Extraordinary Histories

An opportunity to reflect on the numerous events and figures in American history, Black History Month is more than a month; it is an expansive and growing history of America. The recommended books below highlight poignant historical moments and social movements and exemplary leaders at the front of societal change. Just a sample of the breadth of titles we publish in African American history, and on ethnic studies, more broadly, these titles foster greater understanding of national and world history.


Black against Empire: The History and Politics of the Black Panther Party
By Joshua Bloom and Waldo E. Martin Jr.

In Oakland, California, in 1966, community college students Bobby Seale and Huey Newton armed themselves, began patrolling the police, and promised to prevent police brutality. Unlike the Civil Rights Movement that called for full citizenship rights for blacks within the United States, the Black Panther Party rejected the legitimacy of the U.S. government and positioned itself as part of a global struggle against American imperialism. In the face of intense repression, the Party flourished, becoming the center of a revolutionary movement with offices in sixty-eight U.S. cities and powerful allies around the world. The notions of self-reliance and self-determination were at the core of the Panther’s beliefs, but the Party’s legacy has been largely misunderstood.

With Black Against Empire, historian Waldo E. Martin and sociologist Joshua Bloom provide the most comprehensive, unvarnished examination of the Party and its place in the larger scope of revolutionary and political tides swirling in the tumultuous 1960s. A book Bobby Seale called “profoundly important,” this bold, engrossing, and richly detailed history cuts through the mythology to reveal the political dynamics that drove the explosive growth of this revolutionary movement.

Selected as San Francisco’s 2017 One City One Book.

Houston Bound: Culture and Color in a Jim Crow City
By Tyina L. Steptoe

Beginning after World War I, the city of Houston was transformed from a black-and-white frontier town into one of the most ethnically and racially diverse urban areas in the United States. Tyina L. Steptoe’s award-winning Houston Bound draws on social and cultural history to show how, despite Anglo attempts to fix racial categories through Jim Crow laws, converging migrations—particularly those of Mexicans and Creoles—complicated ideas of blackness and whiteness and introduced different understandings about race. This migration history also examines these racial complexities through music and sound to trace the emergence of Houston’s blues and jazz scenes in the 1920s as well as the hybrid forms of these genres that arose when migrants forged shared social space and carved out new communities and politics.

Winner of the Urban History Association’s 2016 Kenneth Jackson Award, the Western History Association’s 2017 W. Turrentine-Jackson Award, and the Friends of the Texas Room’s 2017 Julia Ideson Award.

Chocolate Cities: The Black Map of American Life
By Marcus Anthony Hunter and Zandria Robinson

When you think of a map of the United States, what do you see? Now think of the Seattle that begot Jimi Hendrix. The Dallas that shaped Erykah Badu. The Holly Springs, Mississippi, that compelled Ida B. Wells to activism against lynching. The Birmingham where Martin Luther King, Jr., penned his most famous missive. Now how do you see the United States?

Chocolate Cities offers a new cartography of the United States—a “Black Map” that more accurately reflects the lived experiences and the future of Black life in America. Drawing on cultural sources such as film, music, fiction, and plays, and on traditional resources like Census data, oral histories, ethnographies, and health and wealth data, the book offers a new perspective for analyzing, mapping, and understanding the ebbs and flows of the Black American experience—all in the cities, towns, neighborhoods, and communities that Black Americans have created and defended. Black maps are consequentially different from our current geographical understanding of race and place in America. And as the United States moves toward a majority minority society, Chocolate Cities provides a broad and necessary assessment of how racial and ethnic minorities make and change America’s social, economic, and political landscape.

Charles Burnett: A Cinema of Symbolic Knowledge
By James Naremore

Considered by the Chicago Tribune as “one of America’s very best filmmakers” and by The New York Times as “the nation’s least-known great filmmaker and most gifted black director,” Charles Burnett is a crucial figure in the history of American cinema and often regarded as the most influential member of the L.A. Rebellion group of African American filmmakers. The first book devoted to Burnett, James Naremore provides a close critical study of all Burnett’s major pictures for movies and television, including Killer of SheepTo Sleep with AngerThe Glass ShieldNightjohnThe WeddingNat Turner: A Troublesome Property, and Warming by the Devil’s Fire. Having accessed new information and rarely seen material, Naremore shows that Burnett’s career has developed against the odds and that his artistry, social criticism, humor, and commitment to what he calls “symbolic knowledge” have given his work enduring value for American culture.

Holy Hip Hop in the City of Angels
By Christina Zanfagna

In the 1990s, Los Angeles was home to numerous radical social and environmental eruptions. In the face of several major earthquakes and floods, riots and economic insecurity, policebrutality and mass incarceration, some young black Angelenos turned to holy hip hop—a movement merging Christianity and hip hop culture—to “save” themselves and the city. Converting street corners to open-air churches and gangsta rap beats into anthems of praise, holy hip hoppers used gospel rap to navigate complicated social and spiritual realities and to transform the Southland’s fractured terrains into musical Zions. Armed with beats, rhymes, and bibles, they journeyed through black Lutheran congregations, prison ministries, African churches, reggae dancehalls, hip hop clubs, Nation of Islam meetings, and Black Lives Matter marches. Zanfagna’s fascinating ethnography provides a contemporary and unique view of black LA, offering a much-needed perspective on how music and religion intertwine in people’s everyday experiences.

The Chosen Ones: Black Men and the Politics of Redemption
By Nikki Jones 

In The Chosen Ones, sociologist and feminist scholar Nikki Jones shares the compelling story of a group of Black men living in San Francisco’s historically Black neighborhood, the Fillmore. Against all odds, these men work to atone for past crimes by reaching out to other Black men, young and old, with the hope of guiding them toward a better life. Yet despite their genuine efforts, they struggle to find a new place in their old neighborhood. With a poignant yet hopeful voice, Jones illustrates how neighborhood politics, everyday interactions with the police, and conservative Black gender ideologies shape the men’s ability to make good and forgive themselves—and how the double-edged sword of community shapes the work of redemption.

Forthcoming June 2018; preorder today.

Making All Black Lives Matter: Reimagining Freedom in the 21st Century
By Barbara Ransby 

In the wake of the murder of unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin in 2012 and the exoneration of his killer, three black women activists launched a hashtag and social-media platform, Black Lives Matter, which would become the rubric for a larger movement. To many, especially those in the media, Black Lives Matter appeared to burst onto the national political landscape out of thin air.

But as historian and esteemed activist Barbara Ransby shows in her highly-anticipated Making All Black Lives Matter, the movement has roots in prison abolition, anti-police violence, black youth movements, and radical mobilizations across the country dating back at least a decade. Ransby interviewed more than a dozen of the movements principal organizers and activists, and she provides a detailed review of its extensive coverage in mainstream and social media. A critical history of the present, Making All Black Lives Matter offers one of the first overviews of Black Lives Matter and explores the challenges and possible future for this growing and influential movement.

Forthcoming September 2018; preorder today.


Black against Empire: Read, Resist, Repeat

Photo via @SFPublicLibrary on Twitter

“You can’t sit in against poverty. You can’t sit in against police brutality.”
—Joshua Bloom

“You have to dream a different world… The Party was totally committed to action.”
—Waldo E. Martin Jr.

This past Sunday in front of a full house at the San Francisco Public Library, Black against Empire authors Joshua Bloom and Waldo E. Martin Jr. spoke with journalist Davey D Cook about the Black Panther Party’s legacy and how the movement continues to impart important lessons for today, especially for those interested in political organizing.

While programming for One City One Book winds down in November, copies of Black against Empire can be found in all San Francisco libraries and at bookstores around the city. Enhance your reading with discussion questions, images from the library’s archives, and the Party’s ten-point program.

November Events

Revolution 67 Thursday, November 2, 12 p.m. Main Library, Koret Auditorium 100 Larkin St.

An illuminating account of the six-day Newark, N.J. outbreak on July 12, 1967. The film reveals how the disturbance began as spontaneous revolts against poverty and police brutality and ended as fateful milestones in America’s struggles over race and economic justice.

The Black Press: Soldiers without Swords Thursday, November 9, 12 p.m. Main Library, Koret Auditorium 100 Larkin St.

An engaging historical account that tells the story of the pioneering men and women of the Black press who gave voice to Black America.

Good Hair Thursday, November 16, 12 p.m. Main Library, Koret Auditorium 100 Larkin St.

Prompted by a question from his young daughter, comic Chris Rock sets out to explore the importance of hair in black culture

Art and Activism Exhibit Through November 30, Main Library, 4th Floor Rotunda & Grove Street exhibit space 100 Larkin St.

Artwork of Emory Douglas, Melanie Cervantes and Faviana Rodriguiz Using bold colors and high contrast images, these artists’ works reflect both the local and global community and their resistance in a struggle to create a new world.

View the Complete Fall Program


The Irrepressible Politics of the Black Panther Party

This Sunday, if you’re in the Bay Area, join Black against Empire authors Joshua Bloom and Waldo E. Martin for a special One City One Book event. They’ll discuss the history and politics of the Black Panther Party and how the movement links to today’s political landscape and struggles.

Sunday, October 29 at 1 p.m.
Main Library, Koret Auditorium
100 Larkin St.
San Francisco, CA
Free and open to the public, visit the event page for more info

To prepare for the event or for your own conversations, consider the following questions, provided by the San Francisco Public Library.

BOOK DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

1 How did the party’s hierarchical structure affect its dynamics and its ultimate impact?

2 What drew thousands of new recruits to the Black Panther Party’s message of violent revolution in an era otherwise marked by the peaceful protests of the civil-rights movement?

3 In an iconic photo that was displayed in most Black Panther Party offices, Huey P. Newton is depicted with an ironclad grip on a rifle. What do you see as the difference between the Black Panthers’ perspective on gun rights and that of the modern-day National Rifle Association?

4 How did government policies like defamation, espionage, and the embedding of provocateurs affect the party’s momentum?

5 One of the central arguments in Black against Empire is that what lay behind the Black Panther Party’s growth and influence, what made them synonymous with the Black Power Movement rather than the many other contemporary black nationalist organizations, was their ability to form alliances and coalitions—namely with moderate, more establishment black organizations, white student leftists, sympathetic revolutionary governments abroad and Latino, Native American and Asian radical groups in the U.S. How difficult was it to maintain and balance such alliances, to keep people within the party on board and to avoid being co-opted by less militant groups? What, if any, prospects do you see for any similar alliances being formed for contemporary revolutionary politics in urban America?

6 The rise of the Black Panther Party coincided with some of the largest urban uprisings in US history: Watts in 1965 and Newark, and Detroit in 1967. In the last two years we have seen similar rebellions in Ferguson, Baltimore and elsewhere. In many cases in both the 60s and today, the spark has been a police murder or assault on a black person. What parallels do you see between these periods?

7 The Black Panther, the Party’s newspaper, played a central role in the movement. It provided information of relevance about local, national and international struggles. It was also used as a powerful propaganda tool against the state and for internal discipline within the Party increasingly for its announcements of Party members being purged. Its circulation reached 150,000. Discuss the impact and effect of a media tool controlled by the Party. What are the parallels to the media of today?

8 The sheer extent of COINTELPRO infiltration, agent provocateurs and state-sanctioned murder of Panthers only became known years after the Party’s demise, though the campaign of vilification and repression by the US government was clear to Panthers at the time. Today in the U.K., as in the U.S., the state is widening its conceptions of ‘extremists’ and ‘terrorists’, continuing to criminalize those who organize against state oppression. How did the Panthers cope with the widespread propaganda offensive against them? To what extent did heavy state repression galvanize support for the party and was it state infiltration that was more damaging? What lessons can contemporary movements learn from state interference with the Party?

View the Program Guide for Remaining Events


A Peek into the San Francisco Public Library’s Archives on the Black Panthers

With One City One Book programming for Black against Empire: The History and Politics of the Black Panther Party in full swing, the San Francisco Public Library invited UC Press staff to delve into the Black Panther Party archives. On the library’s 6th floor, the History Center holds a comprehensive research collection on all aspects of San Francisco life and history, and for this trip, we viewed original manuscripts, newspapers and magazines, photographs, pamphlets, police records, Mayoral papers, and more documenting the Black Panther Party as well as San Francisco’s legacy of resistance.

Take a look below, and to get an up close show-and-tell of Black Panther Party history, join the SF Public Library for Hands on History: All Power to the People on October 10 & 24 at 6 p.m.

And be sure to join Black against Empire authors Joshua Bloom and Waldo E. Martin. Jr. as they discuss the genesis, rise and decline of the Black Panther Party and the movement’s link to today’s struggles, October 29, 1 p.m.

View all upcoming One City One Book events 

 


Black against Empire: One City One Book Upcoming October Events

San Francisco’s annual literary event, One City One Book, continues with Black against Empire: The History and Politics of the Black Panther Party, and October is packed with an exciting mix of citywide events. This month, get your hands on history with a close-up look into the library’s archives, head across the Bay and ride to significant sites of the Black Panther Party, join a lively discussion of activism and today’s resistance movements, or find yourself immersed in a topical film at one of the many screenings.

And be sure to mark your calendars for a special event with authors Joshua Bloom and Waldo E. Martin Jr.:

SPECIAL EVENT Author Talk: The Irrepressible Politics of the Black Panther Party  Sunday, October 29, 1 p.m. Main Library, Koret Auditorium, 100 Larkin St.

Join authors Joshua Bloom and Waldo Martin in conversation with journalist Davey D Cook as they discuss Black against Empire: The History and Politics of the Black Panther Party.

View the Complete Fall Program

October Events

Blacks, Blues, Black! Film screening Wednesday, October 4, 6 p.m. Main Library, Koret Auditorium 100 Larkin St.

Join the San Francisco History Center for the screening of Dr. Maya Angelou’s 1968 series, Blacks, Blues, Black! which examines the influence of African American culture on modern American society.

Bicycle Tour with bike collective, Red Bike and Green Saturday, October 7, 1 p.m.

Meet at DeFremery Park in Oakland Ride your bike to tour sites of importance to the Black Panther Party.

Hands on History: All Power to the People Tuesdays, October 10 & 24, 6 p.m. Main Library, SF History Center 100 Larkin St.

Be part of an experience that brings San Francisco revolution and resistance history to your fingertips. Join us for a close-up show-and-tell of San Francisco history through original manuscripts, newspapers, and photographs which document Black Panther Party and San Francisco’s legacy of resistance. Space limited to 30.

Litquake Presents Black against Empire: The History and Politics of the Black Panther Party Tuesday, October 10, 7 p.m. American Bookbinders Museum 355 Clementine St., San Francisco

Co-author Waldo E. Martin in conversation with Oakland-based writer and artist, D. Scot Miller. Co-presented by Friends of the San Francisco Public Library

Free Angela and All Political Prisoners Thursday, October 12, 12 p.m. Main Library, Koret Auditorium 100 Larkin St.

A documentary that chronicles the life of young college professor Angela Davis, and how her social activism implicates her in a botched kidnapping attempt that ends with a shootout, four dead, and her name on the FBI’s 10 most wanted list.

Book Discussion Saturday, October 14, 10:30 a.m. Main Library, Library for the Blind & Print Disabled, 100 Larkin St. (415) 557-4253

Get Out Thursday, October 19, 12 p.m. Main Library, Koret Auditorium 100 Larkin St.

A young African American man meets his white girlfriend’s parents during a weekend in their secluded estate in the woods, but before long, the friendly and polite ambience gives way to a nightmare.

The Defender Film Screening and Talk Back with Jeff Adachi and the Press Saturday, October 21, 1 p.m. Main Library, Koret Auditorium, 100 Larkin St.

An insightful documentary focuses on San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi as he and his team take on a high-profile case which suggests black-crime bias in ostensibly liberal San Francisco.

Emory Douglas: Art and Activism Panel discussion Sunday, October 22 1 p.m. Main Library, Koret Auditorium, 100 Larkin St.,

Emory Douglas, the Minister of Culture for the Black Panther Party, who created some of the most iconic images of Black Power, in conversation with other artists discussing the intersection of art and activism.

Negros with Guns: Rob Williams and Black Power Thursday, October 26, 12 p.m. Main Library, Koret Auditorium 100 Larkin St.

Rob Williams was an African-American living in Monroe, North Carolina in the 1950s and 1960s. Living with injustice and oppression, many African-Americans advocated a non-violent resistance. Williams took a different tack, urging the oppressed to take up arms.

 


Black against Empire: One City One Book September Events

Programming for San Francisco’s 13th annual citywide literary event, One City One Book, kicks off this month, and we at UC Press could not be more excited that Black against Empire: The History and Politics of the Black Panther Party is this year’s selection!

The San Francisco Public Library has curated a phenomenal lineup of programming from now through November that includes author talks, exhibits, film screenings, peeks into the library’s archives, and even a bicycle tour to important Black Panther Party sites. So head to your favorite San Francisco bookstore or library branch for your copy of Black against Empire, and check out the program guide to find the events you’d like to attend.

September Events

Book Discussion Monday, September 11, 4 p.m.
Western Addition Branch, 1550 Scott St.

Book Discussion Wednesday, September 27, 6:30 p.m.
Mission Bay Branch, 960 Fourth St.

Free Breakfasts / Free Lives 50 Years of Social Activism in the Black Community Thursday, September 28, 6 p.m. Main Library, Koret Auditorium 100 Larkin St.

In partnership with the New Conservatory Theatre Center and its world premier of This Bitter Earth, this discussion about the intersections between the Black Panther Party and the Black Lives Matter movement.

View the Complete Program Guide Here

And mark your calendars for a discussion next month with authors Joshua Bloom and Waldo E. Martin Jr.

SPECIAL EVENT Author Talk: The Irrepressible Politics of the Black Panther Party  Sunday, October 29, 1 p.m. Main Library, Koret Auditorium, 100 Larkin St.

Join authors Joshua Bloom and Waldo Martin in conversation with journalist “Davey D” Cook as they discuss Black against Empire: The History and Politics of the Black Panther Party.

Follow One City One Book on Facebook to sign-up for event reminders, and share on social media with #OneCityOneBook.

 


This Year’s One City One Book Selection Is Black against Empire

UC Press is proud to announce that San Francisco’s 13th Annual One City One Book selection is Black against Empire: The History and Politics of the Black Panther Party by Joshua Bloom and Waldo E. Martin Jr.

Black against Empire is the first comprehensive overview and analysis of the history and politics of the Black Panther Party.

Bloom and Martin 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.

Bold, engrossing, and richly detailed, the book cuts through the mythology and obfuscation, revealing the political dynamics that drove the explosive growth of this revolutionary movement and its disastrous unraveling.” — One City One Book Selection Committee

Black against Empire will be featured in all San Francisco libraries and at bookstores around the city — pick up your copy for some summer reading and get ready for the One City One Book program extravaganza this fall! Join book discussions, view themed exhibits, attend author talks and participate in many other citywide events in September and October. Head to the San Francisco Public Library‘s site for more details, and stay tuned for the One City One Book Exhibits and Events Guide.


The Black Panther Party’s Ten-Point Program

Last October marked the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Black Panther Party in Oakland, California, when, in 1966, college students Bobby Seale and Huey Newton vowed to prevent police brutality against black communities. In the face of intense repression, the Party flourished, becoming the center of a revolutionary movement with offices in sixty-eight U.S. cities and powerful allies around the world.

Today, the Party’s fight against police brutality continues to inspire activists and organizers, who look to develop new ways of organizing as tools and methods change and current events shift. In the new preface to Black against Empire: The History and Politics of the Black Panther Party, authors Joshua Bloom and Waldo E. Martin Jr. place the Black Panther Party in today’s political landscape, especially as it relates to Black Lives Matter. They write:

Like the Black Panther Party, #BlackLivesMatter and other contemporary activists have coupled confrontational tactics with community organizing and sought to challenge racism by mobilizing against police brutality. And again, today antiracist activists face repression including state surveillance, arrests, and coordinated public vilification. As in the 1960s, the forces of racial retrenchment are eager to move on without disturbing the basic arrangements of white privilege. . . . Indeed, each generation must make its own history, under new conditions, in new ways. Rather than emulating the specifics, we believe that developing effective antiracist practices today requires emulating the general political dynamic common to both the Civil Rights Movement and the Black Panther Party.

Included in the book is The Black Panther Party’s Ten-Point Program. First publicized in the the second issue of the organization’s newspaper, Black Panther, on May 15, 1967, the platform and program, titled “What We Want Now! What We Believe,” was a set of guidelines written by Newton and Seale that emphasized the Party’s ideals and commitment to advancing a revolution that addressed the needs of the black community. It appeared in every succeeding issue of the newspaper.

The original Ten Point Program read:

What We Want Now! What We Believe

To those poor souls who don’t know Black history, the beliefs and desires of the Black Panther Party for Self Defense may seem unreasonable. To Black people, the ten points covered are absolutely essential to survival. We have listened to the riot producing words “these things take time” for 400 years. The Black Panther Party knows what Black people want and need. Black unity and self defense will make these demands a reality.

What We Want

  1. We want freedom. We want power to determine the destiny of our Black community.
  2. We want full employment for our people.
  3. We want an end to the robbery by the White man of our Black community.
  4. We want decent housing, fit for shelter [of] human beings.
  5. We want education for our people that exposes the true nature of this decadent American society. We want education that teaches us our true history and our role in the present day society.
  6. We want all Black men to be exempt from military service.
  7. We want an immediate end to police brutality and murder of Black people.
  8. We want freedom for all Black men held in federal, state, county, and city prisons and jails.
  9. We want all Black people when brought to trial to be tried in court by a jury of their peer group or people from their Black communities. As defined by the constitution of the United States.
  10. We want land, bread, housing, education, clothing, justice and peace.

What We Believe

  1. We believe that Black people will not be free until we are able to determine our destiny.
  2. We believe that the federal government is responsible and obligated to give every man employment or a guaranteed income. We believe that if the White American business men will not give full employment, then the means of production should be taken from the business men and placed in the community so that the people of the community can organize and employ all of its people and give a high standard of living.
  3. We believe that this racist government has robbed us and now we are demanding the overdue debt of forty acres and two mules. Forty acres and two mules was promised 100 years ago as retribution for slave labor and mass murder of Black people. We will accept the payment in currency which will be distributed to our many communities: the Germans are now aiding the Jews in Israel for the genocide of the Jewish people. The Germans murdered 6,000,000 Jews. The American racist has taken part in the slaughter of over 50,000,000 Black people; therefore, we feel that this is a modest demand that we make.
  4. We believe that if the White landlords will not give decent housing to our Black community, then the housing and the land should be made into cooperatives so that our community, with government aid, can build and make decent housing for its people.
  5. We believe in an educational system that will give to our people a knowledge of self. If a man does not have knowledge of himself and his position in society and the world, then he has little chance to relate to anything else.
  6. We believe that Black people should not be forced to fight in the military service to defend a racist government that does not protect us. We will not fight and kill other people of color in the world who, like Black people, are being victimized by the White racist government of America. We will protect ourselves from the force and violence of the racist police and the racist military, by whatever means necessary.
  7. We believe we can end police brutality in our Black community by organizing Black self defense groups that are dedicated to defending our Black community from racist police oppression and brutality. The Second Amendment of the Constitution of the United States gives us a right to bear arms. We therefore believe that all Black people should arm themselves for self defense.
  8. We believe that all Black people should be released from the many jails and prisons because they have not received a fair and impartial trial.
  9. We believe that the courts should follow the United States Constitution so that Black people will receive fair trials. The 14th amendment of the U.S. Constitution gives a man a right to be tried by his peer group. A peer is a person from a similar economic, social, religious, geographical, environmental, historical and racial background. To do this the court will be forced to select a jury from the Black community from which the Black defendant came. We have been, and are being tried by all White juries that have no understanding of the “average reasoning man” of the Black community.
  10. When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bonds which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and nature’s god entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to separation. We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object, evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security.

Above the Ten Point Program, under the headline “Minister of Defense,” the Black Panther carried a photo of Huey that served to announce to the world that the vanguard of Black Power had arrived.

Learn more about the history and politics of the Black Panther Party and Black against Empire here.


Black against Empire and Banned Books Week

By Niels Hooper, Executive Editor at UC Press

I don’t know whether to be concerned that state officials are still afraid of the Black Panthers, or take it as badge of honor that these words really do have power, but we have just been notified that American Book Award winner Black Against Empire: The History and Politics of the Black Panther Party by Joshua Bloom and Waldo E. Martin, Jr. has just become a banned book! We’re republishing it, with a striking new cover courtesy of Shepard Fairey, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Black Panther Party here in Oakland CA.

Black Against Empire new cover

As Alicia Garza, co-founder of #BlackLivesMatter network says, “I read Black against Empire while on sabbatical, and it changed something in me. #BlackLivesMatter was created just a few months later. The political history of one of the most misunderstood black political efforts in our nation’s history, Black against Empire offers important considerations for today’s black liberation movement.” Banning Black Against Empire in California prisons, like trying to keep news of today’s prison strike from getting out, only makes matters worse.

Letter banning black against empire

You can pre-order the new edition of Black Against Empire: The History and Politics of the Black Panther Party, With a New Preface on our website or wherever books are sold.


Niels Hooper is Executive Editor at UC Press. He has a B.A. in Modern History from Oxford University and an M.A. in History and African-American Studies from the University of Michigan. Prior to joining UC Press he worked at Verso Books in New York, at first running North American publicity, sales, and marketing, and later joining Verso’s editorial board and becoming the US General Manager.


Black against Empire Authors Win American Book Award

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 American Book Award -- Web
Joshua Bloom accepts the American Book Award

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.

Bloom Acceptance Speech -- Web
Joshua Bloom during his acceptance speech

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.