Illustrated by Marcus Kwame Anderson
Presented here is a history of the Black Panther Party from its inception by Bobby Seal and Huey Newton, to its demise in the 70s. Along the way, Walker presents information on the FBI’s mission against the Panthers, spearheaded by COINTERPRO, Counterintelligence program for the FBI. Across the United States, there were several different chapters of the Panthers that had their own ideologies and philosophies about how to bring about political change in the country. These differences contributed to internal struggles in the party throughout its history, which contributed to its implosion. Also presented is detailed information of many of the party’s prominent figures.
There were several shocking facts about the Black Panthers in this volume that I learned. Having been the recipient of an Anglo-centric education in California, the Panthers have always been portrayed as a terrorist organization, something that would make J. Edgar Hoover very proud. While ultimately flawed, the Party didn’t want unreasonable things. The inclusion of the Party’s "Ten-Point Program" of wants and goals reads just as true today as it did in the 1960s, and that breaks my heart. Walker found a great way to worm some knowledge into my brain while combating years worth of History education working against the Panthers. This was a valuable title, and would make a great addition to history comics collections.
This title relies extensively on many massive blocks of text on a single page, which makes it a dense read, and potentially difficult for anyone with difficulty reading small text. Anderson's illustrations are clean and simple. The difficulty in illustrating history is keeping the figures close to their real-world likenesses, and Anderson did well with portraying these historical figures accurately.
This title is best suited for high school audiences as there is some violence, but mostly because of the historical context needed to ground the history of the Black Panthers in the Civil Rights era. Younger readers with an appetite for history will also find this title fascinating.
Sara's Rating: 8/10
Suitability Level: Grades 9-12
Tags: Rating: 8/10, Suitability: High School, Graphic Nonfiction, History, Race Relations
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