From its founding by Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale in 1966 to contemporary attempts to censor its history and revise its significance, the Black Panther Pary has aroused fear, hope, misunderstanding, pride, vilification, and government-sponsored repression.
This is the first and only collection of the most vital, representative writings of the Party. It fiercely refuted the wanton distortion of its militant, public-spirited history and its fundamental role in the Black liberation movement. Here are Huey P. Newton, Bobby Seale, Eldridge Cleaver, David Hilliard, and Fred Hampton; Kathleen Cleaver and other Panther women; the Party's court battles and acquittals; and its positions on Black separatism, the power structure, the police, violence, and education, as well as songs, poems, and political cartoons. This book explains exactly what the Black Panthers stood for and what issues they confronted, almost all of which remain unresolved today.
About the Author
Philip S. Foner was one of the most prominent Marxist historians in the United States. A prolific author and editor, he tirelessly documented the lives of workers, African Americans, and political radicals. Shut out of academic employment for a quarter century because of his political affiliations, he nonetheless helped lay the basis for the explosion of scholarship in labor and black history during the past two decades.
Barbara Ransby is an historian, writer, and longtime political activist. Ransby has published dozens of articles and essays in popular and scholarly venues. She is most notably the author of an award-winning biography of civil rights activist Ella Baker, entitled Ella Baker and the Black Freedom Movement: A Radical Democratic Vision, (University of North Carolina, 2003). She serves on the editorial board of the London-based journal, Race and Class, and a number of non-profit civic and media organizations.
What People Are Saying
“When historian Phil Foner first edited and published Black Panthers Speak in 1970, he disrupted the mythmaking by creating a platform for Panther voices to be accessed directly by a larger audience than those who experienced the organization firsthand…. What these documents also demonstrate is something radical Trinidadian intellectual C.L.R. James recognized decades ago. That above all we must remember that history and revolutionary movements are made by human beings: flawed, inconsistent and sometime misguided, brilliant and confused, kind and vengeful, selfless and self-promoting– all in the same moments of intensity and passion… Shaped by the radical interracial organizing of the 1930s Foner understood not only the importance of a group like the Panthers to Black communities but the Left in general, and to our collective understanding of late 20th century United States history overall. His anti-racist consciousness and selfless service to a people’s history and a useable past was truly exemplary…. Forty-eight years after the Panthers’ founding, it is important to revisit what the organization meant in its own time, and what it means in ours.” — Barbara Ransby, from the foreword to the 2014 edition
"Philip S. Foner was a national treasure -- scholar, activist and lover of justice." —Cornel West
"The closest thing we're going to get to a rebuttal to [the] organized attempt to destroy the Panthers' legacy." —Ishmael Reed
“Essential reading for those who would prefer to judge the Panther movement for themselves” —Library Journal
“The women’s speeches and articles are notable for their concreteness and convincingness . . . especially [those of] Kathleen Cleaver.” —The Nation