Black Panther Party. This picture shows Newton seated in a rattan chair that Sam Durant’s sculpture replicates. The title, “Monument for the Alameda County Courthouse” directly relates to the Oakland Museum’s proximity to this building across 12th Street where many of the Black Panther trials were conducted in the late 1960s. With this sculpture, the artist is proposing that there be a tangible recognition of the legacy of the Black power movement. This work is also interactive since it is intended to be used by the public. Viewers are encouraged to sit in the chair to metaphorically set themselves in and consider the history that the work alludes to. Visitors are allowed to sit in the chair.
St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Robert McCulloch Thursday night blasted the decision by Gov. Jay Nixon to replace St. Louis County Police control of the Ferguson situation with the Missouri State Highway Patrol. “It’s shameful what he did today, he had no legal authority to do that,” McCulloch said. “To denigrate the men and women of the county police department is shameful.” McCulloch noted that no one was seriously injured in the effort led by County Police Chief Jon Belmar until Nixon handed control of the Ferguson over to the state agency on Thursday. “For Nixon to never talk to the commanders in the field and come in here and take this action is disgraceful,” McCulloch said. “I hope I’m wrong, but I think what Nixon did may put a lot of people in danger.”
Amnesty International France and La Boîte à Bulleshave published a 128-page French language graphic novel entitled Panthers in the Hole. The book’s co-authors David Cénou and Bruno Cénou present with visual art what Amnesty France describes as “la tragique histoire des Trois d’Angola” (the tragic story of the Angola 3). Robert H. King, Herman Wallace, and Albert Woodfox are the trio of Black Panther political prisoners known collectively as the Angola 3. On October 1, 2013 Herman Wallace was dramatically released from prison after 41 years in solitary confinement. At the time of his release, he had been fighting terminal liver cancer for several months. Three days later, on Oct. 4, Herman was surrounded by loved ones as he passed on at a friend’s house in New Orleans, Louisiana. Albert Woodfox remains in solitary confinement to this day and with only temporary respite from routine body cavity searches pending an upcoming ruling by the US Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. On April 17, 2014, marking 42 years since Albert Woodfox was first placed in solitary, Amnesty International renewed its call for his immediate release (view Amnesty’s statement and essay) and today continues their online campaign (sign the petition here).