Founded in 1966 by Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale The Black Panther Party established a guiding manifesto known as the Ten-Point Program and every element of it is still relevant today. As someone who had heard some, but far too little about The Black Panther Party over the course of her education, I was very intrigued by this graphic novel. Not only was it covering a topic I felt very under educated about, but it was also written by someone who is a noted scholarly expert in regards to African American Cinema and is well known in the realm of comics.
Broken down into eight sections this book begins with the myth of the Panthers and breaks down the complexities of the organization in a very quick way. They showcase how there were people who admired and feared them, but that they wanted to help their communities. Then the art of Marcus Kwame Anderson works to show how diverse the organization was in regards to members and their work. After this brief interlude readers are then taken through a chronological examination of the time before The Panthers into their creation and then the ultimate death of The Panthers.
The visual history element of this book, since it is a graphic novel, really helps to make the information being presented easier to follow and understand. Through the detailed images, the portrait work in this is so well done and showcases so many key figures from both The Black Panthers and also from The Civil Rights Movement as a whole. This would work for young readers and for those who are not often big readers. The benefit of a graphic novel version is that it helps a more varied level of readers to relate to the material. I would highly recommend The Black Panther Party and I felt like I learned so much going through it. This would also be a perfect piece to add to a syllabus if you are looking for educational materials that will draw in more students than your standard textbook. The Black Panther Party releases on January 19th, but is currently available for pre-order.