PICKING UP THE GUN: A Report on the Black Panthers by Earl Anthony

PICKING UP THE GUN: A Report on the Black Panthers

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KIRKUS REVIEW

An Unauthorized account but not a bitter expose of the Black Panthers, from which Anthony was expelled in the major purge of March, 1969 after two years of high level service but growing doubts on Panther political ideology (their stress on class rather than racial exploitation). From his first view of well-disciplined Panthers escorting Malcolm X's widow to a speaking engagement in black berets, pants, and jackets, carrying pistols strapped to their sides, 12 gauge shotguns, and carbines, Anthony sensed the revolutionary impact of their style and daring: ""They picked up the gun to show America, so vain and unconcerned in her power over people's lives, that when she decided to take another black life she would have to bring ass to get ass."" A ready convert, he was appointed Panther Captain in San Francisco, later became Deputy Minister of Information of Southern California. From the inner circle, Anthony conveys the impact of the momentous events that marked the Panthers' rise to national prominence: the ""invasion"" of the State Capital at Sacramento, the serious wounding of founder Huey Newton in a shootout with two Oakland policemen, the launching of the Free Huey Movement and linkup with the Peace and Freedom Party, the gun battle that killed Little Bobby Hutton and wounded Eldridge Cleaver. There's interesting information on factional strifes with certain cultural nationalist groups like Ron Karenga's US and on the recruiting and training procedures used in Panther expansion. Unfortunately the first-hand impressions of Panther personalities are not portrayals in depth, and Anthony has little information on the more sinister alleged activities of the Party, but his record is nonetheless vital and valuable.

Pub Date: Feb. 27th, 1969
Publisher: Dial