On Sunday, October 26 at the SF Jazz Center, Joshua Bloom and Waldo Martin received the 2014 American Book Award for Black against Empire: The History and Politics of the Black Panther Party. The book is the first comprehensive overview and analysis of the history and politics of the Black Panther Party. The authors analyze key political questions, such as why so many young black people across the country risked their lives for the revolution, why the Party grew most rapidly during the height of repression, and why allies abandoned the Party at its peak of influence.
Bloom and Martin join the illustrious ranks of Toni Morrison, Edward Said, Isabel Allende, bell hooks, Don DeLillo, Robin D.G. Kelley, Joy Harjo, and Gary Snyder as recipients of the award, which was created by the Before Columbus Foundation to provide recognition for outstanding literary achievement from the entire spectrum of America’s diverse literary community.
Watch Joshua Bloom’s acceptance speech at Sunday’s ceremony, below. In a discussion ranging from the sit-ins of the Jim Crow era to the protests in Ferguson, Missouri, Bloom makes a passionate case for why the history of the Black Panther Party matters today.