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.