Comrades : A Local History of the Black Panther Party

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The Black Panther Party for Self-Defense was founded in Oakland, California, in 1966 by Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale. It was perhaps the most visible of the Black Power groups in the late 60s and early 70s, not least because of its confrontational politics, its rejection of nonviolence, and its headline-catching, gun-toting militancy. Important on the national scene and highly visible on college campuses, the Panthers also worked at building grassroots support for local black political and economic power. Although there have been many books about the Black Panthers, none has looked at the organization and its work at the local level. This book examines the work and actions of seven local initiatives in Baltimore, Winston-Salem, Cleveland, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Philadelphia, and Los Angeles. These local organizations are revealed as committed to programs of community activism that focused on problems of social, political, and economic more

Product details

  • Book | 336 pages
  • 154.94 x 231.14 x 17.78mm | 544.31g
  • Indiana University Press
  • Bloomington, IN, United States
  • English
  • 32 b&w photos
  • 0253219302
  • 9780253219305

Review quote

Seeking to move beyond the usual media stereotypes, condemnations from the Right, and romanticization on the Left, this book follows the story of local Black Panther Party chapters in Baltimore, Winston-Salem, Cleveland, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Philadelphia, and Los Angeles. While the party "as an organization is often reduced to Oakland, and Oakland is often reduced to Huey Newton, Bobby Seale, and perhaps Eldridge Cleaver," this book deliberately ignores Oakland (as well as Chicago). It follows Panthers in other communities who resisted police brutality, "participated in broad coalition politics," and "demanded self-determination for oppressed and improverished residents in urban as well as rural areas." Each chapter's authors follow a similar format, first by establishing the history of black activism in the local communities to which they are assigned, and then following the rise and fall of the Panthers in their selected areas. In most cases, the local BPP's legacy was that some members "continued the socially deviant activities that had caused the group's descent," while others "continued the evolution to respectability that the Party had experienced in the 1970s." Summing Up: Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates and above.Choice, January 2009 "Judson L. Jeffries and his contributors have done the Black Panther Party a great service by highlighting perhaps the most important, yet least studied aspect of the organization-its community survival programs. Comrades is a must read for any serious student of the Black Panther Party." -James N. Uptoneditor, Encyclopedia of American Race Riots "... this is an important contribution to an underdeveloped topic in the scholarship on the party... offers original and important research on the subject, broadening the scope of the field in essential ways, while adding to the scope of postwar ubran history." -Jeffrey O. G. Ogbar, University of Connecticut, Storrs, JOURNAL OF AMERICAN HISTORY, December 2008 "... move[s] beyond the usual media stereotypes, condemnations from the Right, and romanticization on the Left... Recommended." -Choice, January 2009 "The public at large is indebted to Judson L. Jeffries and his contributors. Comrades is a treasure trove of hidden American history. A comprehensive excavation of the buried truth of the War against the Panthers-the war that America lost with itself. Open your eyes and read this book." -Donald Freed, author of Agony in New Haven "While most studies of the Black Panthers have concentrated on the San Francisco Bay Area and Chicago, with some attention to New York City, Dr. Jeffries and his fellow scholars have provided valuable documentation and interpretation of the Panthers' activities in several other cities-activities little known outside those communities and not that well known even within them. They have also added considerably to our understanding of the unfortunate racist paranoia that, inspired by deliberate FBI misinformation, so infected our law enforcement agencies during the 1960s and afterward. The volume is an important contribution to our understanding of this unique group and its role within the larger Civil Rights Movement of those years." -Gene Marine, author of The Black Panthers "[T]his collection of essays skillfully situates seven rarely examined chapters of the Black Panther Party (BPP) within the larger scope of African American urban migration, civil rights activism, and the Black Freedom Struggle." -Indiana Magazine of Historyshow more

About Judson L. Jeffries

Judson L. Jeffries is Professor of African American and African Studies at The Ohio State University and Director of the African American and African Studies Community Extension Center. He is editor of Black Power in the Belly of the Beast. He lives in Columbus, more

Table of contents

ContentsIntroduction: Painting a More Complete Portrait of the Black Panther Party Judson L. Jeffries and Ryan Nissim-Sabat1. Revising Panther History in Baltimore Judson L. Jeffries2. Picking Up Where Robert F. Williams Left Off: The Winston-Salem Branch of the Black Panther Party Benjamin R. Friedman3. Panthers Set Up Shop in Cleveland Ryan Nissim-Sabat4. Nap Town Awakens to Find a Menacing Panther; OK, Maybe Not So Menacing Judson L. Jeffries and Tiyi M. Morris5. Picking Up the Hammer: The Milwaukee Branch of the Black Panther Party Andrew Witt6. "Brotherly Love Can Kill You": The Philadelphia Branch of the Black Panther Party Omari L. Dyson, Kevin L. Brooks, and Judson L. Jeffries7. To Live and Die in L.A. Judson L. Jeffries and Malcolm FoleyConclusion: A Way of Remembering the Black Panther Party in the PostBlack Power Era: Resentment, Disaster, and Disillusionment Floyd W. Hayes IIIAppendixList of ContributorsIndexshow more

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