POWER TO THE PEOPLE: The Rise and Fall of the Black Panther Party by Jim Haskins

POWER TO THE PEOPLE: The Rise and Fall of the Black Panther Party

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Comparing the brief career of the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense to a ""burst of radiation, searing American race relations,"" Haskins (see review above) shows how that tough stance--which struck a chord in African-Americans radicalized by the violent white response to the Civil Rights Movement--later collapsed under the weight of drugs, ego, and internecine conflicts. While acknowledging that, in its bid for legitimacy, the party made solid gains in local elections and founded several short-lived but visionary social programs, the author is more detailed as he recounts its higher profile struggles with other civil rights organizations and the police. He quotes the original ten-point platform in full but otherwise gives readers only hints of the nature of Black Panther rhetoric, the obligations membership entailed, and the size and growth of the organization. The result is less a study of the Black Panthers' philosophy, methods, and enduring influence than a cautionary tale about the hazards and misuse of sudden power.

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 1997
Page count: 126pp
Publisher: Simon & Schuster