The Black Panther: Intercommunal News Service

Issue section: 
Issue: 
(321)

Ed: David Hilliard, Atria Books, £14.99

The Black Panther Party was a beacon of resistance for thousands of black people in the US during the late 1960s and early 1970s. It stood up against police brutality, provided welfare for the poorest communities and produced powerful propaganda against racism and oppression.

This collection of graphics gives a rare chance to read the contents of scores of issues of the Black Panther's newspaper, The Black Panther Intercommunal News. So much of the artwork of the Panthers has become iconic it's great to see some of it in its original setting.

The FBI saw the Black Panthers as enemy number one. Paper sellers were arrested, assaulted, printers intimidated and printing sabotaged. Hilliard describes how, to defy the state, decades before email printer plates had to be airmailed to local groups to print copies themselves.

The paper also discussed revolutionary theory. It describes how after a visit by French playwright Jean Genet, who argued that the Panthers should see gay oppression as having parallels with racism, Huey P Newton wrote a position paper about linking the struggle for gay liberation with that of black liberation. Full histories of the movement are to be found elsewhere but this book and accompanying DVD, with original footage, give a great feel of the struggle.