The result is an overview of the Black Panther Party that celebrates its bold activism while critiquing the external (namely, the targeted actions of J. Edgar Hoover's FBI) and internal destructive forces that led to its demise.
In January of 1969, the Black Panther Party initiated the groundbreaking Free Breakfast for Children Program in San Francisco. The "Survival Program" flourished and spread nationwide, feeding thousands of hungry children and inspiring school lunch programs across the country.
Julius Caesar advised, "If you must break the law, do it to seize power; in all other cases observe it." So that is what Bobby Seale and Huey P. Newton did to challenge the racism and inequality of the 1960s.
In 1965, Carl Oglesby assumed leadership of the student-activist organization SDS. This change reflected what I believe was an ideological shift in America's left wing: from the East Coast intellectual tradition to the New Left emerging from the Midwest.
Why in the late 1960s did so many young people dedicate their lives to the Black Panther Party and embrace armed revolution? Why, after a few years of explosive growth, did the Party so quickly unravel? And why has no similar movement developed since?
In an era marked by the increased presence of law enforcement in Black communities, young Black men were particularly susceptible to blatant forms of police brutality. As such, so-called "gangsta rap "was likely the most organic documentation of police brutality in Black communities.
Cue conservative outrage over Michelle Obama's inviting rapper Common to a White House poetry reading, because Common wrote one adulatory song about Black Panther Assata Shakur. The New Jersey state police protested.
A long line of inmates enters and exits a prison yard. As the lone black inmate reenters society, he peers into the camera with a menacing glance. The ad plays on "fears of the dangerous, violent, black male."