The 1995 film Panther directed by Mario Van Peebles accurately portrays the rise and fall of the Black Panther Party. The Black Panther Party was a revolutionary organization that fought and died for the liberation of black people while combating police brutality in their community. In my opinion, this would be a great film for anyone that has an interest in educating themselves and others more about the party.
The Black Panthers were formed by Huey Newton and Bobby Seale during their college days. Huey Newton and Bobby Seale understood the gun laws in California and educated black people about their rights to bear arms. During the turbulent 1960s, black people were getting brutalized by the police on a daily basis and found it difficult to defend themselves.
Therefore, the Black Panthers believed in self defense when it was necessary and created programs for their community such as feeding hungry children, providing sickle cell anemia, and teaching black people about their true history through their legendary Ten-Point Program. Unfortunately, the Panthers were destroyed by the FBI through J. Edgar Hoover’s counterintelligence program as a way to maintaining the racist power structure in this country.
One scene in the film that stood out for me was when the Panthers stood up to the police officers for brutalizing a black man in the street. It was a way for them to monitor activities going on in their community and take a stand when they saw something wrong.
Many people might not know one of the original members of the Black Panther Party was Richard Aoki, a Japanese-American growing up in Oakland California. Even though there were Asian-Americans in the organization, he was the only one that held a leadership position of field marshal. He provided party members with guns used to defend themselves and trained them to patrol the police force in Oakland.
Richard Aoki was also responsible for educating the Black Panthers with political ideology on Mao Tse-tung through his “little red book.” As a Japanese-American, he shared similar struggles with black people in working tirelessly to achieve justice and eliminate racial discrimination in this country. For more information about the history of the Black Panthers, click on the links below: