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The Black Panther Party, Poetry Performance, and Revolution

  • Regina Jennings
Chapter

Abstract

Huey P. Newton and Bobby G. Seale were two men who founded The Black Panther Party for Self Defense on October 15,1966 to oppose police brutality against American blacks, and to revolutionize the people in Oakland, California. The bravado and the nature of the Black Panther Party (BPP) appealed to youth across the nation where branches were initiated in major metropolitan areas. Most of the literature written about Newton and Seale and the BPP focuses on police shoot-outs, court trials, and the historicity of what members call “the Party.” My interest in the Party centers on a topic most would think completely remote from the purpose of the Panther platform. In this chapter I focus on poetry and its relationship to the organization’s development, presenting new information about the significance of poetry to each of the founders. Surprisingly, poetry was not only a regular feature in the BPP’s newspaper, The Black Panther, but a poem and a poetic recitation caused the initial arrest of Huey Newton and Bobby Seale a year before they started the organization. With poetry an important aspect of black life and culture, Panther poetry circulates a reexamination and extension of “badman” lyrics that reach from America back to Africa.

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Notes

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Copyright information

© Gayle T. Tate and Lewis A. Randolph 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Regina Jennings

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