I've been watching a number of documentary films lately, taking a break from all the TV shows. I came across this one over the weekend and it couldn't be more relevant for what is going on today. The same things that were happening in the Civil Rights Era are happening now. To see the way Black people were empowered by the Panthers was and still remains inspiring. It instilled a confidence and self-worth in All People, not just Black People. It you got the time I encourage you to give this a watch. If you don't have the time, make some.
About the Film
In the turbulent 1960s, change was coming to America and the fault lines could no longer be ignored — cities were burning, Vietnam was exploding, and disputes raged over equality and civil rights. A new revolutionary culture was emerging and it sought to drastically transform the system. The Black Panther Party for Self-Defense would, for a short time, put itself at the vanguard of that change.
The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution is the first feature-length documentary to explore the Black Panther Party, its significance to the broader American culture, its cultural and political awakening for black people, and the painful lessons wrought when a movement derails. Master documentarian Stanley Nelson goes straight to the source, weaving a treasure trove of rare archival footage with the diverse group of voices of the people who were there: police, FBI informants, journalists, white supporters and detractors, and Black Panthers who remained loyal to the party and those who left it.
Featuring Kathleen Cleaver, Jamal Joseph, Ericka Huggins, and dozens of others, as well as archival footage of the late Huey P. Newton and Eldridge Cleaver, The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution tells the story of a pivotal movement that gave rise to a new revolutionary culture in America. Their causes, with slogans like "power to the people" and "creating a better world" are relevant again in an era that has seen the rise of the "Black Lives Matter" movement and tense relations between African American communities and the police. The Black Panthers condemnations of injustice, oppression and brutality in the late '60s and early '70s reverberate again in one city after another.
Stanley Nelson is an Emmy Award-winning documentary filmmaker, MacArthur “Genius” Fellow, and member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. He was awarded the National Humanities Medal by President Obama in August 2014. Nelson has directed and produced numerous acclaimed films, including Freedom Summer, Freedom Riders, Jonestown: The Life and Death of Peoples Temple and The Murder of Emmett Till. He is also co-founder and executive director of Firelight Media, which provides support to emerging documentarians. Currently in production is Tell Them We Are Rising: The Story of Historically Black Colleges and Universities, the second in a series of three films Nelson will direct as part of a new multiplatform PBS series entitled America Revisited.
Screening and Conversation with June Cross (Columbia Journalism School), Laurens Grant (Producer), Jamal Joseph (Columbia University School of the Arts), Stanley Nelson (Director).
On Sunday, February 7, THIRTEEN partnered with the Apollo Theater, Firelight Media, Independent Lens, and PBS to present a screening, panel discussion and performance as the closing program of the Theater’s Open House Weekend. The screening was presented to an audience of over 1,500 guests. A panel discussion followed, moderated by MetroFocus Producer and Host Rafael Pi Roman, and joined by director Stanley Nelson, members of the Black Panther Party Kathleen Cleaver, Ericka Huggins and David Lemieux, and journalist Jamilah Lemieux (EBONY). The panel discussed the legacy and impact of the Black Panther Party’s revolutionary movement. They highlighted the importance of community empowerment and organization to run their successful “survival programs,” which included free breakfasts for children and community schools. They also discussed the timely connections between the Black Lives Matter movement and the Black Panther Party’s mission, and what lessons Black Lives Matter activists can take away from the missteps of the Black Panther Party. The event concluded with a rousing musical performance by the IMPACT Repertory Theatre Performance Company. (thirteen.org)
One of the things that stood out most was to see the young generation taking charge and standing tall. I think today WE (The younger generation) tend to be more self-involved and less aware of the world around us. That being said, I think that attitude has changed drastically over the last decade. Whatever your beliefs or stance my be, WE are saying it and letting our voice be heard. When WE are organized and energized, nothing can stop us. It is up to us to make the change.