16 May Black Panthers Documentary
When I first started my undergraduate studies under the criminal justice major, I was required to read a book titled, Last Man Standing: The Tragedy and Triumph of Geronimo Pratt written by Jack Olsen. This book was life changing. It painted a completely different picture of the Black Panthers and what they stood for. Since then I was completely obsessed with the activism of the Black Panthers. To me, they were the epitome of advancement of the colored people.
- They knew their rights inside and out.
- They were self- educated on the history of Black Americans.
- They created programs to feed children breakfast.
- They had drug prevention programs for addicts.
- They were aggressive and not once did they express an agenda to discriminate against other minorities.
They basically created their on culture. It was one of the few times that you could expressly see black pride. Unfortunately, being black has always been a stigma in this country and it didn’t succeed beyond the 80’s due to an American agenda to keep the colored people oppressed. One of the key themes of this book was how the CIA and FBI was able to divide the Black Panthers and complete obliterate the power they were beginning to develop in this country. They killed our members, placed drugs in our community and even threw our leaders in jail for wrongful convictions. It is a tragedy what happened to Geronimo Pratt. He was placed in jail for over 20 years for a crime that everyone knew he didn’t do. This is why I suggest that you buy the book or check it out at your local library.
During my senior year, I had the pleasure of being taught by a former Black Panther who personally worked with Langston Hughes and Bobby Seale. One of the biggest life lessons that I developed from his lectures was the idea to continue their services. It wasn’t too late to turn things around and continue the work of the Black Panthers. He suggested that I do my research on the Black Panthers so that I can see how one should become an activist. Not only that but he taught me that I had to find my own voice and utilize my skill set to advance the colored people experience.
Those words changed my life and I did exactly what he told me to do. I went from being an active learner to an activist. I was given the opportunity to host an event at my Alma mater, where we were able to watch the above documentary and discuss activism. It was quite the discussion. There was a diverse group and we were all enlightened by the experience of watching this movie.
If you ever get the chance to check out the above documentary do so. PBS did a wonderful job highlighting the history of the Black Panthers. You should also watch the documentary, The Black Power Mixtape. It’s one of the few documentaries that will make you feel anger and pride at the same time. Check out the trailer below.