Formerly a member of the original Black Panther Party, Dr. Regina Jennings has published her latest book, “Poetry and the Black Panther Party: From Ancestral Memory, Morphogenetic Fields to Hip Hop.” Most exciting, Bobby G. Seale, co-founder of the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense, wrote the foreword to Jennings’ book
This is what Bobby Seale says about her: “Dr. Regina Jennings astounded me as I read through her manuscript on poetry and the Black Panthers because I never realized how deeply my UC Berkeley street corner recitation of ‘Uncle Sammy Called Me Full o’ Lucifer” so many years ago [in April 1966] affected her and the anti-Vietnam war protest movement, along with the founding Ten Point Program of my Black Panther Party.
“I would never have thought this adventurous young lady who ran away from home in Philadelphia to join the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense when she was a teenager would become an author, and one everyone should read. Regina Jennings is my Panther buddy, one of the earliest sisters to join my Black Panther Party for Self-Defense.”
Regina Jennings, in “Poetry and the Black Panther Party: from Ancestral Memory, Morphogenetic Fields to Hip Hop,” displays the value by way of poetry in Bobby Seale and Huey Newton’s innovative organization. Most of us picture the Panthers as legally armed men confronting trigger happy policemen, known for killing, torturing and humiliating mostly Black men.
Jennings does not overlook that image; instead, she historicizes, explains and adds to it, by reminding us of the conditions that caused the organization’s founding. And incredibly, she does this by centering poetry produced by Black Panthers.
Centering and presenting poetry printed in the Black Panther Newspaper, she explores Black Panther philosophy, biography and behavior that she associates with ancient African culture and Western science. One observer remarked, “What a novel way to explain the Panther legacy.”
Written with an insider’s feel of the Black Power era, Regina Jennings’ critique of Panther poetry offers many knowledgeable contributions that include surfacing a forgotten body of African-American literature; differentiating between Panther male and female creative writing; providing a history of Black resistance in America – and abroad in Africa; finding commonality and disruptions in traditional African culture and its nuanced American version; and so much more.
By reminding us of the Panthers’ triumphs and how they developed, she shows the significance of boots on the ground activism that for the Panthers produced community programs that fed free food to the hungry and provided free medical care to the needy. The Panthers literally shamed White officials into instituting programs now commonplace throughout America.
Yet, along with the Panthers visionary activism, they wrote and performed poetry. Panther poets “(un)consciously” recited language with body gestures to influence and inspire social change. Jennings uniquely contends that this particular language performance rests in “morphogenetic fields,” a Western scientific term that is akin to “African ancestral memory.”
Amazingly, Regina Jennings identifies that correlation by introducing quantum physics to verify ancient African spectacular insights. This author’s enthusiasm for Black language is not just for university students, evident in her online writing program, black-literature-and-black-writing.thinkific.com. She designed this online course for anyone, anywhere in the world, desiring to learn about Black literature and Black resistance.
For this online course, she uses her previous book, “Malcolm X and the Poetics of Haki Madhubuti,” an international book award winner. That book, along with her latest, “Poetry and the Black Panther Party: from Ancestral Memory, Morphogenetic Fields to Hip Hop,” is available at Amazon.com.
Dr. Regina Jennings has authored more than 30 academic articles on Black life and Black resistance appearing in peer reviewed journals and publications. She has been teaching at major universities for 30 years and has published two scholarly texts: “Malcolm X and the Poetics of Haki Maubuti,” which won an international book award, and currently “Poetry and the Black Panther Party: from Ancestral Memory, Morphogenetic Fields to HIp Hop.”
She has also published two poetry books, “Midnight Morning Musings: Poems of an American African and Race, Rage and Roses.” Because of her love for community based people, instead of teaching solely in academe, she has created an online writing and editing course available to all who have computer access. That link is http://black-literature-and-black-writing.thinkific.com. Dr. Jennings can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.