Essential American History: All Power to the People

If you care about race relations, I encourage you to to watch THE BLACK PANTHERS: VANGUARD OF THE REVOLUTION and draw your own conclusions. Powerful and provocative, it premiers nationally on PBS, Tuesday evening, February 16, 2016 (check local listings). Hear and see this history in the voices, pictures and videos of the allies and opponents who lived it during this highly charged and transformative time. After seeing it at Hartford’s Real Art Ways on its national preview tour, I left the theater with a broader and deeper knowledge of those turbulent years.
Producer Stanley Nelson, who spoke in a talk-back session after the screening, clearly wants this movie to help us learn, debate and understand how the Black Panther Party changed the race relations landscape. How we acknowledge and use this history to catch the stones thrown at or placed in the path of the marginalized, vulnerable, and victimized bent and broken by systemic racism is up to us.
As the documentary’s website explains: “THE BLACK PANTHERS: VANGUARD OF THE REVOLUTION is the first feature length documentary to explore the Black Panther Party, its significance to the broader American culture, its cultural and political awakening for black people, and the painful lessons wrought when a movement derails.
Master documentarian Stanley Nelson goes straight to the source, weaving a treasure trove of rare archival footage with the voices of the people who were there: police, FBI informants, journalists, white supporters and detractors, and Black Panthers who remained loyal to the party and those who left it…THE BLACK PANTHERS: VANGUARD OF THE REVOLUTION is an essential history and a vibrant chronicle of this pivotal movement that birthed a new revolutionary culture in America.”

Don Shaw, Jr.
Writer and Editor

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