The Black Panther, 1966-2016

The Black Panther Newspaper

On many levels, the BPP’s official literary organ, The Black Panther (later renamed The Intercommunal News Service) is a useful window for highlighting the role of children in the BPP’s history. As members of its readership, distributors of its weekly issues, and students who’s writing sometimes featured in its pages, local children and youth engaged with the Party’s periodical in a variety of ways and played a central role in the growth of its readership in cities across the country. With its publishing headquarters in the Bay Area, the paper served as a platform for documenting the Party’s myriad community service programs, involvement in electoral politics, and the Panthers’ alliance with other contemporary social and political movements, such as the campaign for welfare rights. Additionally, The Black Panther designated a portion of each issue for international news, a section that often documented the development of the same anti-colonial and socialist movements with which the Party allied itself.[1] Finally, much of the Black Power Movement’s eye-catching and thought-provoking iconography originated from the world-renowned work of BPP Minister of Culture, Emory Douglas, whose pieces featured in almost every issue of The Black Panther throughout its roughly ten-year lifespan. And perhaps not surprisingly, emblematic of a brighter social and economic future, children were among Douglas’ favorite subjects.[2]
[1] The Black Panther Party Community Service Programs, ed. David Hilliard (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2008), 47-48.
[2] Colette Gaiter, “The Revolution Will be Visualized: Black Panther Emory Douglas,” in West of Center: Art and the Counterculture Experiment in America, 1965-1977, eds. Elissa Auther and Adam Lerner (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2012), 242.

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