Walker, David F. Black Panther Party, The: A Graphic Novel History. Graphic novel. Marcus Kwame Anderson, Illus. Ten Speed, 01/2021. 192pp. $19.99. 978-1-98485770-5. OUTSTANDING. GRADES 8-ADULT.
This graphic novel goes beyond the standard stories and myths about the Black Panthers to tell a complex, well-researched history. The Black Panther Party for Self-Defense was created in 1966 in Oakland, California, but is actually rooted in the oppression of Black people in America, going back to the time of enslavement. The Panther’s Ten Point Program laid out their objectives, many of which are relevant today. The narrative highlights their successful survival programs, including free food, transportation, clothing, education, a medical clinic, and a national testing program for sickle cell anemia. The text is equally clear about the Party’s violence and internal struggles which were due in part to disagreements about what the Party should be. The conflicts were helped along by the work of COINTELPRO, the FBI’s covert, illegal surveillance of domestic political groups. The art style supports the story beautifully; the muted color palette and realistic renderings work well to convey the complicated legacy of the Party’s people and programs. Back matter has resources for further reading. This book includes California-specific content.
Carla Riemer, Independent