By Eric K. Williams
In the four decades since the emergence of the Black Panther Party, there have been more than one dozen books, and, at last count, roughly, three dozen separate films of varying length, and focus about the group. Some of the films have focused either on individual stories, like, say, the death of Fred Hampton. (Hampton is pictured here, right, at a Chicago rally. Photo courtesy of Paul Sequeira.)
Other films look at Eldridge Cleaver, Bobby Seale and Huey Newton. While a handful of other films, both in long and short form, alike, have looked into the party overall, or the founders, and individuals based in Oakland, California. Some footage has been gleaned from already existing documentaries, like the Civil Rights PBS-TV mini-series, ‘Eyes on the Prize.’ There is much to select from that vast list in the public domain, and even more in private collections.
Thanks to You Tube, many of the Black Panther-related films, and short documentaries, are available on-line. Below is a partial listing and general information of links to video clips, and at least one book written by Bobby Seale on the group. We start with the latest film, and the link associated with it. There readers and potential viewers can find out about past and, upcoming theatrical screenings across the New York area, nationally in the USA, and internationally. Most of the screenings are FREE.
Documentary clip from the 1971 film on the murder of Fred Hampton, the noted leader of the Black Panther Party’s Chicago chapter.
Books like this one are still very much on the market: Bobby Seale’s ‘Seize the Time.’ Received mixed reviews at the time of its original mid-1970’s publication.
The Mario Van Peeples feature film ‘Panther.’
Panther (1995) – A dramatized account of the story of The Black Panther Party for Self-Defense took a strong, and largely positive stance in the telling of their story. It was a controversial film, in part, when it addressed the issue of police infiltration in a fictive discussion on the matter between Huey Newton and a leading party member. The film features:
Kadeem Hardison, Bokeem Woodbine, Joe Don Baker, Dick Gregory, Angela Bassett and others.
Below an interview with founder Bobby Seale on Huey Newton, the FBI, COINTELPRO, with other key film links.
All Power to The People! The Black Panther Party and Beyond (1996)
The Black Panther Party….. The Sky is The Limit (1998)
Some Truth About The Black Panthers – A Short Documentary film.
Huey P. Newton – Prelude to Revolution
The Man Who Armed the Panthers – Short Feature
Eyes On The Prize excerpt # 1 –
Eyes on the Prize excerpt # 12 – Fred Hampton 1967 – 1968
FBI cointelpro revealed by activists
The Impact of the Black Panther Party globally, and in the land ‘Down Under,’ is told in the film Black Panther Woman. This is the story of Marlene Cummings, and one Australian Aboriginal woman’s tale of confronting discrimination, and the systemic racism in her own country that has slowly decimated her people. The Black Panther Party and its impact on the Australian Aboriginal movements, and there are many, is largely an untold story. Here it comes to light with this film that takes the viewer through that world, and seen through the eyes of Marlene Cummings. With uncanny timing, this offering was recently screened on the Australian SBS Television Network to high viewer ratings, weeks before the release of the Stanley Nelson film Down Under. Black Panther Woman is worth a look when one considers the international reach and influence the U.S. based Black Panther movement had globally.
This will likely NOT be the last of the Black Panther Party films to come. There is no telling what lays ahead in the years to come in the re-telling of this tale of one controversial radical Black group. In some circles now, there is talk on one such film that examines the ‘New’ Black Panther Party. The overall defiant stance and message by many in that 1960’s movement of Black pride, beauty, artistry resonates with this new generation of millennials, as the message that Black Lives Matter evolves, and gains greater traction.