They weren’t a violent revolutionary political party — or they weren’t just that. While Huey Newton, Bobby Seale, and Eldredge Cleaver grabbed headlines, women did community activism. Yohuru Williams and Bryan Shih at the Nation speak with four women Black Panthers on the occasion of the Panthers’ 50th anniversary.
When mainstream journalists talk to me, they want to know, “What really happened?” Whereas young people are looking back and saying, “Wow, 50 years ago you fed people? Forty-five years ago you created schools that were student-centered and community-based? You had clinics? You had bus-to-prison programs that were free? How did you do that without social media?” I love those conversations, because I feel that young people are convincing themselves they can do the same thing. After all, the median age of party members was 19 years old.