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Oct. 12 is the birthday of one of the most talented and promising young men martyred in the massive state repression against the Black Panther Party for Self Defense, Alprentice “Bunchy” Carter. Unlike Huey P. Newton, Bobby Seale, Eldridge Cleaver and George Jackson, Carter has almost been forgotten from the history of Africans in America except for diehards. Carter, then 26 (born Oct. 12, 1942), was assassinated on Jan. 17, 1969 in a Campbell Hall classroom at UCLA in Los Angeles.
The activism in Oakland today parallels both the activism to end police brutality in Oakland in the 1940s and 1950s and the Black Panthers’ activism beginning in 1966. A new source of activism has been added today: the victims’ families. “Policing in the 21st Century: Where Do We Go from Here,” uniting police victims’ families with Black Panther Party veterans will be held Saturday, Feb. 27, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., at First AME Church, 530 37th St., Oakland; it’s free and open to the public.
Nelson’s film documents what those who lived through it already know – that the Panthers quickly became a mass movement throughout the country. Their message of unqualified resistance to racism, armed self-defense and anti-capitalist revolutionary politics galvanized the creation of chapters of the Party in nearly every city and state of the U.S. Much has been written by and about the Panthers. But Nelson’s film is the best short introduction to the Party to date.
“The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution” by Stanley Nelson is a documentary about a Black revolutionary organization in a revolutionary time. It is one of the best documentaries that I have ever seen that intends to tell the history of an organization that shook the world and fundamentally changed the way that Black people in the United States have looked at themselves for nearly half a century. It’s screening in San Francisco, Berkeley and San Rafael on Oct. 2. The Oakland screening is Saturday, Oct. 3, 1 p.m., Piedmont Theater, 4186 Piedmont Ave., followed by Q&A with Stanley Nelson and former Oakland Panther Steve McCutchen.
By now millions of Americans have heard about COINTELPRO. COINTELPRO was the FBI’s evil and illegal system of spying, lying, telephone wire taps, frame-ups and assassination that violated the constitutional and human rights that they claim to uphold. I was recently asked, while doing a Black Panther Party historical tour in Oakland, how COINTELPRO affected me personally. Here is one of my stories.
Most people do not know enough about the Black Panther Party, which was founded at Merritt College in Oakland in October of 1966 by Minister of Defense Huey P. Newton and Chairman Bobby Seale. This happening is important to Black history nationally and worldwide because the Panthers were and are an example of Black people fighting for self-determination no matter the cost.
By far one of the most revolutionary cultural groups to put words to music in the United States is the Last Poets. Many, including myself, trace the roots of rap music to the spoken word, lyrics and speeches of the Last Poets, Gil Scott Heron and the current political prisoner Imam Jamil Al-Amin, otherwise known as H. Rap Brown.