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The Black Panther Party: A Graphic Novel History

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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. 5 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

  2. 5 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.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Skip

    An excellent and balanced history of the Black Panthers, its people, its ideals and programs, its challenges ranging from internal strife to governmental persecution to battles with other black nationalists, etc. The format as a graphic novel may not be appreciated by some, but Marcus Kwame Anderson does a fine job. The afterword discussing how today's headlines are relevant to this 40+ year old subject was interesting. Highly recommended for anyone interested in a relatively short treatise on t An excellent and balanced history of the Black Panthers, its people, its ideals and programs, its challenges ranging from internal strife to governmental persecution to battles with other black nationalists, etc. The format as a graphic novel may not be appreciated by some, but Marcus Kwame Anderson does a fine job. The afterword discussing how today's headlines are relevant to this 40+ year old subject was interesting. Highly recommended for anyone interested in a relatively short treatise on the Panthers.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Leila

    A brilliant, beautifully illustrated, engaging graphic novel history of the Black Panther Party that’s accessible for all ages (6 and up). Read this with my 7 year old for home school, and she was so captivated that she wanted to read it before bedtime too. Highly, highly recommend.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Andrea

    So much information packed into this book—there was obviously a ton of research behind it. So tragic that we are still dealing with the same racial injustice today that the Panthers organized to fight.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Dan Wilcox

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

  7. 4 out of 5

    Bek MoonyReadsByStarlight

    4.5 Stars. This was very informative. I learned a lot and it put so much in context that was very important. I'm looking forward to reading more about the BPP and seeing how this holds up. I do have some questions about conclusions that they come to (and the fact that they address some people who were framed and put in jail, while not addressing other instances of incarceration). But over all, this was very informative and I enjoyed the art style. 4.5 Stars. This was very informative. I learned a lot and it put so much in context that was very important. I'm looking forward to reading more about the BPP and seeing how this holds up. I do have some questions about conclusions that they come to (and the fact that they address some people who were framed and put in jail, while not addressing other instances of incarceration). But over all, this was very informative and I enjoyed the art style.

  8. 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:

  9. 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.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Brent

    Meaningful history, told in comics: this is a useful summary. Biographies are effective on full-oage portraits. The literature is well presented, with a three page bibliography. Recommended. Thanks to Fulton County Public Library for the loan.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Christine

    David F. Walker does it again!

  12. 4 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.

  13. 5 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.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Amy Smith

    Succinct, well-researched, wish I had read it at least by middle school. Lots of hooks for deeper research and understanding.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Rosa Sealy

    Excellent summary of the Black Panther Party. Because its a graphic novel, it's kept concise with no fluff. Towards the end, they repeatedly introduce a member and they die. Unfortunately that is what it was like at the time. Highly recommend to get an overall view of the Party and it's contributions to society. Excellent summary of the Black Panther Party. Because its a graphic novel, it's kept concise with no fluff. Towards the end, they repeatedly introduce a member and they die. Unfortunately that is what it was like at the time. Highly recommend to get an overall view of the Party and it's contributions to society.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Courtney Kruzan

    With a heavy heart full of righteous anger I give 5 stars. Loved learning some BPP history in the form of a graphic novel. It was so nuanced too, great read. 100% wanted to go down to the local police station and just start fucking swinging.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Jessica

    I remember reading One Crazy Summer about a decade ago and thinking how revolutionary it seemed to be reading a (semi-) positive portrayal of the Black Panther Party. Now, a very positive graphic novel history of the Party doesn't seem odd in any way--how far we've come. This was a comprehensive enough history that it could be taught in school. I could see this being a middle school or high school curriculum assignment, maybe to be paired with March: Book One as a counterpoint, since the book ta I remember reading One Crazy Summer about a decade ago and thinking how revolutionary it seemed to be reading a (semi-) positive portrayal of the Black Panther Party. Now, a very positive graphic novel history of the Party doesn't seem odd in any way--how far we've come. This was a comprehensive enough history that it could be taught in school. I could see this being a middle school or high school curriculum assignment, maybe to be paired with March: Book One as a counterpoint, since the book talks about the frustration with the SNCC and nonviolence in general. I didn't know too much about the Black Panther Party--I knew the names Huey Newton, Bobby Seale, Angela Davis etc. but I didn't know much else. Since there's a film out right now (Judas and the Black Messiah) about Fred Hampton's betrayal, it was also interesting to read about that there. I also didn't know that 41st and Central was the LA chapter's headquarters, which is not too far from a library that I've worked at. Finally, as with all history books, it was fascinating to compare history with where we're at now. The Black Panther Party's Ten Point Program (demands/manifesto) is powerful to read, because these are all demands that are completely relevant today (#7 We want an immediate end to Police Brutality and Murder of Black People). The author's note at the end talking about George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor even further draws connections to current events. Gr. 7-12

  18. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    An excellent history of the Black Panther Party and its place in the civil rights movement. The Black Panthers moved the struggle to a new level. It is sad that there was so much violence, so many deaths, involved in making their points. It was obvious at the time and in this book that much or most of the violence was initiated by the police or the FBI and their infiltrators. As the book shows, J. Edgar Hoover was a horrible person, and his minions (paid by our tax dollars) did a lot of damage. T An excellent history of the Black Panther Party and its place in the civil rights movement. The Black Panthers moved the struggle to a new level. It is sad that there was so much violence, so many deaths, involved in making their points. It was obvious at the time and in this book that much or most of the violence was initiated by the police or the FBI and their infiltrators. As the book shows, J. Edgar Hoover was a horrible person, and his minions (paid by our tax dollars) did a lot of damage. This book presents a nuanced view. The Panthers were a product of their time. They were fighting the rampant racism, and they, like everyone else at the time, participated in the sexism. (They did include more women in positions of power than, say, the mostly-white SDS. This was partly necessary since so many of the male Panther leaders were jailed.) The macho posturing and in-fighting were a large part of the group's demise, but the murders of members by police and the FBI were more obvious causes, and contributed to the trauma that was a cause of the in-fighting. I would have liked to see more in the book about the breakfast, school, and other social programs, which were very positive community actions. Wikipedia says that the Panthers operated more than 60 social programs, but the book covers only the breakfast program and the Oakland school. It's interesting to see events that I lived through being presented to people who weren't born then as long-ago history. Also interesting how much progress we have and haven't made since them. Unfortunately, police shootings of young black men, which prompted the formation of the Panthers, are still a big problem, as is racism. So this book, this history, is relevant now.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Jaden Nettles

    The Black Panther Party was an organization riddled with controversy from the outset. David Walker’s The Black Panther Party: A Graphic Novel History tells the story of Huey P. Newton and the Black Panther party, as they navigate a racist America and attempt to secure rights for African Americans. Chronicling the lifespan of the organization from start to finish, leaving no stone unturned. Showcasing a group of people who were ready to take matters into their own hands when the nonviolent option The Black Panther Party was an organization riddled with controversy from the outset. David Walker’s The Black Panther Party: A Graphic Novel History tells the story of Huey P. Newton and the Black Panther party, as they navigate a racist America and attempt to secure rights for African Americans. Chronicling the lifespan of the organization from start to finish, leaving no stone unturned. Showcasing a group of people who were ready to take matters into their own hands when the nonviolent option was going nowhere. The Black Panther Party was a very interesting story presented in a unique way. By using the graphic novel format, David Walker makes the information more digestible, with a cool art style to boot. Having known nothing prior about the Black Panther party, the story kept me engaged and intrigued about what would happen next. It was brutally honest about the portrayal of America in the 1950s, namely, the racism black people had to endure. My main problem with the book comes with a fundamental problem with the style of the book. Due to the amount of information that had to be provided, there were times when it was nothing but exposition with information leading into the next point of the book. Overall I found the book a relatively quick, interesting, and informative piece on the Black Panther party, racism in America’s history, and the civil rights movement. It is a 4 / 5 because while very good in my opinion, it dragged in certain areas. If you enjoy informational reads, I strongly recommend this graphic novel.

  20. 4 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.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Danielle Masterson

    Thank you to the publisher and Edelweiss for this eARC of the Black Panther Party. This graphic novel explains and outlines the history of the Black Panther Party. David F. Walker shows a complete history of the BPP, from its community survival programs to the violence and strife within the organization. Where this graphic novel really shines, though, is in Marcus Kwame Anderson’s illustrations. Every page is truly a work of art. My only frustration was reading this in electronic form — the word Thank you to the publisher and Edelweiss for this eARC of the Black Panther Party. This graphic novel explains and outlines the history of the Black Panther Party. David F. Walker shows a complete history of the BPP, from its community survival programs to the violence and strife within the organization. Where this graphic novel really shines, though, is in Marcus Kwame Anderson’s illustrations. Every page is truly a work of art. My only frustration was reading this in electronic form — the words appeared blurry and flipping from page to page was difficult. I will definitely find a physical form so I can appreciate the words and art.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    “Understanding the Black Panther Party is not easy. They were a complicated group that left behind a complex legacy.... But what any one of us thinks about the Panthers -be it positive or negative- doesn’t matter nearly as much as the fact that our feelings should be derived from a place of knowledge and perhaps even some nuance.” - David F Walker, Afterword. There’s only so much detail and nuance you can get with a graphic history, but Walker did a great job synthesizing events and highlighting “Understanding the Black Panther Party is not easy. They were a complicated group that left behind a complex legacy.... But what any one of us thinks about the Panthers -be it positive or negative- doesn’t matter nearly as much as the fact that our feelings should be derived from a place of knowledge and perhaps even some nuance.” - David F Walker, Afterword. There’s only so much detail and nuance you can get with a graphic history, but Walker did a great job synthesizing events and highlighting major figures to shed light on the Party. Reading it was also just depressing to know how much injustice there was and continues to be in this country.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Liesl

    After watching The Trial of the Chicago 7 and Judas and the Black Messiah, I was anxious to learn more about the Black Panthers. This book provides a comprehensive history of the group, highlighting notable individuals and incidents along the way with impressive accompanying artwork. I found it to be well-researched, informative and extremely engaging. While the facts are presented in an unbiased manner, I appreciated Walker's raw afterword reflecting on the major racial events of the past year After watching The Trial of the Chicago 7 and Judas and the Black Messiah, I was anxious to learn more about the Black Panthers. This book provides a comprehensive history of the group, highlighting notable individuals and incidents along the way with impressive accompanying artwork. I found it to be well-researched, informative and extremely engaging. While the facts are presented in an unbiased manner, I appreciated Walker's raw afterword reflecting on the major racial events of the past year and how little has changed since the Black Panthers formed over 50 years ago.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Nikki Waring

    This was a powerful read enhanced by incredible art work. I thought I knew enough about the BPP. I knew the rhetoric wasn't true, and that their community programs were overlooked in history, that they started as a defense group against police violence. I knew the basics. But I didn't know enough. Reading this in 2021, it is impossible to not see the parallels with what is still going on now. 50+ years later and little has changed. This should be required reading in high-school American history This was a powerful read enhanced by incredible art work. I thought I knew enough about the BPP. I knew the rhetoric wasn't true, and that their community programs were overlooked in history, that they started as a defense group against police violence. I knew the basics. But I didn't know enough. Reading this in 2021, it is impossible to not see the parallels with what is still going on now. 50+ years later and little has changed. This should be required reading in high-school American history everywhere.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Robert

    This is a great intro to the history of the Black Panther Party, it’s people & personalities. Emphasizes the influences of other movements on the formation of the Black Panthers, & the influence the Panthers had on other movements in turn. It would be interesting to see the connections between the Black Panthers’ legacy & later anti-racist movements, but that is probably a whole other book in itself. There are definitely many more books to read (or write) about the Black Panther Party, but this This is a great intro to the history of the Black Panther Party, it’s people & personalities. Emphasizes the influences of other movements on the formation of the Black Panthers, & the influence the Panthers had on other movements in turn. It would be interesting to see the connections between the Black Panthers’ legacy & later anti-racist movements, but that is probably a whole other book in itself. There are definitely many more books to read (or write) about the Black Panther Party, but this one is a good place to start.

  26. 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.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Mary Lee

    I'm starting to understand what it's like to be a historian. One path of learning opens up so many other paths of learning. I tagged this book YA and adult just because there is So. Much. Information. I'm not sure it needed to be a graphic novel, but because that might be what it takes for some readers to pick it up in the first place, it probably DID need to be a graphic novel. I'm starting to understand what it's like to be a historian. One path of learning opens up so many other paths of learning. I tagged this book YA and adult just because there is So. Much. Information. I'm not sure it needed to be a graphic novel, but because that might be what it takes for some readers to pick it up in the first place, it probably DID need to be a graphic novel.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Edward Sullivan

    A concise, informative, dramatically illustrated graphic narrative explores the impact and legacy of the Black Panthers, from their social, educational, and healthcare programs designed to uplift Black communities to their battle against police brutality through citizen patrols and frequent clashes with the FBI, which targeted the Party from its outset.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Beth

    A detailed, simply yet powerfully illustrated, and well researched account of the history of the Black Panther Party and many of its major members. Police brutality, FBI interference and setups, internal violence, and community work are all included. For mid-teens through adults. Multiple scenes of violence that are brief and not sensationalized in art or text.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Ray

    WOW I loved this. Just happened to pick it up on display at the local library. A really fascinating and seemingly quite accurate as far as I can tell. It doesn't seem overly biased or praising of the Black Panther Party but does speak well of them. The art is awesome, there is a lot of writing but it is very enjoyable. So yeah it's a great book and I'd recommend to anyone. WOW I loved this. Just happened to pick it up on display at the local library. A really fascinating and seemingly quite accurate as far as I can tell. It doesn't seem overly biased or praising of the Black Panther Party but does speak well of them. The art is awesome, there is a lot of writing but it is very enjoyable. So yeah it's a great book and I'd recommend to anyone.

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