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Black Panthers: Vanguards of the Revolution - Part 3

After the U.S. civil rights movement, change and a revolutionary counter culture emerged in the late 1960’s. A historical documentary traces the disputes that raged over racial inequality and civil rights and the new political party that emerged.

Black Panthers: Vanguards of the Revolution - Part 3

The Black Panthers efforts to end racism assured them news headlines. The internal rift over social programs versus revolutionary protests kept them under surveillance by the FBI and attracted more radical protesters.

“Those people who were on the other side of this issue politically did not see the Black Panther Party as a vehicle for social service.We saw it as a vehicle for political transformation, radical change for revolution.”

There were many other white groups on the political left that claimed solidarity with the Black Panthers and supported their cause.

SOT:Stanley Nelson, Director & Producer
“You see Asians and Latinos supporting the Panthers.You see a sign women's liberation for the Panthers support. For much of the time that Panthers existed they were supported by a number of other groups that were working you know to change America so the Panthers were not for a lot of their history this isolated group.”

Mike Klonsky, Students for a Democratic Society
“We used to call the Panthers the Vanguard of the democratic movement because they were out in the forefront.They were kind of setting the pathway.Things we would face some repression for they would face it ten times as great.They would sacrifice oftentimes their lives in the struggle.”

SOT:Fred Hampton, BP
These people revise say I’m black and I hate white people,I’m white and I hate black people and I’m Latin and hate hillbillies. I’m hillbilly, I hate Indians. So we’re fighting amongst ourselves.”

SOT: Mike Klonsky, Students for a Democratic Society
“Fred Hampton here in Chicago was the main voice for racial unity”

SOT:Fred Hampton, BP
“We don’t care what anybody says, we’re going to fight racisim we’re going to fight for solidarity.

“We worked with organizations such as the Young Lords, a Puerto Rican Street gang that had become political.And the young Patriots, hillbillies, Appalachian white boys.

FILMSOT:I want to introduce a man whose come over tonight from another part of town. He’s fighting for some of the same causes we’re fighting for.
SOT”Bob Lee who was our Deputy Field Marshall had a meeting with them and he was explaining why we should work together.
FILMSOT:There’s police brutality up here.There’s rats and roaches.There’s poverty up here, that’s the first thing we can unit on.That’s the common thing we have.I want you people to stick together.I’ll stick with the Black Panthers if they’ll stick with me.And I know they will.

FILMSOT: Landon Williams, Black Panther Party
“The coalition that Fred was building in Chicago represented the Latinos, the poor whites and poor blacks but also becausehe had been in the NAACP he had linkages with folks in the congregations, church folks and working class folks so Fred was building a broad based coalition in Chicago and that was the threat.”

The Black Panthers newspaper documented their movement and Emory Douglas’s cartoons told their story.

#4Black Panthers, Emory Douglas1:36

SOT:Felipe Luciano, Young Lords
“For me there was only one reason to read the Panther newspaper and that was to see Emory’s illustrations His paintings his charicatures his illustrations literally gave us the story.Music: Black is me, black is us, Black is Free.

SOT: Emory Douglas, Black Panther Party
“It was easy to respond to the artwork because it was a reflection of them in the artwork itself.Because you were putting them on stage as a character and hero in the images.They could see their brother or their uncle in the images.There were breakfast programs, other programs helath programs, people would come in and talk about how they can’t pay their bills or they need childcare.”

SOT:Felipe Luciano, Young Lords
“Emory was our social realism.He gave you a sense of bravery, resilience, courage, and most of all beauty. That was what I loved about Emory.”
Music:Black is us. Black is free.”


Black Panther Party membership reached a peak in 1970, with offices in 68 cities and thousands of members.After being criminalized by the FBI and media reports connecting it to crimes, support for the party declined.By 1980 the Black Panther Party had just 27 members. This history of the party remains controversial.
Carolyn Turner, VOA News, Washington.