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A bold and fascinating graphic novel history of the revolutionary Black Panther Party, from an award-winning comic book writer. Founded in Oakland, California, in 1966, the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense was a revolutionary political organization that stood in defiant contrast to the mainstream civil rights movement. This gripping illustrated history explores the A bold and fascinating graphic novel history of the revolutionary Black Panther Party, from an award-winning comic book writer. Founded in Oakland, California, in 1966, the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense was a revolutionary political organization that stood in defiant contrast to the mainstream civil rights movement. This gripping illustrated history explores the impact and legacy of the Panthers, from their social, educational, and healthcare programs that were designed to uplift the Black community to their battle against police brutality through citizen patrols and frequent clashes with the FBI, which targeted the Party from its outset. Using dramatic comic book-style retellings and illustrated profiles of key figures, The Black Panther Party captures the major events, people, and actions of the party, as well as their cultural and political influence and enduring significance.


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A bold and fascinating graphic novel history of the revolutionary Black Panther Party, from an award-winning comic book writer. Founded in Oakland, California, in 1966, the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense was a revolutionary political organization that stood in defiant contrast to the mainstream civil rights movement. This gripping illustrated history explores the A bold and fascinating graphic novel history of the revolutionary Black Panther Party, from an award-winning comic book writer. Founded in Oakland, California, in 1966, the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense was a revolutionary political organization that stood in defiant contrast to the mainstream civil rights movement. This gripping illustrated history explores the impact and legacy of the Panthers, from their social, educational, and healthcare programs that were designed to uplift the Black community to their battle against police brutality through citizen patrols and frequent clashes with the FBI, which targeted the Party from its outset. Using dramatic comic book-style retellings and illustrated profiles of key figures, The Black Panther Party captures the major events, people, and actions of the party, as well as their cultural and political influence and enduring significance.

30 review for The Black Panther Party: A Graphic Novel History

  1. 4 out of 5

    Rod Brown

    A fairly engrossing history about a very complicated group of people. It's a graphic novel that relies heavily on giant blocks of text, but still reads fairly quickly due to the subject matter. My passing impression of the Black Panther Party reduces them to violent militants, so I was surprised to find that their initial 1966 Ten-Point Program of wants and beliefs is actually a very reasonable starting point for discussion of Black Americans' issues and civil rights. Most of them are rightly sti A fairly engrossing history about a very complicated group of people. It's a graphic novel that relies heavily on giant blocks of text, but still reads fairly quickly due to the subject matter. My passing impression of the Black Panther Party reduces them to violent militants, so I was surprised to find that their initial 1966 Ten-Point Program of wants and beliefs is actually a very reasonable starting point for discussion of Black Americans' issues and civil rights. Most of them are rightly still debated today. Indeed, it's amazing how little progress has been made on some of them, such as police brutality, and how that leads directly to the protests we saw last year. There is strong irony in how quickly California passed gun control legislation when Black Panthers showed up at the state capital with guns and how little action we have taken in the last year despite armed White militants parading and protesting. This introduction to the Black Panther Party was very enlightening and leaves me wanting to pursue more information about the topic.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Wendy

    "When people consider the Black Panther Party, thoughts are often mixed, and often negative, no matter one’s race. Through The Black Panther Party: A Graphic Novel History, David F. Walker and Marcus Kwame Anderson offer more than enough details to help a reader understand just who the Panthers were and, perhaps, reconsider their views of the party’s legacy. In the wake of a Black Lives Matter world, understanding the history of the group that came before is paramount to understanding where the "When people consider the Black Panther Party, thoughts are often mixed, and often negative, no matter one’s race. Through The Black Panther Party: A Graphic Novel History, David F. Walker and Marcus Kwame Anderson offer more than enough details to help a reader understand just who the Panthers were and, perhaps, reconsider their views of the party’s legacy. In the wake of a Black Lives Matter world, understanding the history of the group that came before is paramount to understanding where the fight for racial equality has been and how far it still needs to go." Full review published at WWAC

  3. 5 out of 5

    Dan Wilcox

    A good, compact history of the Panthers, gloriously illustrated by Marcus Kwame Anderson. Highly recommended.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Leslie Ann

    I did not know much about the Black Panther Party other than its militancy. Only recently did I hear about their meal programs for kids. So, I welcomed the opportunity to learn more about this organization. What infuriates me most is how public resources were used to discredit BPP rather than support the social services (food, clothes, shelter, education) provided by the group, and the stark contrast in the way law enforcement agencies treated BPP and current white supremacist organizations. The I did not know much about the Black Panther Party other than its militancy. Only recently did I hear about their meal programs for kids. So, I welcomed the opportunity to learn more about this organization. What infuriates me most is how public resources were used to discredit BPP rather than support the social services (food, clothes, shelter, education) provided by the group, and the stark contrast in the way law enforcement agencies treated BPP and current white supremacist organizations. The book's tone is not neutral, but given the limitations of a graphic novel, I think Walker sufficiently supports and, more importantly, qualifies his claims. Such nuance helps Walker effectively convey the BPP's complicated but important history.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca

    Powerful, thoughtful, and so timely. Complex, complicated , and insightful look into this much maligned organization. Well researched and developed bios, structures, and challenges faced by the Black Panthers as an organization and as a response to on-going racism in the US. A valuable read for anyone and a well timed educational piece. This book provides a thoughtful start to an expanded exploration of social justice.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Bryan

    An absolutely incredible work of comics history. It’s not afraid to be complicated, and it pulls no punches. It tells the entire history of the party in detail, but it moves quickly enough to read it in one (very intense) sitting. Anyone who’s interested in the BPP should start here, and then dive into the very robust bibliography at the end.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Heather V ~The Other Heather~

    When a book of any kind challenges the things you thought you knew, and teaches you things that as an adult you can't believe you didn't know already, it has achieved its ultimate goal. This book does that in such a remarkably straightforward way that I felt like I'd been slapped more than once. In a good way, I guess? (Is there a good way to feel like you've been slapped?) My comic book club of awesome women read this together, slotted in our February 2021 spot sometime in mid-2020 to observe Bl When a book of any kind challenges the things you thought you knew, and teaches you things that as an adult you can't believe you didn't know already, it has achieved its ultimate goal. This book does that in such a remarkably straightforward way that I felt like I'd been slapped more than once. In a good way, I guess? (Is there a good way to feel like you've been slapped?) My comic book club of awesome women read this together, slotted in our February 2021 spot sometime in mid-2020 to observe Black History Month. It led to an almost 3 hour long video call in which seven of us talked endlessly about what we'd never known and what we'll look at in new ways having had the history of the Black Panther Party spelled out so plainly for us. I grew up thinking of Angela Davis as a scary lady, and never having any idea that the organization actually started out of a need for social programs like feeding hungry kids. They built a school. These are not things my mainstream history classes taught me. I'm so glad there are books like this -- beautifully illustrated on every single page -- to fill in those gaps for me. As far as I'm concerned, this book deserves to sit alongside legendary historical graphic novels like MAUS and the great Rep. John Lewis's MARCH series. It also called to mind a book we read as a group several years ago: THE HARLEM HELLFIGHTERS by Max Brooks. I love a good fictional comic as much as the next person, but every so often you'll come across a splash of nonfiction artwork that enriches your worldview, and this is one of those. If only they would start assigning it in schools. Recommended reading:

  8. 5 out of 5

    Robert Lee

    The history of the Black Panthers is a complicated one and is tackled well by writer David F. Walker. In less than 200 pages, he chronicles the rise and demise of the Black Panther Party, covering the same issues and troubles our communities still grapple with. Written in 2020 while Black Lives Matter protests filled our newsfeeds, the story of the struggles the Black Panthers were addressing is still relevant. Of course, there is some dark history behind the Panthers which is addressed, but wha The history of the Black Panthers is a complicated one and is tackled well by writer David F. Walker. In less than 200 pages, he chronicles the rise and demise of the Black Panther Party, covering the same issues and troubles our communities still grapple with. Written in 2020 while Black Lives Matter protests filled our newsfeeds, the story of the struggles the Black Panthers were addressing is still relevant. Of course, there is some dark history behind the Panthers which is addressed, but what is often forgotten is how much they were involved in uplifting their communities. The book is written concisely, yet with great information. The art by Marcus Kwame Anderson is exceptional as well and does not at all feel "comic book" like, but illustrations of our American history. It is hard to say what would have eventually become of the Black Panther Party if it were not targeted by the powers that be and their counterintelligence programs and truly racist tactics. What can not be denied is the impact they had on our history and other movements not only in America but the world.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Chris

    A lot of text for a graphic novel, but I learned a lot from this accessible introduction to a complex history. The continuation to current issues is heartbreaking (and the COINTELPRO stuff is mortifying - but it all underscores the need to continue the fight.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Heather Culley

    Plenty of informative text, backed with clear, honest, brilliant illustration.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Rich

    I love graphic novels about history. The Black Panthers were heroes to me as a kid and I wanted to be one. I just knew they fought for an end to oppression. I didn't know about the lunches and schools and other services until later in my life. Their story is complex. This graphic novel does a great job informing. I love graphic novels about history. The Black Panthers were heroes to me as a kid and I wanted to be one. I just knew they fought for an end to oppression. I didn't know about the lunches and schools and other services until later in my life. Their story is complex. This graphic novel does a great job informing.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Ben Truong

    The Black Panther Party: A Graphic Novel History is a graphic novel written by David F. Walker and illustrated by Marcus Kwame Anderson. This nuanced, accessible history of the Black Panther Party doesn't shy away from the complexity of the political movement, nor does it fall into the trap of painting the diverse group as uniformly heroes or villains. The Black Panther Party was a Black Power political organization founded by college students Bobby Seale and Huey P. Newton in October 1966 in Oak The Black Panther Party: A Graphic Novel History is a graphic novel written by David F. Walker and illustrated by Marcus Kwame Anderson. This nuanced, accessible history of the Black Panther Party doesn't shy away from the complexity of the political movement, nor does it fall into the trap of painting the diverse group as uniformly heroes or villains. The Black Panther Party was a Black Power political organization founded by college students Bobby Seale and Huey P. Newton in October 1966 in Oakland, California. The party was active in the United States from 1966–1982, with chapters in numerous major cities, and international chapters in the United Kingdom in the early 1970s, and in Algeria from 1969–1972. The narrative opens long before the Party's official founding in Oakland in 1966, showing the reason Black civil rights activists eventually saw problems with nonviolent reform in the face of violence from white supremacist mobs and state officials alike. Bobby Seale's famous speech from the steps of the California State Capitol building in 1967 resonates today. Other key Panther figures, such as Huey P. Newtown and Eldridge Cleaver are provided concise profiles. The Black Panther Party: A Graphic Novel History is written and constructed extremely well – it is far from perfect, but it comes rather close. Artist Kwame Anderson balances text and images skillfully, and even the wordiest sections feel spacious, while he lends cinematic visual pacing to the many heated interactions between activists and police. All in all, The Black Panther Party: A Graphic Novel History is a concise yet in-depth guide, which offers a timely resource for activists, history buffs, and students alike.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Molly Walker

    Since reading Rita Williams-Garcia's One Crazy Summer, I've wanted to learn more about the history and work of Black Panthers beyond the oversimplified narrative often found in history books. Written in the wake of the murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, Walker's impeccable research is grounded in the present and brought to life with Anderson's vibrant artwork. I appreciated learning more about the origins of the party, its leaders, and the many community programs they launched. Though v Since reading Rita Williams-Garcia's One Crazy Summer, I've wanted to learn more about the history and work of Black Panthers beyond the oversimplified narrative often found in history books. Written in the wake of the murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, Walker's impeccable research is grounded in the present and brought to life with Anderson's vibrant artwork. I appreciated learning more about the origins of the party, its leaders, and the many community programs they launched. Though violence is a part of the Panthers' story, it certainly isn't the whole story like we have been led to believe. In the afterward Walker writes, "Understanding the Black Panther Party is not easy. They were a complicated group that left behind a complex legacy. It is perfectly fine if, after reading this book, you're not sure how you feel about the Panthers or have mixed emotions." This perfectly sums up my feelings and makes me want to continue learning.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Steve

    I loved reading this book, and I have every intention of teaching with it in coming years - I'm already developing lesson plans around it as a middle school class read. The nuance - taking real humans to be real humans who are not perfect - is appealing for a reader (me) who is always worried that I'm about to be had by someone whitewashing (excuse the term) violence and imperfect actors involved in complex historical events and social phenomena. This book pulls no punches on the founders of the I loved reading this book, and I have every intention of teaching with it in coming years - I'm already developing lesson plans around it as a middle school class read. The nuance - taking real humans to be real humans who are not perfect - is appealing for a reader (me) who is always worried that I'm about to be had by someone whitewashing (excuse the term) violence and imperfect actors involved in complex historical events and social phenomena. This book pulls no punches on the founders of the Black Panther party any more than it does about the white supremacist government bent on its destruction. I highly recommend this book to those of most all ages (I'd say fifth grade and up through adults). Anyone wanting to learn more about the history of the Black Panther Party should read this (and watch the unaffiliated documentary "Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975").

  15. 5 out of 5

    Joey

    On one hand, this is an incredibly thorough and complex history of the Panthers that formal education has deprived us of, and is therefore somewhat essential (dare I say required) reading to anyone who might not check out a closer read of any particular Panther-centric moment in history. That said, the book is SO thorough that it does not feel like there is much of a throughline, which I do understand takes a touch of editorializing for a non-fiction book, but that still felt somewhat missing. T On one hand, this is an incredibly thorough and complex history of the Panthers that formal education has deprived us of, and is therefore somewhat essential (dare I say required) reading to anyone who might not check out a closer read of any particular Panther-centric moment in history. That said, the book is SO thorough that it does not feel like there is much of a throughline, which I do understand takes a touch of editorializing for a non-fiction book, but that still felt somewhat missing. The artwork was also a little static, which (again) certainly works for something so thorough, but given the aesthetic of the Panthers and the fact that they even had a few visual artists in their ranks (mentioned in the book) with a trademark style (absent in the book) makes this artwork feel a bit lacking.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Iman

    I really liked this book because it did a very good job explaining how the black panther party started, what they stood for, how they helped the community,and the people of the black panther party. It was very nice because they went into detail about all of these things and divided it equally so you got a good understanding about some of the people and there backstories. I also really liked the book because of what I learned from it because I didn’t really know a lot about the bpp and now I know I really liked this book because it did a very good job explaining how the black panther party started, what they stood for, how they helped the community,and the people of the black panther party. It was very nice because they went into detail about all of these things and divided it equally so you got a good understanding about some of the people and there backstories. I also really liked the book because of what I learned from it because I didn’t really know a lot about the bpp and now I know a lot more. Overall good book 👍

  17. 4 out of 5

    Michael

    A powerfully drawn and informative history of the Black Panther Party that both makes me admire and feel troubled by them. A good, nuanced history of a group that was, in my opinion, more good than bad but **definitely** had its problems. Reminder: the US federal government assassinated Fred Hampton while he was sleeping in his apartment. Fuck COINTELPRO; Fuck Ronald Reagan; Fuck J. Edgar Hoover; and Fuck the power systems that make old, rich white men with only one selfish perspective on human e A powerfully drawn and informative history of the Black Panther Party that both makes me admire and feel troubled by them. A good, nuanced history of a group that was, in my opinion, more good than bad but **definitely** had its problems. Reminder: the US federal government assassinated Fred Hampton while he was sleeping in his apartment. Fuck COINTELPRO; Fuck Ronald Reagan; Fuck J. Edgar Hoover; and Fuck the power systems that make old, rich white men with only one selfish perspective on human experience thrive.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Eric Burnside

    David F. Walker does it again! What a great way to tell the complex history of a controversial and often misunderstood politcal group that fought for the liberation of black people in America and whose impact was felt around the world. Bravo! Bravo to Walker and Marcus Kwame Alexander for this work.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Theodore

    A very engaging thoughtful and beautifully illustrated history of the Black Panther Party. The book takes the time to move through history documenting how the Panthers came to be. David Walker tells the complex and compelling history of the Panthers in a clear and honest way. Marcus Kwame Anderson's art and lettering compliment the narrative brilliantly. A very engaging thoughtful and beautifully illustrated history of the Black Panther Party. The book takes the time to move through history documenting how the Panthers came to be. David Walker tells the complex and compelling history of the Panthers in a clear and honest way. Marcus Kwame Anderson's art and lettering compliment the narrative brilliantly.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Aimee Dars

    I loved the content and artistry of this book. In a compact, easy-to-digest format, David H. Walker not only captured the rise and fall of the Black Panther Party and profiled key members but summarized racial dynamics in the United States leading to the Party's formation. The COINTPRO activities of the FBI didn't surprise me but still sickened me. Highly recommended! I loved the content and artistry of this book. In a compact, easy-to-digest format, David H. Walker not only captured the rise and fall of the Black Panther Party and profiled key members but summarized racial dynamics in the United States leading to the Party's formation. The COINTPRO activities of the FBI didn't surprise me but still sickened me. Highly recommended!

  21. 5 out of 5

    Andrew Hall

    This should be required reading for all high school students. It is so much more than the story of the Black Panthers. It is a visual history lesson on race and oppression in America. And the sickening continuation of it for generations.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Sonia

    Anyone who lives in Oakland this is a must read. Beautiful illustrations, and comprehensive bios of each Party member. Would be a good read for high school students interested in Black History. Well done.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Derek McCaw

    So much I didn't know, and Walker lays out an even-handed history. This is a very human history. So much I didn't know, and Walker lays out an even-handed history. This is a very human history.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Carol

    Excellent overview of the rise and fall of the Black Panthers, with mini-biographies of many of the major players. Great format, great drawing, great bibliography.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Pan Ellington

    just beautiful, my god.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Lauren

    Well worth the read.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Mary

  28. 5 out of 5

    Rahsaan

  29. 4 out of 5

    Daniel Sam

  30. 4 out of 5

    Andy

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